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MFA Course Descriptions

IMF 54110
Special Topics:
The Art of the Sentence

Instructor: Zachary Vickers

Class Type: Writing Technique

Course Description:

In "The Art of the Sentence" we abandon the larger work of story to hyper-focus on the complexity of the writer's toils on a sentence-to-sentence level. Beyond how a sentence can "multi-task" by advancing or foreshadowing plot, developing character, establishing setting, and more all at once, we will discuss the value of word choice, structure, length, syntax, punctuation, and manipulations of grammar, among other elements of the sentence to create poetic lines that sizzle on the tongue when spoke, glint on the page, sing in the ears, and surprise and leave readers breathless. In addition to these discussions, we will practice sentence writing through prompts as well as rewriting former lines from student projects through the lens of the conversations and readings in this course. Students will leave with a new appreciation for the meticulous craft of sentence writing, and understand how this granular work--once compiled into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages, and pages into a complete story--elevates one's art.

Textbooks (3):

How to Write Stunning Sentences
Nina Schuyler
ISBN: 9780999431634
Publisher: Fiction Advocate

The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
Charles Baxter
ISBN: 9781555974732
Publisher: Graywolf Press

Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song
Ellen Voigt
ISBN: 9781555975319
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301