Boise State University
Creative Writing 303: Intermediate Fiction Writing
Section 1
Spring 2021
Instructor:  Cynthia Hand, Ph.D.

Class Time:  T Th 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Class Location:  Remote via Zoom

Office Hours: by appointment via Zoom

Cell Phone: (208) 805-2599 (No calls after 9 pm or before 7 am, texts anytime are fine)




Exploration in narrative technique, dialogue form, and the short story. Students will write original fiction and discuss it in a workshop form.


Prerequisite: CRWR 203.


Three (3) units.  This translates to approximately 2-3 hours of studying outside of the classroom for every hour you spend in the classroom for the course. (Which means you should spend 6-9 hours per week preparing for this course. How accurate this estimate is depends on how quickly you read.)



To advance as a writer of fiction in general, of literary short stories in particular.

To further explore specific parts of the writing craft, as in character, plot, point of view, setting, and voice.

To effectively establish and improve critical and analytical skills in the oral and written interpretation of both manuscripts and published creative writing.


In other words: to become a better writer, to learn and try different techniques, and to hone your skills in reading and analyzing creative work. 



Class will meet remotely twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes each session.  Our time will be spent having in-depth conversations about the writing craft, discussions of published work, writing exercises, and class workshops.



100 Years of The Best American Short Stories 2015.  Edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor. *You can use an ebook. There will also be several stories that you access from our Google Docs folder in pdf or link form.



Stories:  You will write ONE complete 10-20 page story for the semester, and then thoroughly revise it during the second half of the class. All work must be typed, double-spaced, titled, and page numbered.  Use a 12-point font size in Times New Roman font with one-inch margins.  You will upload this story into the Blackboard story folder in the appropriate week by 11am on the day the story is due (see the Workshop Schedule for the specifics).


WARNING:  Because I take workshops so seriously, if you don’t upload your story on the day that it is due, you can expect your assignment grade to drop by a full letter.  If you are having trouble writing or finishing your story, please contact me and I will read what you have and help you.


Workshops: Much of our class time will be spent in what writers refer to as workshops.  You should come to class having closely read the student stories up for discussion, and also equipped with a 1 (single spaced) page typed critique that you will email to both me and the author. 


Conferences: The week after your story is workshopped in class, you will have a zoom conference with me to discuss how the workshop went, your ideas for revision, and to come to a plan on how to accomplish your goals for the story. This conference typically takes between 30-45 minutes.


Readings:  Every week I will assign 1 published short story to read, plus another that you CAN read to supplement your knowledge. You should carefully read all of the stories, and prepare a response to the assigned questions, which you will post in our discussion forum and be called upon to discuss in class. You will be responsible for responding to the supplementary readings 3 times.


Final ExamThere will a final exam in this class, testing both your knowledge of the craft as we’ve discussed, and the published short stories we have read. This exam which will represent 25% of your total grade.  




You will be expected to attend and participate in every class. Simply put, if you miss class, your grade will suffer.   If you have more than THREE absences for any reason, your grade will drop one grade step for each absence (e.g. A to A-, B+ to B, C-to D. . .) With excessive absences (6 or moreyou will fail the course.  


It is inexcusable to miss a day in class when you own work is going to be discussed. In the case that the unimaginable does happen, you can expect your grade to drop at least one full letter. 

If you do happen to miss a class, you are responsible for all announcements made, policies set, and materials covered during any class meeting.  Please check our class blackboard and watch the Zoom recordings of our class. 


3 tardies equals an absence.


Please log in to Zoom using the link in Blackboard, if possible, so that you can go straight into the class without having to wait in the waiting room. You are required to turn on your camera and be well lit so that your face is visible to everyone--although feel free to change the background, if you wish. Please check that your audio is working.


Class Website / Blackboard / Google Docs:  

Everything needed for the class (the syllabus, schedule, workshop schedules, hand-outs, assignments, and so on) is posted on the class website at I will keep a current grade standing on Blackboard. Items that you need for class workshops and readings can be found in the class Google Docs folder.


20%     Final Exam

40%     Assignments (Your stories, exercises, and workshop responses. I will grade these for quality and effort, but simply whether or not you turn them in is a big part of it.)

40%     Participation (Your posted answers to the weekly questions, your level of involvement in class discussions, and the quality of your feedback during workshops.)

Grading Scale:

A         93-100
B+       87-89
B         83-86 
C+       77-79
C         73-76
D+       67-69
D         63-66
F    below 60


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