Grackle painting by Anna Podris. This class is online only.
It might seem like inhabiting a character’s voice is one of the fiction writer’s most basic skills, yet constructing another person’s mind is an endlessly bizarre task. Beyond the words they speak or the opinions they possess, a character’s voice presents a reader with a fully formed theory of mind and a coherent architecture of thought.
As with shark fins, what matters most about a character often lurks just below the surface.
In this class, students will create voice-driven fiction in the short form (5-10 pages). Students will share their work with the class and be expected to read and respond to the work of their classmates. Additionally, students will be assigned a variety of contemporary short stories of a similar length that engage with voice-driven narrative in memorable ways.
To create a person’s inner thoughts is to traverse another world—strange terrain, filled with difficulties and pitfalls, but also surprises and delights.
Kaj Tanaka is a PhD candidate at The University of Houston and the former Fiction Editor at Gulf Coast. Kaj’s fiction has appeared in New South, Hobart, The New Ohio Review, Tin House, and many other places. His stories have been selected for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Wigleaf’s Top 50. Kaj lives in New Mexico. Find him at kajtanaka.com.