Get more from your reading
What makes a great novel? How is a novel woven together? How can we best appreciate works of fiction?
Answer these questions and more with this course from The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
On the course, you’ll discover four of the main building blocks of modern fiction: plot, characterization, dialogue, and setting using examples from a range of texts including the four novels we shortlisted for the James Tait Black fiction prize last year. You’ll also explore the formal strategies authors use, how they came to be, and how they affect us as readers.
What topics will you cover?
- The course examines specific techniques relating to plotting and temporality including flashbacks, unreliable narration and framed narratives.
- The course considers ways of understanding character, such as behavior and motives.
- It explores issues relating to the presentation of dialogue, including conversational mood and dialect voices.
- The course examines the impact of various different settings on the development of plot and character.
- It invites learners to test their understanding through weekly quizzes and a final peer assessment task.
- The course covers the four novels shortlisted for the James Tait Black fiction prize 2017: C. E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings, Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You, Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians, and Jo Baker’s A Country Road, A Tree.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
- Identify key strategies used by authors to alter the temporal progression of the narrative.
- Reflect on the effects generated by a narrative frame.
- Evaluate novels for signs of narrative unreliability.
- Discuss my reading of contemporary fiction with a large online learning community.
- Explore ways of understanding character, such as behavior, speech, and motives.
- Explore the impact of various settings on the development of character and plot.
- Evaluate the effect of different ways of presenting dialogue, and the impact of dialect speech.
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