Creative Writing: Short Story
Spring 2022 - Fred is very funny, kind, and approachable, and he often brought us snacks during class (our last lecture was in the Sculpture Garden and he brought pizza and soda!). I got to know my fellow students and their writing very well; he was tolerant of fantasy and science fiction, so many people submitted stories in that vein. However, because this was his first time teaching a short story workshop, it was a bit of a mess. We didn't have a syllabus and each week we brainstormed what we'd like to do for the next in terms of prompt/peer review, etc. At first it was a bit overwhelming because we all had to read and provide feedback on everyone else's fairly long stories (so for example, reading eleven other people's ten-page stories before the next class). However, later it switched to us reading everyone's but only providing in-detail feedback to one other person he matched us with. I really liked Fred, but the structure of the class was frustrating. Most of our class time was spent reviewing the student stories, which I appreciated, and we only read about three published short stories and a book by one of his former graduate students ("Happy for You" by Claire Stanford). If you take this class, I recommend just obtaining clarity on what's expected of you in terms of the assignments and talking to Fred.
I recently took this course with Professor Dimuro. It says English 134 but I was in his 139 course. I gave him a great review in teacher evals, but if I could, I'd retract that review. Perhaps it was pity for this professor- he was angry that nobody spoke up in class although most of us are attentive, and stormed out of the classroom saying we don't care about our futures. We are at UCLA for a reason. Although he appears nice, he doesn't really give a damn about his students, as seen through his actions. We didn't get our first essay graded until 9th week, when the second essay was due during finals week. I don't think it's feasible to plop down a prompt 9th week and have students to do well on their essays due 10th week when we have other finals, without receiving feedback. On top of that, he loves to ask multiple choice questions on his finals, which I find ridiculous. Unlike other English classes where even if there are specific questions, his questions are a bit too specific- based on ridiculous background information of the novel, not the foreground text itself. I understand the author's background is important for understanding the work, but it shouldn't be tested on extensively. He also grades horribly unfair on his final essay analysis- it's pretty much not based on your explanation but if you can I.D. the work. Unlike other classes, where there are distinct authors, and distinct texts, the class I took was all Henry James. He took some obscure quote from the preface which sound very similar and a quote from a novel and all Henry Jamesian protagonists, if you read enough of him, are essentially the same. They have the same thought processes and downfalls, and imagery is almost identical across all works. He added 15 points to everyone's final score because we did so poorly- when did a humanities class have a straight out curve, when most people get D's and F's on their finals?
Fall 2015 - Prof Huneven is a great instructor. She encourages all of her students and is very helpful. Writing a short story every week can seem pretty daunting at first and so can reading aloud, however, the class felt like a book club and everyone gave constructive criticism. There were a few times where Huneven was a little critical of the work that was being read aloud which I think made the students who received the criticism feel a little discouraged but he remarks were very fair. The grading is great and its very easy to do well so long as you take her advice. This class is a definite must for all aspiring writers.
Professor Louie offers a valuable learning environment for aspiring creative writers and an immensely enjoyable class for everyone else. The workload can be demanding, but always appropriately so. Louie holds his students to a high standard, but he validates those expectations by treating every student's work as a valid work of literature. He assigns one short story each week and asks for a one page response paper explicating each story. He also expects thorough and thoughtful analysis in preparation for each class; close reading of the works is absolutely necessary, as the once-a-week, three hour class is devoted entirely to discussing works of short fiction. In addition to the assigned story from the course reader, the class will also discuss the original, submitted works of three to four students each week. Every classmate and the professor will provide written feedback as well in-depth discussion. One thing of which interested students should be aware is the ambiguity of grade status. None of the assignments nor the in-class participation will receive grades during the course of the class and Louie is not willing to discuss grades. No students will know their qualitative performance until the final grade appears on URSA. However, this should just encourage those enrolled to focus on the quality of their criticism and writing, both of which ought to be priorities anyway. If this is the case for you, take this class.