Photo of woman and child both wearing masks

Writing is never done in a vacuum; it occurs always in context. Often fiction writing is provoked by contact with other art forms like painting, music and film. If composition is a series of decisions about what goes where, shouldn’t the translating of decisions from painting, music and film into narrative language be possible? And if it is possible, how can we go about it? Or, to start from the other direction: how can we weave our obsessions with music, painting and film into our fiction writing? The Greek word for this translating is ekphrasis (which usually refers to poetry), and in the contemporary world we often speak of allegory and mimesis. We’ll try to bracket the theoretical discussions and center our discussion on practical larcenous techniques. One way to think about this course will be a research methodologies course for fiction writing. It will attempt to address the problems of how we can go about incorporating other art forms into our fiction. The hope here is to focus on formal questions, although the separation of formal concerns from content is, of course, tentative and uncertain.