Writing a novel can feel like rehabbing a huge, intimidating house, but you can do it as long as you prepare. This class will give you the tools and—most importantly—the confidence to use those tools to your advantage. If you’ve ever tried to write a novel before, you might have stopped yourself (maybe halfway through, maybe just a few pages in, maybe even a whole draft in) and panicked. By the end of this generative class, you’ll have the materials and strategies to complete a first draft.
Week One: Getting Started
First you’ll need to get acquainted with the terrain. We’ll explore the novel’s context — its history, and its various forms — in order to clarify the vision you have for your own manuscript. You’ll also generate ideas for your novel through a series of exercises. By the end of class, you’ll leave with a toolkit of successful drafting strategies: how to write when you’re feeling stuck, how to keep going, how to let yourself have fun during the process.
Week Two: Plot and Outline
Outlines are the maps that will guide you through the process of writing. You’ll learn the types of outlines that you can utilize and the advantages of deviating from them. We’ll also talk about plot: how to move your stories in ways that readers find engaging and compelling.
Week Three: Characters
Novels run on character. You’ll need believable, interesting people for your novel, and we’ll discuss the various kinds of characters you find in long narratives. You’ll learn how to shape new characters into being and sharpen existing characters so they feel alive on the page.
Week Four: Scenes and Chapters
Scenes and chapters organize your novel. You’ll learn how to develop and structure these building blocks to engage interest and sustain your reader.
Week Five: Beginnings and Endings and Putting It All Together
Effective beginnings and satisfying endings go hand-in-hand. You’ll learn the strategies to open and close your novel, and how to keep up your endurance during the long and winding middle. We’ll also have brief individual consultations on the first twenty pages of your manuscript. During these consultations, we’ll work through any questions that have materialized in your manuscript so that you move forward in your novel-writing adventures.
We are able to offer a limited amount of both 50% scholarships for our multi-week classes and 100% scholarships for our single-session classes on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students may receive one scholarship per term. Click here to apply for a scholarship spot.