What makes a great story? What makes an unforgettable character? And how do we embark on our own novel projects?
In this class, we’ll explore the elements of strong, vivid, and moving creative writing and the structure and construction of the novel form. Through readings from authors including Toni Morrison, Graham Greene, Jonathan Safran Foer, and F. Scott Fitzgerald; craft lessons on establishing a voice, building character, laying the foundation of your story in the first chapters, and more; short writing exercises designed to get you thinking about your novel; and weekly workshops; we’ll explore the writing process from the inception of an idea to the creation of your own novel. We’ll discuss how to make writing bold, vital, and realistic; how to craft and sustain narrative and thematic threads; and how to outline and structure the novel.
Week One: Story Structure
We’ll begin with a discussion of story types and how novels are structured.
Week Two: Voice
This week we’ll discuss finding the voice of your novel, and making our language vivid, revealing, and specific.
Week Three: First Chapters
This week, we’re discussing how to lay the foundation in those crucial first chapters of your novel.
Week Four: Character
Who are we writing about? And how do we establish characters that have psychological realism and compelling inner natures?
Week Five: Point of View
Learn how to write natural sounding, non-boring dialogue.
Week Six: Outlining
This week, we’re talking about arcs, endings, and planning your novel’s overall trajectory.
– In-depth peer and instructor feedback on one novel chapter and short homework submissions
– One private conference (via phone, Skype, or Google Hangouts) with the instructor to discuss areas for improvement and the next steps, and instructor feedback on an additional novel chapter
– An enthusiastic community of writers who will hold you accountable to your writing goals
– An outline for your novel, with ideas for how to shape the story and where to head after the first chapter
– Strategies for staying productive and keeping the novel going in the future
NOTE: Class skips MLK Day on January 18.