Kickstarting Your Novel


You have all the ingredients for a great novel: a wonderful story to tell, fascinating characters to follow, and a compelling world to explore. Perhaps you’ve already written some pages and watched the sparks fly as your characters come together in all the complicated ways that real people do. The question now is how to make your novel work over hundreds of pages—and keep the reader turning those pages.

The answer is structure.

Structure includes plot but reaches beyond plot to include basic decisions about which parts of your story to tell in scene and which parts to summarize in exposition—and in what order those elements should come. Structure creates a clearly marked road map for the writer to follow.

This weeklong course is designed to help you figure out how to create a structure for your novel. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and in-class creative exercises you will be invited to share with the group, we will:

·       Explore the desires that drive your most important characters to act

·       Understand how the conflict that starts with your protagonist creates your plot

·       Experience how scene works as a dramatic unit, and how it combines with exposition to cover large spans of time

·       Make decisions about which parts of your story to tell in scene

·       Explore the idea of character arc, in which characters struggle and change in response to events

At the end of this course, you will have:

·       A clear statement of what your protagonist wants, what stands in the way, and how this conflict is ultimately resolved at the end

·       A plot outline

·       A scene list

·       Character arcs for your protagonist and other important characters

This class will include a half-hour one-on-one conference in which we focus on the specifics of your novel and next steps toward completion.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments.

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