Going the Distance: From Chapter One to “The End” of the Novel


“It is a truth universally acknowledged that starting a novel seems easy enough but finishing a novel is hard as hell.” 

Jane Austen didn’t say that. But she and other authors have long grappled with the problem of taking initial inspiration through the marathon process of realizing a finished work.

This workshop, which welcomes novel writers of all levels and genres, will address key issues that must be confronted if you are going to go the distance. These issues include the question of finding a shape for your story; how to treat plot and character not as distinct problems in a narrative but as interdependent and generative features; and how to avoid common pitfalls when writing about family, morality, faith, or sex. We’ll also consider the nuts and bolts of writing dialogue and how to represent internal thought. There’s a lot to unpack when considering successful prose, and we will take the time to do so, piece by piece.

Participants will be encouraged to bring short samples of work from home, and also to do writing exercises during the week. I’ll also supply reading materials from eminent writers to illustrate key issues. Ideally you will go home with practical revisions, new material, and a firmer understanding of what it takes to reach “The End.”

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; offer feedback/first impressions on writing you produce in our week; workshop writing you bring from home.

Hybrid Forms
Middle Grade
Science Fiction
Speculative Fiction
Young Adult
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