Novel writing is the marathon of storytelling rather than a sprint. It can seem complicated because it asks for more time, patience and practice, but when done right, the characters have a really big stage on which to shine.
In this 12-week class, we focus on what it takes to write a novel.
The goal of this class is to give you the tools to start AND complete a novel. I only ask that you come to it with openness to share your work and kind curiosity for the work of others. With that in mind, you do not need to have any opening chapters written down. You do, however, need to have a story in mind, know the person who will be telling that story (your protagonist), how they will be conveying it (POV) and where they are in place and time (setting).
For the first class, be prepared to share what you think is a successful novel: using an example of a book you have read and why you believe that novel is successful. Then, using those benchmarks, take this opportunity to make clear what you are hoping for in your project and whether it has the potential to be successful according to those standards. This class will be structured to support those aspirations and helping you best express them. Therefore, we welcome all genres of writing and all forms of the novel.
We will spend the first few weeks setting the foundation for our novels by refining the introductory chapters. But a novel is more than a chunk of words. Like the short story, every word must earn its place, every sentence part of a larger puzzle. Therefore, in the weeks that follow the class, identify devices that writers use to keep readers engaged and understand how to effectively integrate those devices into your work. We will also hone your ability to create clear, deliberate sentences.
Every other class will be a lesson in character, structure, plot, POV, and tense. Students will be assigned work to read, sent in advance via email, where these lessons are illustrated. Each student will independently write for ten minutes of those classes, infusing that days’ lesson into their work.
The rest of the classes will be workshops, focusing on a writer who will have sent ten pages to the rest of the course in the week prior. This will be an opportunity to examine character, structure, plot, POV or tense studied in the previous class. Feedback from other writers should come from a place of curiosity rather than judgment, allowing the writer to be an open and engaged member of the conversation while their submission is being discussed. Together, we will work to help each writer iron out any wrinkles that sit between them and their successful novel, infusing both the reader experience and the author goals, asking specific questions to help them achieve their goals.
After the workshop, each writer will have an opportunity to have a thirty-minute one-on-one feedback session with Mubanga. They will receive more specific, private feedback in an in-depth conversation about the workshop work, helping them set a plan in motion for the work ahead with tips on developing a lasting writing practice.
It is recommended that you have a 200-300 word summary/synopsis and the first chapter of the novel you intend to work on during this class.