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NVL 18 W — Discovering Your Novel's Secret Center

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 9
Drop Deadline: Oct 4
Unit(s): 3 Units
Tuition: $850
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of Thanksgiving
Sep 26—Dec 9
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 4
3 Units
Please Note: No class the week of Thanksgiving
According to Orhan Pamuk, every novel has a secret center—a “profound opinion or insight about life, a deeply embedded point of mystery, whether real or imagined.” In this course, for writers at all levels, you will have the chance to discover your novel’s secret center—its one-of-a-kind nature—along with ways to adapt both classic and innovative craft techniques to your own needs. We will discuss short novels by Jeanette Winterson and Daniel Alarcón and do weekly writing exercises (optional after week four when workshops will begin). We will start with the promises and strategies of openings; explore how to find the right voice and point of view for your novel; create outlines and alternative methods of plot discovery; depict individual characters and character constellations; and handle time, place, language, and imagery. We will finish up with work on endings and revision. As a community, we will give each writer supportive, helpful feedback on writing exercises and a selection of up to 5,000 words of a novel-in-progress, working together to discover each novel’s largest possibilities. By the end of the course, you will have new craft techniques, a deeper sense of your novel, and a plan for moving forward.

Although the time commitment for this course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to participate at a substantial level.

Sarah Stone, Faculty, Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers

Sarah Stone is the author of The True Sources of the Nile and co-author of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Her work is also included in the books Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope; and A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft. She received an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Jeanette Winterson, The Passion (any edition or format) (ISBN 0802135226)
(Required) Daniel Alarcón, At Night We Walk in Circles (any edition or format) (ISBN 1594631719)