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NVL 155 — Jumpstart Your Novel

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jul 22—Jul 23
Time: 10:00 am—12:30 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 15
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $255
Instructor(s): Ellen Sussman
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am—12:30 pm (PT)
Jul 22—Jul 23
2 days
Refund Date
Jul 15
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Ellen Sussman
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
This course is for students who are ready to begin writing a novel—or who have already begun but hit a roadblock along the way. It would also benefit the student who has a fledgling idea for a novel but doesn’t quite know how to develop it. In this course, we will tackle essential novel-writing questions including: Is our idea for a novel big enough? Is it interesting enough? How much do we need to plan before beginning to write? How much plot should we know beforehand? What point of view should we use? Are the characters well developed? Do we know who they are and how they will change? And finally, how do we approach the writing itself? By the end of the course, students will discover how pre-writing can help bring novel ideas into focus and prepare them for first-draft writing. They will also learn various ways to structure their time so they can make writing a regular practice in their lives.


Ellen Sussman is the author of four novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. She has taught at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Rutgers.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.