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NVL 07 — Novel Bootcamp: Working Toward Publication

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 12
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 16
Units: 3
Tuition: $650
Instructor(s): Sara Houghteling
Limit: 21
Status: Closed
Please Note: (No class on May 29)
On-campus course
6:30—9:20 pm
Apr 3—Jun 12
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 16
3 Units
Sara Houghteling
Please Note: (No class on May 29)
This course seeks to help writers outline, craft, and polish novel-length projects with an eye toward publication. We’ll commence with a series of exercises to help generate ideas for the beginning of a novel, then move to examine how the likes of Flaubert, Nabokov, John Le Carré, and Zadie Smith develop their characters, structure and pace their plots, and employ point of view and dialogue. We’ll practice these novelistic techniques ourselves in weekly writing assignments and turn to select chapters from craft books for further sustained study. We’ll also discuss the vicissitudes of publishing and self-publishing with young adult novelist and publisher Shirin Yim Bridges, founder of Goosebottom Books and an expert on current trends in the book business. Local authors will also visit our class to share ideas about their creative process. By the end of the course, students will have drafted and polished one to two chapters, as well as mapped an extensive outline designed to keep them working on their project in the future. In our final session, we’ll further address the business side of writing: identifying literary agents or agencies that might be right for the project, drafting query letters, and assessing interim publication possibilities.

Sara Houghteling, Former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies, Stanford

Sara Houghteling is the author of Pictures at an Exhibition, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2009 Book, and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship, an NEA Fellowship, a Camargo Fellowship, the Ribalow Prize, and the Wallant Award. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Narrative, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Houghteling received an MFA from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) John le Carré, Smiley's People: A George Smiley Novel (ISBN 978-0143119777)
(Recommended) Charles Baxter, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot (ISBN 978-1555974732)
(Recommended) Tom Chiarella, Writing Dialogue (ISBN 978-1884910326)