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OWC 303 B — Novel I: The Powerful Beginning

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 23
Drop Deadline: Jan 19
Units: 3
Tuition: $1050
Instructor(s): Sarah Stone
Limit: 15
Status: Closed
Jan 16—Mar 23
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 19
3 Units
Sarah Stone
This course is not open to the public, but rather by admission only. For more information on the Online Writing Certificate Program and its application process, please click here.

The beginning of a novel is crucial: establishing a contract with the reader, raising narrative questions, setting the tone and mood of the book, and, of course, introducing the main characters. We will begin by making sure that your novel starts in the right place, with a conflict compelling enough to reveal who these people are, and to ensure that they are making meaningful choices that lead to dramatic action. The challenges that our characters face up front help us to know who they are at the beginning of a book, and also set up expectations for how they might change by the end. Students will spend time thinking about the trajectory they envision not only for their protagonists but also for the secondary characters, and discussing issues related to characterization, such as point of view, dialogue, and voice. In this course, everyone will write and workshop an opening section of up to 5000 words.

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

Sarah Stone is the author of the novel The True Sources of the Nile and co-author of the textbook Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, The Believer, the Writer’s Chronicle, Dedicated to the People of Darfur, and A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, among other places. She received an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Daniel Alarcón, The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook (ISBN 0805087141)
(Recommended) Charles Baxter, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot (ISBN 1555974732)
(Recommended) Joan Silber, The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long As It Takes (ISBN 1555975305)