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OWC 303 C — Novel I: The Powerful Beginning

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 23
Drop Deadline: Jan 19
Units: 3
Tuition: $1050
Instructor(s): Ron Nyren
Limit: 15
Status: Registration opens on 12/04/2017
Winter
Date(s)
Jan 16—Mar 23
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 19
3 Units
Fees
$1050
Instructor(s):
Ron Nyren
Limit
15
Registration opens on 12/04/2017
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.

Ron Nyren, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ron Nyren’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, North American Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He is the co-author of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers and a former editor of Furious Fictions: The Magazine of Short-Short Stories. Nyren received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Daniel Alarcón, The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook (ISBN 978-0805087147)
(Recommended) Charles Baxter, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot (ISBN 978-1555974732)
(Recommended) Joan Silber, The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long As It Takes (ISBN 978-1555975302)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)