fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Winter Quarter

Winter Registration Now Open
Most Classes Begin Jan 14
shopping cart icon0

Courses

« Back to Creative Writing

OWC 303 A — Novel I: The Powerful Beginning

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 14—Mar 22
Drop Deadline: Jan 17
Units: 3
Tuition: $1090
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 15
Status: Closed
Winter
Date(s)
Jan 14—Mar 22
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 17
3 Units
Fees
$1090
Instructor(s):
Malena Watrous
Limit
15
Closed
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.

Malena Watrous, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Online Writing Lead Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me and co-author of the novel Sparked. She has contributed to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, Allure, Real Simple, and many other magazines. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lisa Cron, Story Genius (ISBN 978-1607748892)
(Required) Jeff Lyons, Anatomy of a Premise Line (ISBN 9781138838857)
(Required) Elizabeth George, Write Away (ISBN 0060560444)
(Recommended) Sol Stein, Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies (ISBN 9780312254216)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)