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OWC 303 D — 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): Lewis Robinson
Limit: 15
Status: Closed
Jan 14—Mar 22
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 17
3 Units
Lewis Robinson
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.

Lewis Robinson, Author

Lewis Robinson is the author of the novel Water Dogs, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and the story collection Officer Friendly, which received the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award and a Whiting Award. His short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Sports Illustrated, The Missouri Review, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. He is host of the podcast Talk Shop. He received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has taught at Colby College and the University of Iowa, and in the MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lisa Cron, Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) (ISBN 978-1607748892)