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NVL 175 — Novel Workshop: For Manuscripts in Progress

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 5
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Sarah Stone
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 21
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 26—Dec 5
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 28
3 Units
Sarah Stone
Please Note: No class on November 21
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Hilary Mantel said, “A novel should be a book of questions, not a book of answers.” As we write and revise our novels, we seek to deepen the narrative questions that draw readers in, connecting our urgent themes to the book’s dramatic arc. This course is suitable for anyone who has made it past writing the opening chapter of a novel. Whether you are stuck on Chapter 3 or unsure how to revise a rough draft, this course will help clear away stumbling blocks. We'll discuss how to maintain narrative momentum, structure plot, reveal character complexity, craft compelling beginnings and endings, and explore POV, voice, and world-building. We will read novels by Tove Jansson and Lan Samantha Chang to see how they create memorable characters and meaningful predicaments. We will also have in-class writing exercises, with an option to receive instructor feedback on up to 800 words each week. For workshop, each student will turn in a portion of their novel (up to 5,000 words), which we all will read with care, asking constructive questions designed to open up pathways for further exploration and help the writer to see more clearly what is on the page. By the end of the course, you will possess a deeper understanding of your novel and a roadmap for your next steps.


Sarah Stone is the author of Hungry Ghost Theater, a finalist for the 38th annual Northern California Book Awards, and The True Sources of the Nile. She is co-author, with Ron Nyren, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her work has appeared in Image, Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, The Millions, Scoundrel Time, The Believer, A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lan Samantha Chang, The Family Chao(any edition) (ISBN 978-1324050469)
(Required) Tove Jansson, Thomas Teal (Translator), The Summer Book(any edition) (ISBN 978-1590172681)