fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Spring Quarter

Spring Registration Now Open
Most Classes Begin Apr 01
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Creative Writing

NVL 175 — Novel Workshop: For Manuscripts in Progress

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Jun 4
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Sarah Stone
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Apr 2—Jun 4
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 4
3 Units
Sarah Stone
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 our books’ dramatic arcs. This course is suitable for anyone who has a novel in progress and has taken at least one creative writing workshop. 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 structure plot, reveal character complexity, craft compelling beginnings and endings, and explore POV, voice, and world-building. We will read novels by Ruth Ozeki and Tove Jansson to see how they create memorable characters and meaningful predicaments. We will also have in-class writing exercises, with an option to receive light instructor feedback on up to 800 words each week. For workshopping, 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 characters, your story, and the path forward for your novel.


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 the co-author, with Ron Nyren, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. She has written for Korean public television, reported on human rights in Burundi, and looked after orphan chimpanzees at the Jane Goodall Institute. 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 and was included in the distinguished stories list of The Best American Short Stories 2021. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness, (ISBN 978-0399563669)
(Required) Tove Jansson, The Summer Book (ISBN 978-1590172681)