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NVL 44 — Novel Writing: From Concept to Creation

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 19
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 18
Units: 3
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Anoop Judge
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Jan 16—Mar 19
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 18
3 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Anoop Judge
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
So you want to write a novel? This workshop will guide aspiring writers through the exhilarating process of crafting a novel from scratch, breaking down the seemingly complex task into manageable narrative elements.

We will start by working on how to progress from inspiration to a fleshed-out usable concept, then move on to discuss the elements that make for a gripping first chapter and beyond. We’ll troubleshoot issues that often make writers give up on a first draft—from characters that don’t jump off the page to predictable plots, low stakes, and unimaginative scenes. You'll uncover any weak spots in your concept and gain a profound comprehension of story and plot structure. We'll dive into craft books like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and read a short novel, both intended to enhance your understanding of how to build your own novel.

In the first weeks of the course, developmental exercises will help you to meticulously outline your novel. Then, three students per week will share a chapter (up to 4,000 words) for constructive input from both peers and the instructor. If you've been nurturing an idea that's grown from a mere spark into a burning desire to put your story on paper, this course is the first step toward making that happen.


Anoop Judge is the author of four novels: The Rummy Club, which received the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award; The Awakening of Meena Rawat, an excerpt of which was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize; No Ordinary Thursday; and Mercy and Grace. Her essays and short stories have appeared in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Rigorous journal, The Lumiere Review, Doubleback Review, and the Ornament anthology. She received an MFA from Saint Mary’s College of California and was the recipient of the 2021 Advisory Board Award and the 2023 Alumni Scholarship. She is an alumna of Vona, the Writers of Color workshop, and was selected for the 2020 Writers Grotto’s Writers of Color conference. She has served as a mentor-in-residence for the Write Team Mentorship online program.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, 10th edition (ISBN 978-0226616698)