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NVL 10 W — Novel Writing: Inventing Reality

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Dec 7
Drop Deadline: Sep 27
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Sarah Stone
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 19. Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 24—Dec 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 27
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Sarah Stone
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 19. Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Novels have a complicated relationship with life. They may be based on real people and events—the secrets revealed at a family holiday—or they may spring purely from a haunting image, phrase, character, or situation—a scene glimpsed from a hotel window. In either case, a successful novel must persuade both reader and writer of its “truth” (whether or not anything like these events really happened). How can we as writers accomplish this difficult feat? In other words, how can we convince our readers of our novel’s reality? This course, suitable for writers at all levels, will strengthen our ability to evoke a deep experience of fictional “reality” for our readers. Our tools of persuasion will include character complexities, rich arcs and structures, time, pacing, narrative movement, point-of-view options, and the dramatic embodiment of thematic questions. We will draw guidance from essays on craft, as well as novels by Ernest J. Gaines and Alice Munro. Students will also complete writing exercises designed to assist them in discovering their own novel’s unique shape, structure, and truths. As a community, we will give each writer supportive, helpful feedback on writing exercises, and on a novel excerpt of up to 5,000 words, as we work together to discover each novel’s largest possibilities.

Sarah Stone, Faculty, Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers

Sarah Stone is the author of the novel The True Sources of the Nile. Her new novel, Hungry Ghost Theater, is forthcoming in October. She is the co-author, with Ron Nyren, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, The Millions, Scoundrel Time, The Believer, and A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, among other publications. She received an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying (ISBN 978-0375702709)
(Required) Alice Munro, The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (ISBN 978-0679732716)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)