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NVL 134 — Novel Writing

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 22—Dec 1
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Lynn Stegner
Limit: 24
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 24
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Sep 22—Dec 1
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 24
3 Units
Lynn Stegner
Please Note: No class on November 24
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Novel writing is a process—an interim way of life—and should not be regarded as either easy or daunting. Taken in steps, the journey can and does happen, often with great vision and beauty. This course will address all stages of the novel-writing process, from choosing the most effective narrative point of view to managing and orchestrating the material. Although the course will discuss essential aspects of the novel, it will focus primarily on student work, including drafts of chapters, as well as anything that supports and predicts the overarching narrative, such as research and outlines. Controlling narrative voice and pacing, handling scenes with dramatic force, developing character and motivation, composing dialogue that is not only real-sounding but also productive, and keeping the plot from lugging down—these are some of the many issues that will likely come up during the course. We will also read from a collection of interviews with such novelists as James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, Robert Stone, and Sandra Cisneros to help expand our understanding of fiction writing both as a calling and as a practice. Each student will contribute one to two chapters for the course.


Lynn Stegner has published four novels and a collection of stories. Pipers at the Gates of Dawn received a Faulkner Society Gold Medal, and her novel Because a Fire Was in My Head was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She has received an NEA fellowship and a Fulbright scholarship and has recently finished a new novel.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Introduction by Philip Gourevitch, The Paris Review Interviews Vol. I (ISBN 978-0-312-36175-4)
(Required) Introdution by Orhan Pamuk / Edited by Philip Courevitch, The Paris Review Interviews Vol. II (ISBN 978-0-312-36314-7 (v.)
(Required) Introduction by Salman Rushdie / Edited by Philip Gourevitch, The Paris Review Interviews Vol. IV (ISBN 978-0-312-42744-3)