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NVL 22 W — The Novel Hatchery: Moving from Idea to the Page

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 9
Drop Deadline: Apr 11
Units: 3
Tuition: $850
Instructor(s): Stacey Swann
Limit: 17
Apr 3—Jun 9
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 11
3 Units
Stacey Swann
Behind every great novel is a great idea—but the transition from idea to page is not obvious. How does a great idea for a novel become a great novel? How can you know if your idea is even sufficient to sustain a book? Whether you’re just getting started writing or you’ve hit a wall in your story, this course is designed to give you the skills and confidence to find the answers to these pressing questions—and to jump headfirst into the writing of your novel. We will begin with several weeks of foundational prewriting, getting to know our characters and their problems. We’ll learn different ways to roadmap our books, from detailed outlines to methods with more flexibility. Next, we’ll move into drafting, as we study what elements make a successful opening chapter. We’ll conclude the course with a supportive workshop of our opening chapter (3,000–5,000 words), geared to give us the feedback and clarity we need to push further into the draft. Along the way, we’ll gain insight from the craft book Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne and also learn by example as we read two short contemporary novels. By the end of the course, your novels will emerge from their shells, ready to fly toward completion.

Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.

Stacey Swann, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Stacey Swann’s work has appeared in NER Digital, Epoch, Versal, Memorious, Freight Stories, The Good Men Project, and The Saint Ann’s Review. Her short story collection, The Dead Zoo, was a finalist for the 2010 Bakeless Literary Publication Prize. She is a contributing editor of the literary quarterly American Short Fiction, and is the former William Chace Lecturer in Continuing Studies. She received an MFA from Texas State University.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) John Dufresne, Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months (ISBN 9780393338836)
(Required) Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project: A Novel (ISBN 9781476729091)
(Required) Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel (ISBN 978-1594632334)