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NVL 34 W — The Plot Thief: Adapting Classic Tales and Proven Plots for Your Novel

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 21—Aug 27
Refund Deadline: Jun 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Kimberley Askew
Limit: 20
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jun 21—Aug 27
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 24
3 Units
Kimberley Askew
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Have you dreamed of writing a novel, but worry that your plot isn’t strong enough to carry an entire book? You are not alone. In fact, Shakespeare stole all of his plots from previous works! It’s said that there are seven basic plots that span all of storytelling, from Beowulf to Harry Potter. In this course, you will learn to use them to craft your novel, while still writing wholly original and inventive prose. Together we will read Circe by Madeline Miller, Abandon by Meg Cabot, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire, as well as excerpts from The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, to see examples of acclaimed novels and short stories by authors who have adapted previous works. We’ll explore how to put your unique spin on plot, theme, character, setting, and point of view in order to breathe life into your unique creation. With weekly writing exercises, you will have a chance to flex your writing muscles, craft and workshop the first chapter of your novel, and receive feedback on your concept and book outline. You'll develop your own writing process along the way, and leave with a synopsis, a finely honed chapter, and an outline for finishing your novel.


Kimberley Askew is the co-author of the Twisted Lit series of Shakespeare-inspired young adult novels. Her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, SoMa Literary Review, Elle, the anthology The May Queen, and elsewhere. She received an MA in humanities from Mount Saint Mary's University, and has TV movies in production and in contract.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Madeline Miller, Circe (ISBN 978-0316556347)
(Required) Meg Cabot, Abandon (ISBN 978-0545040648)
(Required) Gregory Maguire, Wicked, Later Printing edition (September 25, 2007) (ISBN 978-0061350962)