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OWC 101 B — The Writing Life: Form and Theory of the Novel

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Dec 4
Drop Deadline: Sep 1
Units: 3
Tuition: $1120
Instructor(s): Rachel Smith
Limit: 18
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Fall
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Sep 21—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 1
3 Units
Fees
$1120
Instructor(s):
Rachel Smith
Limit
18
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
This course is not open to the public, but rather by admission only. For more information on the Online Writing Certificate Program and its application process, please click here.

This first course in the OWC series introduces the fundamentals of novel design. Students will read and analyze two published novels, developing their own ideas about how authors create the effects they do on the page. The class will look first at a bestselling genre novel, considering such key questions as: How does the inciting incident prepare readers for the climax? How do scenes build on the tension of previous scenes, raising the stakes? And how do characters’ internal drives interface with external challenges to create a meaningful plot? The class will then revisit these questions with a work of literary fiction, considering whether and how these fundamentals apply to a quieter novel. Weekly discussion questions and writing prompts will help students think about how best to construct their own books. In the second half of the quarter, students will share a section of their novel-in-progress for supportive discussion by the class, gaining vital insight for the drafting and development they will be doing in workshop throughout the remainder of the certificate program. This course will also help students to develop the habits of successful fiction writers. The goal is for each student to reach a better understanding of how to shape a novel, a better grasp on the individual writing process, and a greater ability to constructively self-evaluate.

Rachel Smith, Former William Chace Lecturer in Continuing Studies; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Rachel Smith’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Seattle Times, The Rumpus, Brevity, and The Coachella Review. She has received residencies and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Marquette Residency, and the Elizabeth George Foundation and has taught creative writing at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Mississippi, where she received an MFA in creative writing.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Colm Toibin , Brooklyn (ISBN 978-1501106477)
(Required) Brit Bennet, The Vanishing Half (ISBN 978-0525536291)
(Required) Nancy Kress, Beginnings, Middles, and Ends (ISBN 978-1599632193)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)