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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 26—Dec 9
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $1200
Instructor(s): Rachel Smith
Limit: 15
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Fall
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Sep 26—Dec 9
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
3 Units
Fees
$1200
Instructor(s):
Rachel Smith
Limit
15
Recording
Yes
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
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) Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You (ISBN 9780143127550)
(Required) Kevin Wilson, Nothing to See Here (ISBN 9780062913494)
(Required) Nancy Kress, Beginnings, Middles, and Ends(Elements of Fiction Writing) (ISBN 978-1599632193)