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NVL 09 W — Writing the Novel from Back to Front

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 7
Drop Deadline: Apr 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Caroline Leavitt
Limit: 17
Status: Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Spring
Date(s)
Apr 1—Jun 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 4
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Caroline Leavitt
Limit
17
Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 at 5:00 pm (PT).
John Irving said, “I don’t start a novel … until I know the end.” Are you trying to write a novel but have no idea where to start? Imagining your last scene can lead to your first one, especially using story structure. Structure is the spine of every novel, helping the “limbs” of character, dialogue, and setting to hold together. In this course, we will study story structure to find the spine of your novel so you can get creative with it, helped by John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story and Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story. Students will produce three pages of work (750 words) per week, respond to reading and discussion questions, and complete exercises in mapping out essential plot points, outlining psychological and moral needs, and other tactics. We will be working in a workshop atmosphere, with students assigned to groups. We will also have video chats every week or so to discuss work and to build community. By the end of the course, students will have a synopsis, techniques to map out their novel (including the use of reveals, reversals, and moral choices), and a last chapter from which they can work backward.

Caroline Leavitt, Author

Caroline Leavitt is the author of eleven novels, including Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You. Her newest book, Cruel Beautiful World, was named to the Indie Next List. Leavitt’s essays, stories, and articles have appeared in Salon, Psychology Today, New York magazine, Parenting, the Chicago Tribune, Parents, Redbook, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and several anthologies. She also teaches in the online UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and has reviewed books for People magazine, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lisa Cron, Wired for Story, paperback (ISBN 978-1-60774-245-6)
(Required) John Truby, The Anatomy of Story, paperback (ISBN 978-0-86547-951-7)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)