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NVL 163 W — Writing Your Debut Novel

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 31
Drop Deadline: Jun 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Diana Spechler
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 25—Aug 31
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 28
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Diana Spechler
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Do you have a great idea for a novel? An interesting character, a line of dialogue, a high-tension conflict? Maybe you have even written pages of notes and scenes. But how do you turn your thoughts into a book? In this course, we will coax your initial inspiration into an opening chapter that you can be proud of. In the first half of the course, writing prompts will help you to build key scenes of your novel, including the opening chapter, the inciting incident, and the climax. You will learn the crafts of character development, plot, structure, point of view, and theme, as each relates to the novel you are writing. In the second half, we will address the specific problems you have run into during your writing process and troubleshoot for solutions, and you and your fellow students will workshop your completed opening chapters. With the community, you will read and discuss two successful contemporary novels: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez and Room by Emma Donoghue, each unique in style, point of view, voice, and structure. We will focus on why exactly these novels “work” and what makes them “great,” so you can apply those techniques to your own work. We all have a first novel in us. This course will help you get the tools and the confidence to begin writing yours.

Diana Spechler, Author

Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny, and has written for Harper’s, Tin House, The Paris Review, New York, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and other publications. She received the Spring 2015 Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize from the A Room of Her Own Foundation and is a seven-time Moth StorySLAM winner. Her book Going Off, based on her New York Times series by the same title, is forthcoming. Spechler received an MFA from the University of Montana.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Emma Donoghue, Room (ISBN 0316196940 )
(Required) Cristina Henriquez, The Book of Unknown Americans (ISBN 0385350856 )
(Required) Donald Maass, Writing The Breakout Novel (ISBN 158297182X)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)