Week 1: Moving from “Story” to “Book”
- Intro to Course
- In-class diagnostic
- Discussion: Favorite Novels and/or Your Writing Regimen
- Weekly Words: Practice Run: turn in via email to my gmail by Sunday 8/25 at 5 PM. Focus: Tell me about the novel you plan to write. Tell me about the CHARACTER/S and the EVENT/S. You must have both. No word count minimum this week.
Week 2: Getting to Know Your Character
- Week 1 Blog Post Due: Cathy Day
- Quiz 1: Tom Perrotta, Election
- Discussion: DICE handout, LOCK handout (have read these before class).
- Weekly Words #1: due by Sunday 9/1 at 5 PM. Focus: Write about your main character by following the “Desire” prompts from DICE and the “Lead” prompts from LOCK.
Week 3: Scene Before Sentence
- Week 2 Blog Post Due: Katelyn Wilhelm
- Quiz 2: Rex Pickett, Sideways (pp. 1-210)
- Weekly Words #2, due by Sunday 9/8 at 5 PM. Focus: Dramatized (not summarized) scenes from early in your novel. Follow the “Initiate” prompts from DICE and the “Objective” prompts from LOCK.
Week 4: Playing with Blocks: Throughlines, A/B/C Stories, Plot Layers and Subplots
- Week 3 Blog Post Due: Eric Alcorn
- Quiz 3: Rex Pickett, Sideways (pp. 211-351)
- Discussion/Have Read: James Scott Bell chapters on “Scenes” and “Plotting Systems” (in Google Docs “Resources,” have read before class)
- Weekly Words #3, due by Sunday 9/15 at 5 PM. Focus: Identify potential plot layers or subplots for your novel. Write about those subplots by creating a list of specific plot points for each. Think consciously about what different strands you can create and weave together. Follow the prompts for “Conflict” from DICE and “Confrontations” from LOCK. This is where you start thinking about how you’re going to make things happen and force the issues.
Week 5: Plot and Structure
- Week 4 Blog Post Due: Rebecca Brill
- Quiz 4: Baggott, Pure (pp. 1-121)
W 9/18 Rex Pickett virtual visit: Screening of Sideways, LB 125, 5-7:30 PM (optional); Video Conference with Rex Pickett, LB 125, 8 PM (required)
- Weekly Words #4, due by Sunday 9/22 at 5 PM. Focus: identify potential turning points, inner turning points, and high moments for your character/s. What are your character’s “doorways of no return”? What are you building towards? Have you made the problem as bad as it can possibly be? Write about this and don’t worry if it sounds cheesy.
Week 6: Setting and World Building
- Week 5 Blog Post Due: David Connors
- Quiz 5: Baggott, Pure (pp. 122-292)
- Weekly Words #5: due by Sunday, 9/27 at 5 PM. Focus: answer all or at least some of the questions in the handout “Setting as Character by JT Dutton.” Make sure that your words this week focus on the setting of your novel
Week 7: Stakes and Voltage
- Week 6 Blog Post Due: Heather Digiacomo
- Quiz 6: Baggott, Pure (pp. 293-431)
- Weekly Words #6, due by Sunday, 10/6 at 5 PM. Focus: Your novel needs lots of tension. Write about how the situation for your character could matter more, how you can make things worse for them, how you can make them suffer more. Does your novel need frontloading or a ticking clock? At least some of this is about figuring out why this story matters to you personally. If you haven’t already created the novel’s bridging conflict, do so now.
Week 8: Storyboarding
- Week 7 Blog Post Due: Camille Germain
- Quiz 7: Evan S. Connell, Mrs. Bridge (whole thing)
- Discussion /Have Read: my blog post “Novels to Stories, Stories to Novel,” Evan S. Connell’s short story “The Beau Monde of Mrs. Bridge” and Cathy Day’s extracted short story “Etiquette Lessons.” (Google Docs)
- Weekly Words #7, due by Sunday, 10/13 at 5 PM. Focus: If you want, you can turn in nothing but plot points this week. This will be really helpful if you’re a plotter. If you’re a pantser, you’ll start doing it and hate it. If so, stop.
Week 9: Theme
- Week 8 Blog Post Due: Lindsay Gregg
- Weekly Words #8: due by Sunday, 10/20 at 5 PM. Focus: Using the tips from lecture regarding how to develop the theme of your novel, think about three scenes in which the theme is present. The first bell chime. The second. And then the third.
Week 10: No Theme
T 10/22 No class. Fall Break
- Week 9 Blog Post Due: Heather Hood
- Due from Groups 2 and 3: Reverse Storyboard Project + Analysis (Artifact and Paper, not emailed, due in class).
- Discussion/Have Read: Publishing Packet
- Weekly Words #9: due by Sunday, 10/27 at 5 PM. Focus: None. Write what you want. .
Week 11: Studio Time
- Week 10 Blog Post Due: Chelsea Jackman
- Weekly Words #10 (last one): due Sunday, 11/3 at 5 PM. Focus: None. Write what you want.
- Due : Packet from Group 1: 1.)Jacket Copy, 2.) 25-30 page “chunk” of the manuscript and 3.) Outline/Storyboard. Put in your groups Google Doc Folder. This should be ONE DOCUMENT, not three.
Week 12: Beta Reading Group 1 & Writing Studio Time for Groups 2 and 3
- Week 11 Blog Post Due: Ani Johnson
- Meeting of Group 1 Beta Readers (with Cathy) on T and Th
- Due: Group 1 Beta Reader Reports
- Groups 2 and 3 writing/revising in classroom or at home
- Due: Packet from Group 2: 1.)Jacket Copy, 2.) 25-30 page “chunk” of the manuscript and 3.) Outline/Storyboard. Put in your groups Google Doc Folder. This should be ONE DOCUMENT, not three.
Week 13: Beta Reading Group 2 & Writing Studio Time for Groups 1 & 3
- Week 12 Blog Post Due: Haley Muench
- Meeting of Group 2 Beta Readers (with Cathy) on T and Th
- Due: Group 2 Beta Reader Reports
- Group 1 & 3 writing/revising in classroom or at home
- Due: Packet from Group 3: 1.)Jacket Copy, 2.) 25-30 page “chunk” of the manuscript and 3.) Outline/Storyboard. Put in your groups Google Doc Folder. This should be ONE DOCUMENT, not three.
Week 14: Beta Reading Group 3 & Writing Studio Time for Groups 1 & 2
- Week 13 Blog Post Due: Kyle Royse
- Meeting of Group 3 Beta Readers (with Cathy) on T and Th
- Due: Group 3 Beta Reader Reports
- Due from Group 1: Reverse Storyboard Project + Analysis (Artifact and Paper, not emailed, due in class).
- Groups 1 & 2 writing/revising in classroom or at home.
W 11/20 Kathleen Rooney visit. Class visit: ___________ Reading at 7:30 PM (attendance encouraged!)
- Meeting of Group 3
Week 15: What Comes Next: The Submission Process
- Discussion/Have Read: The Publishing Packet on Query Letters, etc.
- Week 14 Blog Post Due: Travis Schwipps
Th 11/28 No class. Thanksgiving.
Week 16: The End
- Week 15 Blog Post Due: Melissa Shaw
- Due: Query and polished 10-page Partial to “Agents”
- Presentation on Publishing
T/12/10 Week 16 Blog Post Due: Liz Winks
Our scheduled final exam time is:
Thursday, Dec. 12, 12-2 PM
- DUE BEFORE FINAL: email to my gmail containing a document with ALL THE WORDS.
- Announcement of MOST WORDS DRAFTED WINNER.
- We will meet and discuss our course blog #amnoveling. You’ll have the opportunity to revise your blog post and see the analytics for that post. We’ll discuss other professional matters related to novel writing.