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"It's Time To Start Your Novel" Online Writing Course

Posted by Midwest Writers Workshop ; Posted on 
Literary - DEADLINE :  


Midwest Writers Workshop Ongoing continues its mission of “helping writers become published authors” with this new course IT’S TIME TO START YOUR NOVEL, taught by author Cathy Day.

In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott advises to embrace “shitty first drafts.” These drafts are written quickly to avoid too much self-editing and to improve the story flow. She makes a case that later drafts are the time for polishing our prose. To that end, NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month) happens every November, with the goal of writing a 50,000-word “shitty draft” in a month.

Less than a quarter of the people who start NaNoWriMo actually finish the challenge and write 50,000 words. Your chances of finishing a crappy first draft of a novel in November are greatly improved if you prepare in October. That’s what Cathy Day’s MWW Ongoing course, “It’s Time to Start Your Novel,” is all about. Registration now available! Starts October 1.

This course is for everyone who ever thought, “I think I might have a novel inside me.” Understand though: you will not “write a novel” in this course–you will prepare yourself to start (or re-start) one. Think of it as a cooking course in which you spend the first class cleaning the kitchen and prepping the ingredients. Think of it as a marathon-running course in which you spend the first class buying a good pair of shoes. Your chances of drafting an entire novel increase exponentially when you spend some time preparing yourself for the journey ahead.

You’ll learn a great deal about your process without having to fret about the quality of your work. You’ll generate a lot of writing about the novel you want to write, get to know your characters, learn to think in terms of scenes not sentences, and make some crucial early decisions about point of view and structure that will save you a lot of time down the road.

At the end of the course, you’ll be ready and excited and poised to start writing your novel.

What This Course Specifically Teaches

  • intense focus on the writing process and on developing a writing regimen
  • writing assignments which will help you gather material, develop your plot, and get to know your characters
  • practice creating an outline or storyboard of your book
  • analysis of a novel that will serve as a model

The course is broken down into four big-picture units, further described below. Each unit offers a series of mini-lessons (about 5 to 10 minutes each) that build on each other. It will take you about four full hours to go through all of the instruction. You can pause to write when inspired and review the material on your own. Lessons are presented as audio-visual lectures that you can watch on any device (video/screencast).

What the Course Includes

  • Four hours of instructional lectures that you can listen to or watch on your own time, at your own convenience
  • Weekly assignments for completion at your own pace—designed to help you put what you learn into action.
  • Connection and community with others

For more information, visit