Required course texts:
How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Supplemental course texts (Excerpted and linked here):
Plot & Structure, James Scott Bell
The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman
A word from your instructor:
This is a semester-long novel writing course.
That said, it should take longer than a semester to write a novel, especially a good one, so much of our time will be spent developing ideas, plot, character, setting, etc. We will also discuss the business/industry and how to query agents. By the end of the semester, your portfolio should include your polished first 5 pages, a synopsis, query, and cover letters.
I wish someone had taught novel writing when I was an MFA in fiction. I spent years writing and publishing short stories, and then more years writing dead-end novels until the many craft books I read finally sank in.
So here are the things I wish I’d been taught from the beginning. Most of them (plot, conflict, characterization, show-don’t-tell) apply to short stories as well, of course, though novels are much, much more work.