Welcome to Wri 125, Novel Writing

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

Query Shark

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.

Why novels? Because novels are where the money is. I haven’t seen a dime from my poetry book or chapbook.

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.

Happy noveling!


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