Alice Portraits 1057 croppedFive Sundays, Aug. 18-Sept. 22 (skip Sept. 1st)   2-4:30 p.m.
$215 members/$245 non-members    Berkeley


Starting a novel is a historical source of headache for budding writers. Where do you begin? What constitutes a good idea? What strategies should you keep in mind when you start clicking away?

“First you want to set up the beginning — the DNA — of your novel,” says instructor Samuel Sattin.

“Coding the basic structure, plot, and worldview will allow your pages to live and breathe. The beginning always sets the tone, pace, and mood for what will follow.

In this class, Sam will show you how to tackle some of the common obstacles to beginning—from setting up the rules of your world to finding characters of enough substance and weight to carry your narrative. You’ll also work on plot development, and discuss the importance of raising the stakes.

“Writing is a lot more surgical then you might believe,” says Sam. “The art of a novel, its prose and rhythm, must be backed up by the pragmatism of the story. Every work of fiction, whether traditional or experimental, must have its rules. In this class, we’ll discuss known ones, and perhaps create our own.”

Through in-class exercises and readings, you’ll learn more ways to summon creativity impromptu. And you’ll work on strategies for implementing a productive writing schedule. “The aim is to get you on a track,” says Sam, “so that you feel like you’re inside your narrative, as opposed to merely observing it.”

Samuel Sattin is the author of the chaos-inspired superhero epic, LEAGUE OF SOMEBODIES, described by Mat Johnson as “So rich with originality it’s actually radioactive.” A featured “up-and-coming author”  in San Francisco Magazine’s “Writers on Writers: issue, his work can be found in Salon Magazine, The Good Men Project, io9, and Kotaku. He is a contributing editor at The Weeklings, and lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, beagle, and tuxedo cat. You can visit him here:
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