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Writing a successful novel demands a lot of a writer. Novelists need to develop convincing characters, craft a gripping plot, create settings that make their story vivid, and write in a voice that makes their work unique.
“In this workshop, we’ll talk about your idea and make sure it has enough weight to carry a novel,” says instructor Karen Bjorneby. “We’ll talk about your character and make sure she’s so compelling we all can’t wait to find out what she’ll do next. We’ll talk about plot – how are you going to make enough things happen? And we’ll talk about structure – how do you organize this huge thing and not get overwhelmed?”
With the help of various writing exercises, class members will work on developing written plot summaries, making sure there’s enough action and enough character development. We’ll share tips on the process, on getting the pages written, on keeping going, on when to go back and revise and when to keep moving ahead.
“Our goal is to get you so close to your main character you’ll know all his secrets, hopes, fears, dreams – better than his own therapist would!” says Karen. “We’ll also do writing exercises to help you connect with your setting. And you’ll share what you’ve written, so that you’ll get feedback on your craft, your style, and on that special quality you bring to your writing that makes it uniquely yours.”
Karen Bjorneby is the author of Hurricane Season, which received Foreword’s Honorable Mention as best independent/university press short fiction collection of the year. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in over two dozen publications including The Threepenny Review, The Sun, North American Review, StoryQuarterly, Poetry Daily, and Able Muse. She’s received a Pushcart Special Mention citation, two other Pushcart nominations, a National Magazine Award nomination, and she was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She recently secured representation for her novel Naked, Shining, and Alive.
- Wednesday, August 16, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, August 23, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, August 30, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, September 6, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Wednesday, September 13, 7:00pm-9:30pm
Karen’s course exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got out of it. I loved her lectures; very informative, filled with valuable nuggets. I expect I will refer to her handouts and my notes for a long time to come. Her in-class exercises were thought-provoking, and her feedback on everyone’s writing was thoughtful, encouraging and full of generosity and compassion.
I had hoped that the class would keep my creative juices flowing, help me scrape together a plan, and give me some honest critique…and it did more than that. I learned a TON about novel-writing in the sessions themselves; Karen did a wonderful job breaking the class into major but digestible chunks: character, setting, plot, and voice. Moreover, Karen’s critique of my work was spot-on. I’d known that some areas were weak, but I couldn’t have guessed that someone could tell me exactly why and what I might try to improve them. And the critique, while incisive, contained enough broad wisdoms to help me apply it throughout. I actually think I have a solid base for writing a good story now, which is rather remarkable for the money and the five-week commitment.
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