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Writing a novel can be a lonely business. It can also be pretty overwhelming when you’re doing it without guidance, input or support. If you want to start a novel or you’ve got a novel in progress, this class will provide you with the help you’ll need.

"I love teaching novel writing,” says instructor Elaine Beale. “It’s so inspiring seeing each student create characters, stories and entire worlds out of the blank page! And, because the novel is my favorite form to read and to write, I so enjoy helping new novelists get their work off the ground.

“We’ll cover the key things to think about when starting a novel. This means beginning to understand your main characters and their motivations, creating a compelling setting, and learning how to pace your story in order to keep your reader engaged from start to finish. We’ll also talk about plot and how it intertwines and connects with your characters. Finally, we’ll discuss how to motivate yourself to keep going.

"We'll do in-class exercises. I'll also give you homework assignments that focus on different aspects of craft. You’ll have opportunities to get feedback on these. Also, everyone will work on written plot summaries that we'll discuss in class."



    Elaine Beale’s second novel, Another Life Altogether, was published by Random House in 2010. It has received praise from the Boston Globe, Lambda Literary, Curve Magazine, the Bay Area Reporter, and Publishers Weekly, among others, and it was featured in Oprah Magazine. Elaine was the winner of the 2007 Poets and Writers California Writers Exchange Award and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing for more than a decade.

  1. Thursday, February 21, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Thursday, February 28, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Thursday, March 7, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Thursday, March 14, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Thursday, March 21, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • Elaine is an excellent, dynamic teacher and very organized with materials and communications. Her critiquing of our writing was extremely valuable. In addition to her considerable experience, she has a gift for it. . . . I wish she could always be my reader, and would definitely take another course taught by her and recommend her classes to others.

    Adele Mendelson
  • I am a big fan of Elaine's classes. She immediately puts the novice at ease and her enthusiastic love of the craft is contagious.

    Rick Kelley
  • Elaine knows her stuff, obviously, and articulates her insights in an inspiring style. She respects how challenging writing is and accentuates that by constantly providing positive support. She is warm, honest, and helpful for fledgling fiction writers!

    Karolina Garrett
  • “Starting Your Novel” with Elaine Beale was one of the most useful classes I've taken. Elaine is the kind of teacher who puts everyone at ease, no matter what stage of their writing the students are at. Her critique, while incisive, is always positive and constructive, and that made me feel comfortable sharing my work in class. She is also generous with sharing her own experience of getting published. I learnt a lot from her insights into the craft as well as the business.

    Neha K.


Thu, February 21 @ 7:00 pm
Thu, March 21 @ 9:30 pm
Event Category:


2121 Bonar St, Studio D, 2nd Fl
Berkeley, CA United States
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7 available
Starting Your Novel: Taking the First Steps$295.00Berkeley

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Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Refund Policy

There is a processing fee of 15% included in each registration. The Writing Salon will not issue a refund if a cancellation occurs within 48 hours of the class start time.

The Writing Salon cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.

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