Curriculum at a Glance Fall Semester YEAR 1 – Novel I: Novel Beginnings
In this course students will study dynamic novel launches from a variety of texts in order to analyze the skills that writers employ to craft captivating first pages. This course is all about exploration and explosive creativity in order to support students in writing stories that incite passion and spark interest. Topics of study will include crafting the ordinary world of the protagonist, what makes a scene, and effective narrative launch devices. A particular focus will be taken on the life and schedule of a writer in order to support students in creating sustainable writing habits. As such the program will host guest authors of published fiction to gain insight into their writing lives and career trajectories. By the end of the course students should have a working draft of the first 30 pages of their novel, though it should be noted that students can expect to write at least twice these pages to fulfill course requirements.
Curriculum at a Glance Spring Semester YEAR 1 – Novel II: Novel Writing Into The Middle
This course will take up where Novel Beginnings left off: by exploring what happens to characters when they leave their ordinary worlds behind and launch into journeys that forever change the trajectory of their lives. Whereas the first novel writing course focused on crafting the ordinary world of the protagonist, this course will additionally focus on exploring secondary characters and subplots in order to create complex and dynamic worlds. A particular focus will be on writing fast and writing strong in order to hit the ground running in the early middle of the novel and to continue structured practice of the habits that allow writers to blast through the initial drafts of their novels.
Curriculum at a Glance Spring Semester YEAR 2 – Novel III: The Powerful Lead Up and Explosive Climax
In Novel II, young authors created strong, believable characters with defined storylines. In Novel III we turn up the heat on those characters, pushing through the final obstacles and adventures to craft an emotional, dramatic dark moment and moving to an explosive and satisfying climax. Novelists will learn how to turn up the tension by focusing on character’s goals and motivations and raise the stakes of their worlds with complications and obstacles. Novel 3 will also focus on the writing life, teaching and exploring best practices to integrate writing, school, extra-curricular activities and life.
Curriculum at a Glance Spring Semester YEAR 2 – Novel IV: The Aftermath
In Novel IV, young authors will learn how to steer their explosive climaxes into emotionally satisfying endings. A particular focus will be on whole-novel and character arcs, making sure young authors are creating dynamic characters with complete emotional arcs and storylines are thorough and lack plot holes. After novel completion, we’ll have a strong focus on self and peer editing, guiding novelists to look at their finished products with a critical eye while not losing their personal voices in the editing process.
Monday – lecture, discussion questions, & writing assignment posted online
Thursday – initial responses to discussion questions due
Sunday – novel pages due online
Monday – Friday – students post feedback online & continue to engage in conversation on the weekly discussion questions
Saturday – Saturday Seminar at SJSU (dates TBA)
Sunday – peer feedback due, instructor feedback given
SUMMER COURSE Open to All Students – Once Upon a Novel
June 8-July 5, 2020 – Registration Coming Spring 2020
Any novelist knows the hardest part of writIng is sitting down in the chair and working out your creative muscle by practicing your craft every day. It is not the most brilliant-minded people who become published, but rather those who tone their writing through regular word workouts. This class will support students in creating a writing routine by providing prompts and inspiration on a daily basis, Monday-Friday, for four weeks – a full 7 days longer than it takes to form a habit – in an online setting leading up to our Teen Writers Institute at San Jose State University. From “Once upon a time,” through the major plotline of a story, this is the perfect course for those students looking to enroll in our Novel Writing Program, or simply for those looking for a creative way to spend their slower summer months