Tag Archives: novel workshop

This is the 7th Time I Taught Novel Writing

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End-of-Term Observations As you probably noticed, I didn’t blog much about teaching this course this semester. I think that’s because I’ve almost got it “down” now, which is a relief after three years of tweaking! What They Wrote This is … Continue reading

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Most Words Drafted–Fall 2013

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Here are the winners of the Most Words Drafted competition in my novel-writing class. The whole semester of this course is archived here. First place: Liz Winks Liz wrote 64,309 words this semester. Her satirical novel is entitled The Grand … Continue reading

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When and how do students write?

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I found this great article the other day, “Seven Effing Great Ways to Build Your Writing Routine.”  The author encourages us to find our writing “sweet spots” in order to maximize our daily/weekly output. Consider the following questions: How long … Continue reading

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How to talk about a WIP

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To my novel-writing classes, Next week, you’ll meet with your small group and talk about 25-50 pages of  your WIP (work-in-progress), the novels you’ve been working on this term. This is the moment when a lot of novels fizzle out, … Continue reading

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Novels vs. Stories in MFA Programs Survey Results

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My plan was to release the survey results one question at a time via ruminative blog posts like this one on whether MFA programs are “anti-novel” or not and this one on the “professionalization” question. But I’ve changed my mind. Many people … Continue reading

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David Haynes: “My goal is to produce novelists, not novels.”

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This is important: no matter what Chad Harbach and John Stazinski say, my little informal survey did NOT indicate that MFA programs concentrate solely on short stories. They are not “anti-novel.” At least not on purpose anyway. The perception that … Continue reading

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Survey Results: 56% say MFA favors story over novel

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It is possible to teach novel writing in MFA programs, and many do. My panelists (David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, and Elizabeth Stuckey-French) prove it here, by sharing their syllabi with you. You’ve got everything you need to design your … Continue reading

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Novel-Writing Class Best Practices

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If you’d like to teach a class in novel-writing but don’t know how, have no fear. My panel is here! David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and I have all taught the course, and we’ve compiled a Best … Continue reading

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Take My Survey about Novels in MFA Programs

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“Of all the ambient commonplaces about MFA programs, perhaps the only accurate one is that the programs are organized around the story form.” Chad Harbach said this in his n+1/Slate essay, “MFA or NYC?” Do you think he’s right? I … Continue reading

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Weekly Words

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I require my novel-writing students to turn in 2,250 words a week for 12 weeks. If they turn in the words, they get 25 points. If they don’t turn in the words (or turn in less than 2,250), they don’t … Continue reading

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