Schedule & Curriculum

The year is divided into three phases (details below). As the year progresses, this schedule may change to accommodate student and instructor availability.

The Novel Incubator meets Monday nights, from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. Classes will meet in-person in Boston. 

Phase One (10 Weeks): June 6th – August 8th, 2022

The first phase deals with the novel as a whole with craft lessons and discussions on the macro-level. Each class meeting includes a craft lesson on subjects such as characterization, novel structure, point of view choices, narrative distance, subtext, setting, and style; a writing or planning exercise; and the workshop of one student novel. Writers meet with the instructor for an hour in the week following their novel workshop to review feedback and for another hour between phase one and two to present a short craft essay on a novel and craft element of their choice, as assigned early in phase one. During this second meeting, writers will also begin to create a revision plan to help them determine their writing process and submissions during the second phase.

Phase Two (10 weeks): October 3rd – December 6th, 2022

The second phase narrows its focus onto chapters and scenes. Students examine a common novel in classroom discussions and receive craft lectures on topics important to chapters and scenes such as pacing, conflict, pulse, and turning points, etc. Each writer workshops up to one hundred pages two times during this phase. Students meet individually with their instructor for an hour following each of their workshop submissions to review workshop feedback, share additional new writing, and further revise and refine their novel revision plans and outlines. An additional hour of one-on-one discussion and feedback with the instructor will follow the phrase in December to ensure that the student is on a firm path toward the book-length revision due in Phase Three. Further meetings can also be made by request.

The dates above may shift a week or two forward or back depending on student and instructor availability. Any changes will be put into place before the beginning of the NI year in May.

Phase Three (10 weeks): February 6th – April 10th, 2023

Phase Three repeats the format of Phase One with writers submitting a full revision of their novel for a single workshop session. In the first weeks, we also turn our focus to the finer issues of paragraph and sentence style, essentially “paring our fingernails,” with each writer submitting a small section for close editing. Additional class time includes lectures and practice in writing queries, performing public readings, and refining how to engage with agents and editors. This phase also includes visits from experts in the field, including agents, editors, publicists, and publishers. Students meet individually with the instructor for one-hour following their workshop sessions. In addition, students will submit their novels to an established writer, as selected with the help of the instructor, for a “second read” of their revised manuscript, with written commentary and an additional hour of face-to-face, phone or online meetings.

The dates above may shift a week or two forward or back depending on student and instructor availability, as well as the Muse Conference schedule and deadlines. Any changes will be put into place before the new year.

Post-Muse Final Classroom and Individual Meetings: Dates TBD

Writers meet individually with the instructor for a one-hour meeting to discuss progress made during the year, the writer’s Muse meeting(s), where the novel now stands, and plans for the work ahead. The class convenes one last time for a three-hour session to discuss next steps, making commitments that will spur their books to completion, and to discuss other opportunities available to them in the literary world.

Novel Incubator Alum Group

All students throughout the year and afterwards are welcome to enjoy the benefits of our extremely active alum group in which students continue to read each other’s work, take part in our NI reading series Craft on Draft, are invited to publish on our Dead Darlings blog and to attend our book club meetings, social events, readings, and yearly writing retreat, as well as much, much more.

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