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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Novel Essentials: Arcs and Endings

No Longer Enrolling

  • $75.00 Non-Member
  • $65.00 Member

Class Description

This seminar is for writers who are in the process of completing a novel. The ending of a novel can be a stumbling block for even the most accomplished authors. Often, readers will find an ending unsatisfying, jarring, or—worst of all—unmemorable. Some novels fizzle out; others take inexplicable turns; all too many end in deaths that occur more for the convenience of the author than as a logical or coherent outcome of the plot. In this seminar, we will examine the different narrative arcs that can be employed in writing novels, from the formulaic progress of a murder mystery towards a dramatic dénouement to the leisurely “plateau” arc of Victorian novels, many of which end with wrapping-up sections of two hundred pages or more.

Being careful not to reveal the endings of books not everyone has read, we will discuss examples from published authors, and we will conclude by briefly discussing every attendee’s novel in turn, suggesting potentially effective endings for their plotline. By the end of the seminar, each writer will have a better sense of what makes a memorable ending in general and what kind of ending might work well for their novel in particular.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Essentials Series, led by Ursula DeYoung and dedicated to exploring the fundamental building blocks of the novel. Classes include:

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!