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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Intermediate

Novel Revision Series: Dramatic Structure & Narrative Drive

No Longer Enrolling

  • $150.00 Non-Member
  • $130.00 Member

Class Description

Narrative drive is without doubt one of the most important ingredients in a successful novel. To the degree that it’s absent, the story will fail. The ability to keep the pages turning is a kind of subterranean magic, in fact, a sorcerer’s skill for which most aspiring novelists would trade everything but their souls. But what exactly is narrative drive, and how can a writer achieve it? How does one write a sustained narrative that can’t be put down, and also leaves a reader intellectually and emotionally satisfied? In this discussion-based craft workshop, we’ll look at the sources of dramatic tension and conflict and discuss ways to incorporate it more fully into our works in progress.

Then we’ll turn to the related concept of dramatic structure, which, by endowing a work with urgency, shape, and meaning, is also essential for a successful novel. We’ll ask ourselves questions such as: Do your scenes having turning points? Does your novel have an inciting incident? How does it relate to your climax and resolution? Does your novel have progressive complications? Can it be divided into a beginning, a middle, and an end? The answers to these and related questions, along with several graphic outlining exercises designed to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your novel’s dramatic structure, will provide a practical road map for writers to embark on a new revision of a novel in progress.
Students should bring a 3-10 page synopsis of their novel in progress.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Revision Series, led by Tim Weed and designed for those who have either finished or are nearing completion of a novel draft. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the revision challenges you face with your novel in progress. 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!