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  • Workshop
  • Online (WetInk)
  • Intermediate
  • 6 Weeks

Novel Builder: Beginnings (Online)

No Longer Enrolling

  • $370.00 Non-Member
  • $355.00 Member

Class Description

Embarking on a novel is an exciting business. So much to say, so many characters to get to know, settings to explore, and narrative threads to follow! But before you know it, all those narratives can quickly become loose threads, and you find yourself with a big unwieldy mess on your hands, and you can’t see your way from the start to the middle, much less the end, of your draft.

If this sounds familiar, you’re in luck! In this class, we’ll follow the advice of the inimitable Anne Lammott and take it bird by bird––or in our case, scene by scene.
It’s been said that the typical contemporary novel has twelve major scenes. In this class, we’ll explore some of those scenes that are specific to the beginning of the novel, such as the inciting incident, character introductions, the first complication, the intrusion of the past on the present, and others. Each week, we will pair one of these scenes with an element of craft, such as momentum, backstory, characterization, etc, and look at examples from contemporary novels to help illustrate those concepts (authors may include Angela Flournoy, Luís Alberto Urrea, Brit Bennett, Colson Whitehead, Sally Rooney, Anne Enright, and others), as well as exercises that will help get you writing your own versions of those scenes.

Because this is a generative class, you will write and submit one scene per week, and will have the opportunity to workshop a scene several times throughout the course of the class. At the end of class, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your project as a whole, and where to go from here, with the instructor.

You will leave this class with six new scenes, an expanded toolkit for the craft and structure of novel-writing, and a road map for how to get to the next stage of your novel.

**This class is part of the Novel Builder Online series. Other options include Novel Builder: the Murky Middle, and Novel Builder: Endings.

*NOTE that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink, our online class platform, before 5pm on the first day of class.

Scholarship Information

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

*NOTE that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink, our online class platform, before 5pm on the first day of class.

Scholarship Information

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

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.