Nine Month Novel Syllabus

The Nine Month Novel


Week 0 – Regarding our hopes and goals for the course

Week 1 – Using the combination of Character / Setting / Conflict to generate story ideas

Week 2 – Why write stories, anyway? Making Time and Examining Our Priorities

Week 3 – First Draft strategy

Week 4 – Outlining v. Freestyle and the strengths and weaknesses of each

Week 5 – Point-of-view / Discovering (or creating) your writing voice

Week 6 – Free Indirect Narration

Week 7 – Beginnings and Hooks

Week 8 – Going deeper with your protagonist

Week 9 – Antagonists and their role in your story

Week 10 – Thinking through structure and plot (The First Act)

Week 11 – Pace and how to maintain it

Week 12 – Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

Week 13 – Using Detail

Week 14 – The First Gate (Moving Into Act 2)

Week 15 – What themes and motifs are emerging in your writing?

Week 16 – Figures of speech

Week 17 – Books we’re reading and what we’re learning from them as writers

Week 18 – How to use feedback (and when to get it)

Week 19 – Mindsets to get you through the messy middle

Week 20 – Subplots – Are they contributing or not?

Week 21 – Hitting the wall and finding fresh inspiration

Week 22 – Sketching out your story arc / timeline

Week 23 – Explore potential endings through free-writing

Week 24 – The Second Gate (Moving into Act 3)

Week 25 – The Climax

Week 26 – The Voices

Week 27 – Peer Review

Week 28 – Tying Themes and Characters into Your Conclusion

Week 29 – How has your protagonist changed?

Week 30 – Taking stock of where you’re at in the process

Week 31 – Finishing Strong

Week 32 – How our creations become art (clue: by sharing them with others)

Week 33 – What to do with your first draft / goals for a second draft

Week 34 – Finding Beta Readers

Week 35 – Thoughts on Self-publishing

Week 36 – Working with editors

Week 37 – Working with agents

Week 38 – Farewell and Next Steps

Optional Reading List:

From time to time, sections of the following books could serve as supplemental material:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Story by Robert McKee
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
How Fiction Works by James Wood
On Writing by Stephen King

* This syllabus is a guide. Weeks may be changed, reordered, or removed.