Nine Month Novel Syllabus

The Nine Month Novel


Week 1 – Regarding our hopes and goals for the course

Week 2 – Using the combination of Character / Setting / Conflict to generate story ideas

Week 3 – Why write stories, anyway? Making Time and Examining Our Priorities

Week 4 – First Draft strategy

Week 5 – Outlining v. Freestyle and the strengths and weaknesses of each

Week 6 – Point-of-view / Discovering (or creating) your writing voice

Week 7 – Free Indirect Narration

Week 8 – Beginnings and Hooks

Week 9 – Going deeper with your protagonist

Week 10 – Antagonists and their role in your story

Week 11 – Thinking through structure and plot (The First Act)

Week 12 – Pace and how to maintain it

Week 13 – Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue

Week 14 – Using Detail

Week 15 – The First Gate (Moving Into Act 2)

Week 16 – What themes and motifs are emerging in your writing?

Week 17 – Figures of speech

Week 18 – Books we’re reading and what we’re learning from them as writers

Week 19 – How to use feedback (and when to get it)

Week 20 – Mindsets to get you through the messy middle

Week 21 – Subplots – Are they contributing or not?

Week 22 – Hitting the wall and finding fresh inspiration

Week 23 – Sketching out your story arc / timeline

Week 24 – Explore potential endings through free-writing

Week 25 – The Second Gate (Moving into Act 3)

Week 26 – The Climax

Week 27 – The Voices

Week 28 – Peer Review

Week 29 – Tying Themes and Characters into Your Conclusion

Week 30 – How has your protagonist changed?

Week 31 – Taking stock of where you’re at in the process

Week 32 – Finishing Strong

Week 33 – How our creations become art (clue: by sharing them with others)

Week 34 – What to do with your first draft / goals for a second draft

Week 35 – Finding Beta Readers

Week 36 – Thoughts on Self-publishing

Week 37 – Working with editors

Week 38 – Working with agents

Week 39 – 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.