So You Want to Write a Novel

Course Dates: 
June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, 2015
9-11 a.m.
Jim Norman
Course Catalogs: 
2015 Summer

You’ve always wanted to write a novel. Maybe you started one and quit in frustration.  No, you won’t be expected to write a novel during this course. You’ll learn techniques, from story concept, to research and character and plot development, to outlining, and writing that first draft through editing and submitting to agents and publishers. We’ll also cover fiction-writing basics that make for successful novels in all genres.

Jim Norman ( is a member of Mystery Writers of America. His writing credits include novels, Not a Pretty Picture, The Extraordinary Adventures of Milo F, The Change-Up and mystery short stories, including Fatal Finale and The Case of the Tattooed Redhead.

Additional Course information

Many people who start writing a novel give up.  They have writer’s block, lose their story line or decide the story isn’t as good as they initially imagined.  The key to avoiding these problems is a system of organization that let’s you test your story and lay it out before you ever start on the novel itself.  The method you will learn in this course is not the only way to write a novel, but it is the way most authors who complete novels approach their craft.  We’ll start with generating a story line, proceed to develop a log line, and then put the story into the classic three act format.  If you’re still enthused about the project, you go on to a chapter-by-chapter outline, making changes, adding characters and subplots and finally, begin Chapter One.

No, you’re not going to write a novel in six weeks.  This course is about techniques and some fiction writing basics, including plots, character development, dialogue and research.  You’ll get a course outline before the first class and regular handouts that will save you some note taking.  Some of the classes will have in-class exercises.  There will be lectures and group discussions.  In the last class, we’ll talk about literary agents, self-publishing, query letters and synopses.  Then it will be up to you.  You’ll have the tools to write the novel.  If you complete a novel, you’ll achieve a unique kind of satisfaction and it will be deserved.

This course is suitable for all levels of writing experience and background.  Whether this is your first attempt at a novel or you’ve done one or more and are struggling with your current project, you’re welcome in this course.