Nail Your Novel with Susan DeFreitas

You could spend 40K on an MFA—and hundreds more on books on craft—and still be in the dark with your novel. Or you could take this four-week class with Susan DeFreitas and nail it.

Your Instructor: Susan DeFreitas is the award-winning author of Hot Season, as well as an editor and certified book coach.

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: March 26, 2019 - April 23, 2019


Price: $325

Class Description

It’s a dirty little secret in the writing world: you can rack up $40K+ on an MFA, and/or read 40+ books on craft, and still have no idea how to write a publishable novel.

That’s because creative writing programs generally focus on the short story, which is easier to workshop—and because when most authors teach, whether in person or through their books on craft, they tend to teach their own method and structure, which may or may not work for you.

If you’re tired of wondering what you’re doing—and, frankly, tired of the BS—pull up a chair, crack open your laptop, and prepare yourself for a serious download. In the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the fundamental principles of publishable fiction, regardless of genre, and gain the tools to recognize when your novel meets the standards of the marketplace. Period.

Each student will leave this class with a fundamentally sound blueprint for their novel, developed and refined via feedback from the instructor and peers. Appropriate for writers at all levels, with manuscripts in any stage of completion.

What This Class Covers

Week One: Plot

A plot is not just a series of events—it’s a series of events with serious consequences for your protagonist. Topics covered in this lecture include:

• Ground situation and exposition
• Plot points and reversals
• Tension and stakes
• Plot vs. subplot
• The neuroscience of cause and effect, and why it matters
• Best practices for narrative drive

Assignment: Fill out the included worksheet and map the major events of your novel’s plot

Week Two: Character

Character is the heart of fiction, the key to its emotional quotient—and, ultimately, its significance in the reader’s mind. Topics covered in this lecture include:

• Character arc—what it is and what it isn’t
• Your protagonist’s backstory and internal issue
• Problems, obstacles, and changes
• Climax—the moment of truth
• The “inside game,” and why it’s the key to creating an emotional experience for your reader
• Best practices for POV

Assignment: Fill out the included worksheet and map your character arc onto your plot arc

Week Three: Goals and Motivations

The number one way to lose your reader: Allow them to lose track of what your characters want, and why they want it. Topics covered in this lecture include:

• Motivation and stakes
• Conflict, challenge, and pacing
• Action and reaction
• Lower-order goals vs. higher-order goals
• The neuroscience of desire—how understanding your character’s goals and motivations is key to your reader’s understanding of the story

Assignment: Fill out the goals and motivations worksheet and add notes to the emerging blueprint for your novel

Week Four: Fiction Fundamentals in Action

To illustrate how all of these principles work together—not in the abstract, but in practice—this two-part lecture takes the initial inspiration for two very different novels and shows how they can be developed in a way that meets the standards of the marketplace. Topics covered include:

• Starting with character vs. starting with concept
• Choosing the right plot for your character
• Choosing the right character for your plot
• Genre considerations
• Writing to your strengths
• Spontaneity vs. structure

Assignment: Revise your novel blueprint and submit it; your instructor will respond to this final submission with a page of written feedback designed to help you further refine it—and, ultimately, write the strongest novel possible.

Goals Of This Class

  • To teach the fundamental principles of publishable long-form fiction
  • To show these principles in action (and exactly how they apply to your work)
  • To cut through the BS!
  • To help you develop a fundamentally sound blueprint for your book, and, ultimately,
  • Nail your novel
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