The Last Page with Emily Schultz

How do you revive a stalled story? How do know you're done? How do you write that dreaded synopsis? What's next? Emily Schultz, whom Stephen King declared 'my new hero', is here to help.

Your Instructor: Emily Schutlz, author of 'The Blondes' and co-founder of Joyland

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: November 1, 2017 - November 29, 2017

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $325

Class Description

'Starting your novel' is well-covered territory in the realm of workshops. 

What about finishing? 

How do you revive a stalled story? 

How do you know when you're done? 

How do you write the dreaded synopsis that so many agents and publishers ask for? 

Welcome to The Last Page with Emily Schultz. Emily is the author of the acclaimed novel The Blondes—currently in development at AMC Networks' streaming service Shudder—and co-founder of the literary journal Joyland. As a freelance editor she has edited over 200 books, from literary fiction to mobster biographies. Her writing has been profiled in the Los Angeles Times, EW, Washington Post, NPR Radio, and the Guardian.

And she's here to help you get over the finish line. 

This four-week workshop is a mix of lectures and exercises that will help you move with confidence to the next step of your publishing journey. It's a mix of craft (like writing a bulletproof synopsis) and the business end (you will be Googled before you get read).  

In order to get the most out of this workshop, you should have a complete or partially-finished draft of a novel, and a working synopsis. 

What This Class Covers

Week 1

The Lost Premise

Something sparked your imagination and got you started, but now you’re not sure the idea is developed enough. We’ll discuss how to find it and how a premise can help guide you through uncertain moments and give your characters purpose.

What draws audiences to very popular genres is the simplicity of their premise. For example, in Batman the premise might be: “Revenge is not justice.” But a premise can be very nuanced. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles it could be: “The modern world hypocritically demands and destroys purity.”

Most authors never set out with a premise but all of us need to discover it along the way.

Assignment 1: In one line, what is your book about? Sounds like a simple assignment, but it isn’t. Your book has a core thematic idea that has nothing to do with plot, complications, style, or setting.

Assignment 2: A synopsis is all about plot, complications, style, and setting. Post your synopsis and we’ll workshop it to be back cover-worthy.

Both these assignments will get us familiar with each other’s projects.

Week 2

Start with a Scalpel, End with a Hatchet

At the end of the writing process everything comes fast because by that time you are an expert on your novel, its characters, and dimensions. You know what’s important to the story. But as you look back at the beginning you have to start asking editorial questions. Is everything necessary? After all, a beginning of a book is an author searching and learning the story and this can severely affect pacing.

Assignment: Turn your first 30 pages into 20. Don’t think of this as a permanent act but an experiment: how light you can make your first act? How quick can you invite the reader into the story?

Week 3

Slow the F--- Down

Did you set out to write 300 pages and stall at 120? Or maybe you wrote 300 but it still feels like something is missing. While we continue to work on the previous assignment, this week’s lecture and discussion will look at the opposite: how to stretch out and make your narrative live longer.

Week 4

After the Last Page

If you submit work to an agent or publisher you will be Googled before you are read. What they find matters and there are ways to strengthen your online life before you query. 

This lecture will address the basics of audience building and social media presence.

Assignment: Google yourself and post the first five links. We’ll look at each to see where you can improve and how to better position yourself while you’re querying agents and publishers.

Goals Of This Class

  • Nail your premise (you're going to need it for the elevator pitch)
  • Write a synopsis that's worthy of a back cover
  • Ask the right editorial questions for your work
  • Learn how to kill your darlings and really edit with a scalpel
  • Find ways to expand your story (word count is often king)
  • Learn ways to improve what pops up when you get Googled
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