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Open Book


Planning your novel: Welcome

‘I think I have a book in me, but I don’t know where to start’

Planning your novel: About

Course: Planning your novel

Format: one-to-one via email

Duration: six modules over six weeks

Course fee: R3 000

Suitable for: Writers who have some experience (or who have completed the Introduction to Creative Writing course) and who have an idea for a novel or short story. You will note that the content is similar to Introduction to Fiction Writing. The difference is that this course is designed for writers who have a project, so that assignments can be more accurately targeted.

Aim: To equip writers with the tools to make key preliminary decisions about their projects, and to build up the confidence to begin the writing process.

Overview: While it’s tempting to jump right in and start telling your story, you’ll save time and avoid unnecessary rewrites if you consider some important questions before you start. Over these sessions we explore the main components of storytelling as they relate to your project: genre, topic, themes, plot, character, dialogue, point of view, voice, setting and description.

What do you get? Each week, for six consecutive weeks, you will receive an emailed document containing instruction on the week’s topics and a project-related assignment for which you will receive written feedback.

How does it work?  The first module will be delivered on receipt of payment for the full course. When the first assignment is submitted, I will return the feedback within three days, along with the next module. Each subsequent module will be emailed as the previous module’s assignment is received.

How much time do you need to set aside for this course? Working through each module should take an hour or so. You will also need to set aside dedicated writing time for your book.

Course outline:

Week 1: Introduction: Why do you want to write this story? Who is it for? What is it about? Genre, topics, themes. Preparation, research, back stories, outlines, drafts.

Week 2: Plot and character: Who is your protagonist? What happens to him/her in this story?

Week 3: Voice and dialogue: First person or third? Setting mood and tone. The role of dialogue and how to make it authentic and effective.

Week 4: Point of view: Whose perspective is dominant? Can you switch PoV? How and when?

Week 5: Setting and description. How do you paint word pictures? How much detail is necessary?

Week 6: Beginnings and endings: Tried and tested options and one or two pitfalls.

Planning your novel: About
Planning your novel: Welcome
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