Novel Writing Course Texts for Fall 2008

In case you were wondering what we were reading for the Novel Writing course, here are a list of texts.

We have two “How to Write” books:

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty (to be used during the NaNoWriMo experience)

and one novel: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

and two texts available online:

“The Bear Went Over the Mountain”–Alice Munro, a novella that became Away from Her, the movie

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Don’t worry about Bell’s text being from a suspense/thriller author’s point of view.  A) his points are valid and tips useful for whatever you might be writing and B) I’ll be supplementing his tips with advice from a literary standpoint too.  This class is approachable then from both a popular and literary fiction standpoint.  Storytelling is basically the same in either camp–it’s just whether you want to take a canoe down the river or shoot the rapids in a kayak.

Most of the novel/novella reading we’ll do in September and October, leaving you November to write the first draft. If you want to read ahead, feel free. The Munro piece is small, and the Fitzgerald novel is thin. But they balance out the types of novels/novellas we’re looking at closely, so that students can choose the type of novel they want to write knowing that we’ve looked closely at several types.

Please contact me at if you have any questions about the course.