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Featured Online Novel Outlining Class

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL WITH EASE by Melanie Faith

START DATE: Friday, September 1, 2017

END DATE: Friday, October 6, 2017

DURATION: 5 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: There are two kinds of novel writers: pantsers, who begin without pre-writing, and planners, who plot and brainstorm ahead of time. While pantsing can be fun, it frequently ends with a jumbled narrative. In this five-week workshop, we’ll explore numerous writing exercises that will lead to a well-thought-out novel before you jump into your first chapter. We will try different types of outlining methods and brainstorming via our two class texts, which are companion volumes: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success and Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book, both by K.M. Weiland. Students will submit exercises weekly for constructive and supportive instructor feedback. There will be a private group for students to discuss the literary life and for sharing of literary resources, such as markets and quotations about the writing process. Topics covered will include: Misconceptions about Outlining; Choosing the Best Outlining Method for You; Different Types of Outlines; Unconventional Outlines; Crafting Your Premise; General Sketches; The Scene; List; How to Write Backstory; Discovering Your Setting; What Point of View Will You Write from?; Strengthen Your Story with Proper Framing, and much more.

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program. I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

Melanie has been a total joy as a teacher and guide. I found her feedback, critiques, and comments to be extraordinarily helpful and insightful. And the daily prompts and positive reinforcement made this writing class a wonderful experience! ~ Mary Purdy

Melanie’s class taught me economy of words by using strong verbs and nouns, implying and showing rather than telling, and exploring topics outside of my comfort zone. Her feedback is prompt, detailed and constructive. ~ Rajni Gupta

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

WEEKS AT A GLANCE:

Duration: (5 weeks) Friday, September 1, 2017 - Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday, September 8, 15, 22, 29, and October 6, 2017 (student exercises due for instructor comments)

Week One: Why You Should Outline; Misconceptions about Outlining; Choosing the Best Outlining Method for You; Different Types of Outlines; Unconventional Outlines.

Outlining Your Novel Reading:

  • Introduction, Chapter One: “Should You Outline?”; Chapter Two: “Before You Begin Your Outline,” pages 13-43.

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Reading:

  • Chapter Seven: “Unconventional Outlines,” pages 119-131.

Assignment: Pick two of the exercises from the workbook’s Chapter Seven and complete OR jot a list of your protagonist’s attributes and goals (approximately one or two pages).

Week Two: Crafting Your Premise; What-If Questions; What the Premise Sentence Does; How to Brainstorm; General Sketches; the Scene List; Connecting the Dots.

Outlining Your Novel Reading:

  • Chapter Three: “Crafting Your Premise” and Chapter Four: “General Sketches, Pt. 1, Connecting the Dots,” pages 47-72.

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Reading:

  • Chapter One: “Premise” and Chapter Two: “General Sketches,” pages 11-56.

Assignment: Pick two of the exercises from the workbook’s first chapter and two from the workbook’s second chapter to complete.

Week Three: Character Sketches, Exploring Backstory; Using Your Inciting Event as a Launch Pad; How to Write Backstory; Exploration of Influencing Characters; Character Interviews.

Outlining Your Novel Reading:

  • Chapter Six: “Character Sketches, Pt. 1: Exploring Backstory” and Chapter Seven: “Character Sketches, Pt. 2: Character Interviews,” pages 99-124.

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Reading:

  • Chapter Four: “Character Sketches, Interviews,” pages 67-89.

Assignment: Pick two of the exercises from the workbook’s fourth chapter to complete.

Week Four: Discovering Your Setting; Is Your Setting Inherent to Your Story?; Does Your Setting Affect the Mood?; Are You Using Too Many Settings?; World Building.

Outlining Your Novel Reading:

  • Chapter Eight: “Discovering Your Setting,” pages 127-135.

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Reading:

  • Chapter Five: “Setting,” pages 91-101.

Assignment: Choose two of the exercises from the workbook’s fifth chapter to complete.

Week Five: Creating a Story; What Kind of Story are You Writing?; What Point of View Will You Write From?; Play Around with Voice and Tense; Three Fundamental Elements of Story; Strengthen Your Story with Proper Framing; Dividing Your Story into Chapters and Scenes; Keep Readers Reading.

Outlining Your Novel Reading:

  • Chapter None: “Extended Outline: Creating a Story,” and Chapter Ten: “The Abbreviated Outline,” pages 139-171.

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Reading:

  • Chapter Six: “The Extended Outline,” pages 103-118.

Assignment: Choose two exercises from the workbook’s sixth chapter to complete OR redo any two exercises from previous chapters that you’d like to either add more to or change details on, now that you’ve thought through more of the story you’d like to write.

Materials needed: Students will need copies of: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success and Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book by K.M. Weiland (Pen for a Sword, 2011 and 2014). These texts are currently available in print and online at Amazon and other bookstores.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Melanie Faith holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Her historical poetry collection, This Passing Fever, set in 1918’s influenza epidemic, will be published from FutureCycle Press in 2017, and a Regency historical novella will also be published by Uncial Press in late 2017. Her writing has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and most recently published in After the Pause (March 2016), Contemporary Haibun Online (2016, 2015), The Sandy River Review, The Writer's Monthly Review Magazine, and Embodied Effigies. Her flash fiction, “The Slades,” placed honorable mention in the 2014 Bevel Summers Prize for the Short Short Story and was published in Shenandoah (Washington and Lee University). In addition to numerous photography publications in 2016 and 2017, her instructional articles about creative writing techniques have appeared in The Writer and Writers' Journal, among others.

COST:  $185, which includes e-mail critique and positive feedback on student writing, and access to a private group for student interactions.

BUY NOW:  Outline Your Novel with Ease by Melanie Faith (5 weeks, starting 9/1/2017) Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.

This class is now closed. Please check here for our current schedule.

Notes: Upon successful completion of payment, your name, email address, and contact info will be submitted to your instructor. She will contact you via email so you can get started.

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Additional Testimonials for Melanie Faith:

I took the nature writing class a few weeks ago and it was one of the best courses I've even taken. Melanie Faith is an excellent instructor. ~ Jean Forsythe

Your course has jump-started me back into writing. I have missed it. Thank you. ~ Melissa Healy

Melanie Faith’s “Spark and Sizzle Flash Fiction Class” lives up to its title. The sample stories provided were examples of good writing and served as models. Melanie’s prompts came at a rapid pace and kept my pen on the page every day. Her critique comments were sharp and encouraging and challenged me to be the best writer I could be. She is easily available for questions or discussions during and after her classes via her personal email. This is the third class I’ve taken with Melanie and I am looking forward to taking many more in the future. ~ Renee Cassese

Melanie knows how to offer on-the-mark suggestions for writing improvement while also being extremely encouraging (and a joy to work with). I've taken many classes with her, including the flash class, and I plan on taking many more. ~ Marilyn Fahey

Melanie has always shown great insight into my work. Often times, she is able to pull out deeper meanings, that even I wasn't consciously aware of while writing. Her constructive criticism has moved my writing into new directions. I find that I feel more confident and prepared as a writer by having her constant editing eye. I respect that she critiques my poetry honestly, letting me know areas that are weak as well as strong points. I wouldn't be able to grow as a writer if she always told me my poems were great. It's from her perspective of my work that I grow. I enjoy learning through her and appreciate her sharing tricks of the trade that she learned in her masters program.

I'm thankful to know Melanie and hope we remain friends and a poetry support system for the rest of our lives. She's the type of person and writer that anyone would feel lucky to know. She is a great mentor and holds a wealth of knowledge in the written language. Her achievements and constant pursuit as a writer inspire so many. Her determination and skill will go very far and I suspect she'll leave a lasting imprint in the written world. She already has. ~ Courtney Burger

The course was great. I did not want it to end. I have taken several college level creative writing courses, as well as, attended many writer’s workshops, but I have enjoyed this course the most. I really appreciated that Melanie would also critique our re-writes which was very, very helpful. This course has really helped to motivate me creatively. ~ Barb Cramer

Melanie demonstrates particular qualities in a writing teacher/coach that I would recommend for anyone looking for focused attention to help move their writing forward.

I had not taken an on-line course previously, and didn't know what to expect, but Melanie melted the distance, was always accessible, and never missed a beat with out on-line communication. I always felt like I had Melanie right here around my writing table, or knocking on my door saying—“I had a few thoughts..." She provided a wealth of resources and provided us with course materials that were tuned to our course level.

Her insight into my work, in terms of critique, were extremely thoughtful, thorough, and eye-opening. I feel that working with Melanie has allowed me to be braver with my writing and editing—as she was supportive of experimentation and taking chances with style, vocabulary, and theme. She provides serious critique in an atmosphere that, well, just makes me want to keep on writing!” ~ Mary Ellen Sanger

I have taken three courses from Melanie and in each course I grow tremendously as a writer. The texts she uses as well as the handouts and daily writing prompts all contribute to what she refers to as “the writing life” and in her courses that’s exactly what it becomes. Her comments on the pieces go way beyond grammar and punctuation. She delves into the content and clarifies what is good and what can be adjusted to make the piece stronger. I can tell she spends time reading what I write and is prompt in returning the assignments so I always have plenty of time for revision. She treats me, and everyone in the class, like a writer. Her classes are a joy. If there is a course offered by Melanie and I can fit it in, I always take it. ~ Holly Helscher

I have the normal anxiousness of sharing my work while so excited to have Melanie Faith’s critical eye read my writing. It is always reviewed with an eye to improvement and an eye to the thoughts the words contain. This is the first computer class I have ever taken and want to take many more. I also look forward to many more classes with Melanie Faith. ~ Benita Cervantes

Because I love memoir writing, I have taken two memoir/personal essay classes from Melanie. I can’t believe this, but because I enjoy the teacher herself and her method of teaching so much, I’ve even taken a poetry-writing class. I’ve always steered away from writing poetry of any kind ever since I wrote a poem in college (an assignment, not a by-choice piece) and the class laughed because I wrote about a controversial topic and was so naïve that I didn’t even know it was controversial. Every time I’d mention to Melanie that I’d never write a poem, she’d encourage me to take her class, assuring me that I’d be successful. I took the class, and sure enough, I was successful, thanks to Melanie’s velvet critiquing, encouraging comments, and thoughtful suggestions, many times seeing in my writing what I couldn’t see for myself.

I have to rein myself in every time I see in the WOW classes list that Melanie is teaching another essay class. And why is this? In all of my education (B.A. in English and M.A. in English), I never took a writing class. When I was in college, writing was taught only in Freshman English; after that class, we were just expected to know how to write. I learned to teach writing myself by reading books about writing. How refreshing and educational to find a teacher/mentor who exhibits the characteristics that I know an excellent writing teacher has: the creativity to come up with topics that students want to write about, the ability to critique without finding fault, the desire to encourage students to keep on writing even when the juices aren’t flowing. Believe me . . . she’s an excellent teacher. In addition, she became my friend through being my teacher. To be a friend AND a teacher takes real talent. ~ Sandy Young

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Questions? Email Marcia & Angela at:
classroom[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com


 

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