Fiction 1: Novel Structure

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Fiction 1: Novel Structure

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E.L. Doctorow once said: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” But why does it always seem like you end up crashed or lost somewhere in that endless fog of your first draft? Perhaps you’ve done it a few times. The pile of abandoned, unfinished novel manuscripts grows.

This course is here to give you a plan to get to the end. Bring your plot that needs doctoring or a germinating idea-seed and leave with a complete novel outline, woven with all the most important ingredients for successful stories.

Each week, we will take a microscope to a single slice of the grand plot of a novel, looking at what is expected, necessary, and common for that stage across several established story structures. Students will use these lessons to write their own novel outline, week-by-week, step-by-step. They'll continually share their progress for critique, suggestions, and guidance until they have a robust plan for a novel, from the opening scene to the ending. This course is open to students of all experience levels, so long as they're up to the challenge described above.

  • Instructor: Keith Potempa

  • Length of workshop: 6 weeks

  • Date: Mondays, Jan. 14 - Feb. 18

  • Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

  • Location: Porch HQ
    2811 Dogwood Pl.
    Nashville, TN 37204

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Keith R. Potempa holds an M.F.A. in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Program, where he studied under Hugo and Bram Stoker award winning authors. Keith has completed three novels to date in the genres of literary, young adult, and heroic fantasy. He is currently seeking representation. His short fiction has appeared in several small-press publications including Hair Trigger and Storyteller. Keith currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, the burlesque headmistress and performer, Freya West. He also serves as a teaching artist in Watkins College's Community Education program.