Pages On Fire:
Novel Writing From Start to Finish

This 8-week class at The Loft will meet on Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. from June 17 - August 12, 2009 (no class the week of Fourth of July). Below is a typical course description and syllabus for the 8-week time period.



You've pondered plot. You've dreamed up characters. The themes swirl in your head - but you've either gotten bogged down, or you've only written enough to know that you're lost in a forest. If a poem is like a single match in the dark, and a short story is a cheery campfire, then a novel is a raging forest fire. All that smoke, all those flames, so much size and complexity. Rather than be intimidated, jump into the fire with a guide who can help you.

This 8-week course will encourage you to launch into or continue a project. You'll get help with structure, plot, narrative, and the tricks not only for constructing a novel, but also for ways to navigate the immensity of such a long work. Using various craft handouts and the work of master writers, we'll examine issues of character, style, tone, voice, POV choices, and more. We'll workshop sections of student manuscripts and discuss tactics for keeping the work rolling. A master novelist will come in to talk with us as well.



PLEASE NOTE: This is the Finalized Syllabus
for the Summer 2009 Loft Course

Week 1: June 17
Introductions - Housekeeping issues - Brief comments about the goals of the course. Lori will provide a general outline of class with detailed syllabus to be distributed second week
Discussion of Blank Pagers v. Outliners with handout.
First Night Inventory completed
Discussion: Organizing a Manuscript, Flowchart handout
Brainstorming on Lecture subjects the students most want to help with
Schedule critiques which begin Week 2

Assignments for next week:
*** Go to Lori's Loft website ( and look at pages there, particularly about critiquing.
*** Write, if you're ready!
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Brianna & Angela

Week 2: June 24
Openings: Sentences, Paragraphs, Tone, Style
Discussion of Genres, Styles, and "Pop" v. "Literary"
Discussion: Structure, Outlining/Organizing/Other Tools, Storyboarding, Index-Carding, and generally Planning to Map Out the Completion of the Novel
Manuscript work: Brianna & Angela

Assignments for July 8: ***REMEMBER: No Class July 1st***
*** Read and Critique MS for for July 8th: Pat & Anne

Week 3: July 8
Discussion: Perspective, Point of View
Exercise: Psychic Distance
Manuscript work: Pat & Anne

Assignments for next week:
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Dean & Lynn & Rick

Week 4: July 15
Discussion: Plotting along with Scene-making, Continuity, Structure, Narrative
Manuscript work: Dean & Lynn & Rick

Assignments for next week:
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Bettyann & Ashley

Week 5: July 22
Guest Lecturer: Tate Hallaway a/k/a Lyda Morehouse
Discussion: Working through Drafts, Hints and Tips from an Author Published in Two Realms, and The Publishing Worldk
Manuscript work: Bettyann & Ashley

Assignments for next week:
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Rachel & Dan & Nico

Week 6: July 29
Discussion: Dialogue, Dialect, Interior Thought, Balancing Narrative and Dialogue/Action
Manuscript work: Rachel & Dan & Nico

Assignments for next week:
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Kristen & Charles & Jane
Week 7: August 5
Discussion: Endings, Pacing, Place/Setting, Tone, Voice
Manuscript work: Kristen & Charles & Jane
Plan for final week -- students brainstorm final questions to cover in the last class

Assignments for next week:
*** Read and Critique MS for Next Week: Michele & Heidi
*** Bring snacks if you like for the last class

Week 8: August 12
Discussion: Nuts & Bolts including Writer's Block, Research, Global Editing, Revisions, and Preparing Manuscripts for Submission
Discussion of ways to continue learning craft and technique on one's own-and in concert with others (in person or via the internet)
Manuscript work: Michele & Heidi
Final Questions and Answers

Assignments for the Future:
*** Keep Writing!


Your first draft is an exploration. You invent characters and you wonder what they'll do. You watch them, and they surprise you, delight you, maybe they shock you. You gather information, do research, generate scenes. You write it all down with a temporary disregard for logic, transitions, and grammatical conventions. In the process, you learn that the story you set out to write is not so interesting as the one that has emerged on the page. The purpose of exploration is discover, and what you discover in writing that first draft are character, structure, plot, theme, tone, setting. In short, you begin to discover what it is you have to say about what it is you're writing about. ~John Dufresne in The Lie That Tells A Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction

How you can reach me:

Phone: 651-210-8021
Mail: P.O. Box 290284, Minneapolis, MN. 55429
CLICK HERE: To visit the Lori L. Lake website

Last Updated 6-19-09
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