Year of the Novel – Phase One: Writing the bones

Emily Maguire

Phase One: 8 x Tuesday evenings: 5, 12, 19, 26 February; 5, 12, 19, 26 March, 6:30-9:30pm

Full Price: $880

Member: $615

Conc Member: $530

Over eight weeks, acclaimed author Emily Maguire will give you the tools, support and encouragement you need to plan, write and edit your novel.

In the Phase One, we’ll work on getting the bare bones of your novel down on paper (or screen). We’ll talk about generating ideas and planning, and look at the basic elements of fiction – point of view, voice, narration, character, plot, dialogue and setting.

Throughout, Emily will use examples from classic and contemporary fiction and from students’ work-in-progress to explore the topics covered, and guest speakers will share their insights to further expand your understanding of how published writers do what they do.

You should come to the first class with a specific work-in-progress or idea for a novel. Sharing and discussion will be encouraged, and there will be ample opportunity for you to speak to the group about how various techniques and lessons may be applicable to your specific project, however, one-on-one detailed feedback from the tutor will be limited.

(Please note that while the three phases are designed to build on each other, each may also be taken as a stand-alone unit.)

Phase One: Writing the bones

  1. Introduction & planning

Setting goals, creating structure, identifying obstacles & figuring out ways to get past them.

  1. Inspiration

Generating ideas, re-invigorating memories, stealing from life, stealing from history and making the old and tired, vigorous and new.

  1. Story and plot

The difference between story and plot, and how you can make one into the other.

  1. Character

In this session we’ll discuss what makes a character complex and compelling and what you can do to make you character as alive on the page as s/he is in your head.

  1. Point of View & Voice

We’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of first, second and third POV, and which works best in what circumstances. We’ll also consider the relationship between POV and voice.

  1. Showing and telling

Beginner writers are often told to ‘show, not tell’, but it’s not as simple as that. This week we’ll talk about the difference between showing and telling, and how to get the balance right.

  1. Dialogue

Dialogue is an essential tool in both characterisation and plot development. We’ll discuss how brilliantly written dialogue can make your characters more believable, your plot more suspenseful and the world of your novel more vibrant.

  1. Setting

Using the details of time and place to create atmosphere and solidify your invented world.

Participant Requirements

Pen and paper or preferred device for writing. Please ensure your device is charged.

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