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  What This Course is About

This course is designed for the writer with a life — you have other activities that you're committed to in addition to writing

In our 30-Day Writing Challenge, we will help you think and write through the steps to create your novel – from character development to plot structure to story themes and world building — so that you can start NaNoWriMo prepared.

We run the class via weekly email reminders and this home study/self-paced course full of lessons, video and audio.

You can ask questions and get a reply back inside this course.

As benefit to all our students at Barany School of Fiction, we offer a peer Facebook group -- Fellowship of the Pen -- to build community and connect with your fellow writers for support and accountability.

Every October, we also run this course live with weekly meeting webinars and lots of hands-on support -- registration is separate.

Who is this course for?

For: Experienced writers or ambitious writers who want to plan their novel in an organic or step-by-step way, so that on Nov. 1st you can start writing it alongside the NaNoWriMo.org crowd.

This course is designed for the writer with a life — you have other activities that you're committed to in addition to writing.

We know that.

We know you're busy with other obligations AND you want to be writing. Well, you can, in small, manageable bite-sized pieces. Each activity can be done in as little as 15-20 minutes. You can plan your novel in a way that fits into your life. We know, because we've done it, multiple times!

With this course, you'll be able to:

  • Plan your novel
  • Step into a sense of satisfaction and creative accomplishment
  • Get excited for NaNoWriMo
  • Believe that you can write a novel

What can you expect: You'll put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and write while you think, in specific ways, with specific focuses. Words will pile up, along with ideas, story questions, and scenes.

You'll be invited to read short lessons, watch some video or listen to the lessons, then write— put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and actually do some thinking of your story on the page.

This class is good for you:

  • If you have never written a novel, and have always wanted to, and still feel lost on how to go from brilliant idea to The End, then you will be stretched in new and different ways.
  • If you're an experienced novelist, with 1 or 2 completed or partially completed novels under your bed. You may find this course structured in a way that's new to you and yet familiar.
  • If you have 5 or more unfinished novels sitting in a drawer, and always hit that sagging middle and lose focus or lose interest, this course will help you dream up exciting ways to torture, I mean challenge, your characters all the way to the resolution of the story.

A 30-day course, structured so you can do it at your own pace.

Your time commitment: All told, if you follow the curriculum, you will probably spend 4–10 hours over the month to follow through on the assignments and exercises, all designed to help you plan your novel. Of course, some of you will spend less and some may spend more time on this course.

This course is designed with the understanding that you have a busy life, full of commitments — family, job, second job, pets, friends, and oh yeah, sleep.

This course covers:

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Week 1: Elevator Pitch & Short Synopsis We help you write the 1-2 paragraph story blurb, also know as the elevator pitch, that you can later use in a query letter. Next we cover the 5-6 paragraph story synopsis that can form the basis of a synopsis agents and editors request. We also touch on the story's theme and genre to help you have a better idea of the focus of your story and also your audience's expectations.

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Week 2: Get to Know Your Main Characters We cover getting to know your main characters. Great stories start with great characters that you love! We expand on the "10 Questions to Ask Your Characters" tip sheet (PDF) that you got when you signed up for the course. We also have more character questions to share with you and special exercises to help you get to know your characters so you can bring them to life when you write your novel.

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Week 3: Story Plot & World Building We help you design the story's main plot points and get to know the world of your story better, in other words, world building. Plot comes from characters, from knowing your story world, and from asking some good questions. We help you design a plot that will keep readers at the edge of their seats turning pages deep into the night.

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Week 4: Scene-by-Scene Outline & Plotting We guide you through the final preparation step of building your story scene-by-scene. We help you create an organic outline from all the notes and thinking that have gone before and also provide tips on a more linear approach to plotting your story. Once you have completed this exercise, and all the ones before, you'll have a good sense of your entire story, and can sit down to write your novel with excitement and confidence.

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