Monday, December 22, 2014

Information for the Two Year Novel Course

If you find you are interested in the class simply join Forward Motion for Writers, which is a free site, and then sign up for the class, which is also free. Below is both the overview and the introduction to the class so you can get an idea of what is going on:


I began the first Two Year Novel Course at Forward Motion in January, 2004. The course covered writing a novel from the very first idea all the way through submission (or later, for Indie Authors -- all the way to publication). I filled the course with information to help people at every step, and while new writers often found it useful, even those who had written a few novels discovered things of benefit as they shifted their thinking for newer projects.

There are eight sections in all:

Basics: Weeks 1-5

Characters: Weeks 6-13

World building: Weeks 14-25

Outlines: Weeks 26-33

Writing the First Draft: Weeks 34-65

Editing -Second Draft: Weeks 66 -77

Editing - Final Draft: Weeks 78 - 88

Submission and Publication: Weeks 89 - 104

Whether you are looking at Indie (self) Publishing or pursuing traditional publication, the path through the artistic aspects of creating a novel are virtually identical, as is the editing work (which is still an act of creativity in its own way). I have tried to indicate where there might be aspects to consider differently, but these classes are aimed at anyone writing.

There are a total of 104 classes. Each class includes a 'lecture' plus an assignment and examples. Some lectures are short and others are quite long. Not everything will help you, and certainly not everything will help with every book you write. However, the more authors are willing to look outside their usual patterns, the more likely they are to find the spark to write something new and different.

Introduction to the 2YN Course

I can't teach you to be a great writer.

I can, however, show you the one thing I'm very good at, which is moving through a story from start to finish. I can point out things which might help you in your goal to be a successful writer. However, in the end, you have to do the work.

I can show you how to take hold of your imagination and let it help you write the book that is there in your head, ready to be told. I can show you some tricks to writing a good book which might have a better chance of drawing the attention of an editor or -- essential for Indie Authors -- those crucial first readers who will spread the word about your new release.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed. You have to do the work. You have to be willing to learn and to experiment.

Starting in 2015, I am presenting the class in a different way.  Prior to this, the classes were posted one at a time over the weekend.  This year I have posted all 104 classes ahead of time so that you can go through them at your own speed. However I strongly suggest you read all the classes in order and do the exercises, no matter if you think something applies to you or not.   You will still be posting your material in the same way as previous classes.  You may want to join up with others (especially in your own genre) to comment on each other's work.  With small groups, you have a better chance of nudging each other forward.  You can form these groups by putting up a notice on the General Discussion board.

For the next two years, if you follow the course the way I originally planned it, you will work your way through the process of writing of a novel. Depending on the genre you work in, by the end you will have written between 80,000 and 150,000 words. If you dedicate yourself to doing the work, you will have also edited the work and either begun the process of submitting the material to send to agents or publishers, or will be preparing it for publication.

This is not going to be a fast romp through the work of writing a book. The 2YN course will be easy for some of you and more difficult for others, but I hope you will all learn something helpful -- if nothing more than knowing some of the suggestions don't work for you.

This is, by the way, an important aspect to learn about your own writing. Sometimes forcing yourself to try to write to someone else's perfect method is a good way to kill even the most inspired story. Here is the most important thing we all have to remember in this class:

No two writers are alike.

So why should I teach this class? I'm not the best novelist in the world, but I do know how to start, continue and complete a novel, as well as how to move on to rewrites and editing. The act of writing is one of my strong points, and I believe I can help others refine the way they work, look at new ways to approach novel writing, and find the best pattern to help them continue writing to the end of a project.

This set of classes is as much about dedication, direction and exploration as it about writing. By joining in, you are committing to follow through from the first idea to the end of the novel.

You're about to start an adventure. Good luck, and remember to have fun.

What you need for this course

What you need for this course is a love of writing, an idea you want to explore, and the determination to see it all the way through to a finished novel.

I suggest you get a three ring binder and tab inserts to show the different sections (Basics, Characters, etc.). You can print or hand write your assignments and keep them in the notebook. Having the notebook will be an easy way to reference the material throughout the class. You can also keep the material in files, of course, but just make certain that the pieces you create are easy to access.

Do not skip classes

I also strongly suggest you do all the classes, even if you're not sure how it might work into your current novel -- and especially if it's something you haven't tried before. Writers should always be open to experimentation!

Most of all, remember to have fun. Don't let this course become 'work' that destroys the joy of creativity.

Here is what some people have said about the classes:

"When my urban fantasy novel Quarter Square was published by Carina Press, the first person I thanked on my acknowledgements page was Lazette Gifford, for it was on one of Zette's excellent Two Year Novel courses that the book was conceived, born and nurtured." David Bridger

"The Two Year Novel Course got me thinking about my story in ways I'd never considered before - ways that deepened and enriched my story. I even gained a main character who is vital to the story from one week's exercise." Wandering Author (Member of Forward Motion)

"Without Lazette Gifford's 2YN course I wouldn't have discovered my ideal writing process. Having taken the course, the first drafts of my novels now come out with a lot less struggle." Alex Fayle

"From world building to curse words to the food your characters eat, Lazette Gifford's 2YN courses take the monumental task of creating a believable world and breaks it down into bite-sized chunks. For anyone who thinks they don't have the time to write, this course can show you a manageable way to get words onto paper." AJ Maguire


No comments: