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And although putting this into practice is almost as counter-culture as declaring you want to be an artist in America is in the first place, its power can be astonishingly liberating. Don’t write a novel Every time I sit down to write a novel, I get next to nothing done. If you try to control the outcome of your work too rigidly, it will become brittle and fall to pieces in your hands.This is really, really hard to accept, but if you can approach each day’s work with the simple goal in mind of growing your work—and by work, I don’t mean product, I mean practice—you will get further than you ever imagined.
Have you started a novel only to run out of steam halfway through?
Led by international best-selling authors and professors from The University of British Columbia’s world-renowned Creative Writing MFA program, this is part of a series of courses designed to take your novel from concept to completion.
It was this: the harder I worked it, the more it would back away from me.
Creative writing doesn’t want to be worked at, just as cakes don’t want you opening the oven door on them all the time, or animals don’t want you harassing them into submission, or children don’t want you to force feed them the rules for growth.
" The instructors review some common questions, worries and misconceptions about outlining.
Do I need to have started a novel to take this course? However, you should have one or more novel ideas that you wish to work on during this course.Outlining is a crucial step in the novel writing process, one that fuels creativity and prepares the writer to stay on track and avoid common pitfalls.Through hands-on weekly exercises with a focus on craft and process, as well as insights from the real-world practices of accomplished authors, this course explores the core elements of fiction writing necessary to build an outline.The course is recommended for professional and aspiring writers, writing groups, participants in Na No Wri Mo, teachers and anyone who has ever dreamed of writing a novel. Each week, we'll present video lessons created by UBC Creative Writing Professors Annabel Lyon & Nancy Lee, along with readings, video interviews with other authors, assignments and the opportunity to discuss your work with the other learners in the class.Sample course material: "What Goes on the First page?Still, like any good academic, I tried for years to work at my writing the same way I’d worked at anything. When that didn’t work, I looked to experts, who told me that I needed to write for about the same time every day in the same place, or that I should seriously consider getting an MFA, or that I should seriously consider not getting an MFA, or who told me that only the most talented writers could succeed, or that true creative talent would never realize any kind of commercial success, or who told me I was too young, or too old.It’s no wonder that in looking for others to tell me how I needed to be, I got into the habit of showing up to my writing at the same time in the same place and freeze.You can bake a cake or tame an animal or raise a child under these circumstances, but it will emerge tragically deflated, a poor approximation of what it might have been.So here are my non-rules for writing, arrived at after trying every other rule under the sun and realizing that, at the end of the day, your writing process must be as free and thoughtful as you wish your writing products to be.Worse, we will miss out on that sweet, profound middle ground in which most of life flourishes.Not giving up when the going is ho-hum and uneventful for days or months or years is one of the sweetest joys alive, not because of the tantalizing reward that waits forever in the distance, but because of the complexity and intimacy that develops when kindness, humor, and good intentions are invested in a craft or purpose or person that constantly requires the best of you. Writing doesn’t always look like writing About 80 percent of the writing I do looks nothing like writing.