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“The Novelist’s Toolbox” Class Package

November 1, 2023 6:30 PM - November 29, 2023 9:30 PM CDT

$236.00 – $476.00

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$236 for members

$476 for nonmembers

Learn the practical tools that will help you write a novel from start to finish.

This class package aims to equip writers with the practical tools to take on the novel writing process and finish it. From the pre-planning stages of novel writing, including outlines and character studies, to conducting research and finding the right balance for it in your writing, to understanding structure and plotting, and finally, how to edit your own work, these four classes will set you up for success as you embark on a new novel project.

In addition, everyone who purchases the package will be invited to an exclusive class package meet-up on Saturday, November 4, from 9:00-10:00 AM CDT, a great opportunity to connect with fellow writers as you enjoy this shared experience.

Each class can be purchased individually by clicking on the class title.

Can’t make it to every class? No worries! All registrants will have access to the class recordings for the duration of the package, plus an additional month.


“Prep Your Novel” with Alex Temblador

Wednesday, November 1, 2023, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM CDT

This class will put writers on the right path to starting a new novel.

By breaking down the major elements of writing a novel – characters, setting, research, plot, character development, outlines, and planning, this class aims to put writers on the path to success as they set out on beginning a new book. Attendees will undergo a large variety of exercises that will involve making lists, crafting scenes, creating outlines, and more. Each exercise is intended to help writers know everything they can about their book before they begin writing. By the end of the class, you’ll know your characters and the story line more intimately, as well as have the outlines, research, and information needed to sit down, write a novel, and finish it.

Alex Temblador is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Casa Rosada and Half Outlaw. Her forthcoming non-fiction craft writing book, Writing an Identity Not Your Own, will be published by St. Martin’s Essentials on August 13, 2024. She has an essay in Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America and a short story in Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology. Based in Dallas, Texas, Alex runs the literary panel series called LitTalk.


“Researching Your Novel: How to Do It and When to Stop” with James Wade

Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM CST

Learn how to successfully conduct research for your novel.

Research is vital to a novel’s accuracy, sense of place, and overall tone. But writers often get stuck or overwhelmed with the amount of information available. The key to success is striking a balance between research and writing, and knowing when one should take precedent over the other. With a world of information at our disposal, this class will help you find the best sources, decide what material is most important, and know when to move on to the writing phase of your project. We’ll go through the process step-by-step to see the various roles research plays from a novel’s inception to its completion.

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of River, Sing Out, and Beasts of the Earth (winner of the 2023 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel) as well as the critically-acclaimed debut novel All Things Left Wild (winner of the MPIBA Reading the West Award for Debut Fiction, and the Spur Award for Best Historical Novel). James’s work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and his novels have been featured by publications such as PopSugar, BookBub, Deep South Magazine, and the New York Journal of Books. James is currently working on his fourth novel, Hollow Out the Dark, coming 2024 from Blackstone Publishing.


“Plotting Your Novel in Three Acts” with Amy Gentry

Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM CST

If you’ve read a novel written in the past 200 years (not to mention seen a movie), chances are you’ve already internalized 3-act structure. But are you deploying it effectively in your own work?

Novels written without a strong understanding of 3-act structure often feel disjointed, saggy in the middle, or lacking in focus. Others never get finished at all! Some writers worry that 3-act structure will make their novels “formulaic.” But plot is the grammar of story, and studying 3-act structure is like learning to identify the noun and the verb in a complete sentence.

The key to using it to strengthen a novel without flattening it out is understanding the relationships between the basic story beats (aka plot points). Once you’ve internalized these relationships, you can use them to diagnose issues with pacing and character, as well as untangling your plot. The best part? With a solid understanding of 3-act structure, you can often find solutions to these problems, already buried in your story.

Using a modified version of the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet as a jumping off point, this class will focus on understanding story structure, strengthening the relationships between story beats, and harnessing the infinite flexibility of 3-act structure to plot your novel.

Amy Gentry is the bestselling author of the thrillers Good as Gone, Last Woman Standing, and Bad Habits, as well as a book of music criticism, Tori Amos’s Boys for Pele, for Bloomsbury Press’s 33 1/3 series. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, Texas Monthly, Austin Chronicle, The Best Food Writing of 2014, and many other outlets. She holds a PhD in English and is a teacher and book coach in Austin, Texas.


“From Begun to Done: How to Edit Your Own Writing” with Sara Kocek

Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM CST

Before you invest in professional editing, you can and should put your manuscript through the wringer on your own, using the same tried and true techniques that editors use.

Writing to the end of your first draft exposes all the problems with your dazzling beginning—underdeveloped characters, loose ends in the plot, weaknesses in the world-building, and clunky, stilted dialogue. That’s when you need to hire an editor, right? Wrong. (That comes later.) Before you invest in professional editing, you can and should put your manuscript through the wringer on your own, using the same tried and true techniques that editors use.

This fun, fast-paced class will use a combination of lecture, writing exercises, and peer-to-peer workshop to cover common revision issues such as scene construction, pacing, dialogue, point-of-view, and the eternal problem of too-much exposition. No matter your genre, learn how to read and revise your own work the way a professional editor would: by scrubbing it clean of the top ten problems afflicting most first drafts.

Sara Kocek is the author of Promise Me Something (Albert Whitman, 2013) and the founder of Yellow Bird Editors, an Austin-based collective of independent editors and writing coaches. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, where she taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates and worked as a full-time editorial intern at Random House and Penguin. Prior to pursuing her MFA, Sara graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale University, where she worked as Writing Fellow, tutoring undergraduate and graduate students in academic and creative writing.

Instructors

Alex Temblador is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Casa Rosada and Half Outlaw. Her forthcoming non-fiction craft writing book, Writing an Identity Not Your Own, will be published by St. Martin’s Essentials on August 13, 2024. She has an essay in Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America and a short story in Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology. Based in Dallas, Texas, Alex runs the literary panel series called LitTalk.
James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of River, Sing Out, and Beasts of the Earth (winner of the 2023 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel) as well as the critically-acclaimed debut novel All Things Left Wild (winner of the MPIBA Reading the West Award for Debut Fiction, and the Spur Award for Best Historical Novel). James's work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, and his novels have been featured by publications such as PopSugar, BookBub, Deep South Magazine, and the New York Journal of Books. James is currently working on his fourth novel, Hollow Out the Dark, coming 2024 from Blackstone Publishing.
Amy Gentry headshotAmy Gentry is the bestselling author of the thrillers Good as Gone, Last Woman Standing, and Bad Habits, as well as a book of music criticism, Tori Amos's Boys for Pele, for Bloomsbury Press's 33 1/3 series. Her reviews and essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon.com, Texas Monthly, Austin Chronicle, The Best Food Writing of 2014, and many other outlets. She holds a PhD in English and is a teacher and book coach in Austin, Texas.
Sara Kocek is the author of Promise Me Something (Albert Whitman, 2013) and the founder of Yellow Bird Editors, an Austin-based collective of independent editors and writing coaches. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, where she taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates and worked as a full-time editorial intern at Random House and Penguin. Prior to pursuing her MFA, Sara graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale University, where she worked as Writing Fellow, tutoring undergraduate and graduate students in academic and creative writing.

Before purchasing, please read all policies as noted below and on our Classes page.

If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click here for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it. If you prefer this option, please email wlt@writersleague.org with a copy of the form as well to ensure we add you to the class roster as soon as possible.

Expecting to see the member price, but it’s not appearing?

Confirm you are logged into your account first and foremost. The member price will only appear when you are logged into your account and have an active membership on file. If you are having trouble accessing your account, please email member@writersleague.org and explain the situation.

Class & Event Registration Policy

Once a purchase has been made, registrations are not refundable and cannot be transferred to a different class or event. No exceptions will be made. If you purchase a registration and then find you cannot attend the class or event, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at wlt@writersleague.org and let us know the name and contact information for the person who will be using the registration so that we can update the class or event roster.

Accessibility Policy

Closed captioning is available for all online classes and special events.

The WLT is committed to making its programs & services accessible to all writers. Please contact us at wlt@writersleague.org or at 512-499-8914 for more information or to discuss accommodations you may need.

Credit Card Transaction Handling Fee Policy

All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee. If you’d prefer to pay by check for membership, a class, or an event, you can use the provided forms on the membership or event pages and mail to: WLT, P.O. Box 14355, Austin, TX, 78704.

HOW WLT CLASSES WORK:

Our classes offer a combination of lecture and practical exercises, determined by the individual instructor, on focused aspects of the craft and business of writing. Your fellow participants will come from a range of writing experience, from beginners to people with MFA degrees and published books. WLT instructors, participants, and administrators all work together to create a welcoming, supportive environment.

If you haven’t taken a class with us in recent years, feel free to email the WLT staff at wlt@writersleague.org if you’d like to discuss whether our programming is the right fit for your needs.

HOW ONLINE CLASSES WORK:

Once you register for the class, you’ll receive an email with detailed instructions no later than 48 hours before the class date. You should expect 2-2.5 hours of direct teaching and 30 minutes of Q&A (for three hours total). If you need to leave the class early or can’t attend the class on that date, all registrants will have access to the recording for one month after the class date. No microphone or camera required, just an Internet connection capable of streaming video. All online classes are hosted on Zoom. To learn more about how Zoom works, click HERE. 

Plan to log in to the online platform an hour before the class so that you can update your software or any other settings required to access the platform. (Updates usually only take a few minutes, but you don’t want to wait until the beginning of class.) Questions? Email us at wlt@writersleague.org.

Cultural Arts City of Austin

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.

Texas Commission on the Arts

Writers’ League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts – Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to www.arts.texas.gov.

National Endowment for the Arts

This project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Mid-America Arts Alliance

This project is supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance. For more information, go to www.maaa.org.

Details

Start:
November 1, 2023 6:30 PM CDT
End:
November 29, 2023 9:30 PM CDT
Cost:
$236.00 – $476.00
Event Categories:
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Venue

Online via Zoom