Open That Drawer!: Reviving the Stalled Novel
Many of us begin work on a novel in a frenzy of inspiration but there are many reasons for why an unfinished novel goes into a drawer: life gets in the way, the initial motivation peters out, we plot ourselves into a dead end or we simply lose confidence in the work. This intensive workshop is geared toward quickly helping you breathe some new life into a promising project. Each day will be devoted to approaching your novel through the lens of a different element of a novelist’s craft: voice, character, structure, setting, plot, scene.
Each morning, I will post lecture notes about that day’s topic. You will receive reading assignments and exercises geared toward incorporating that element of craft into your draft. You will be responsible for posting short excerpts and a response to your peers’ work by 5pm EST. The morning of the final class, you will write me about the unique challenge facing your novel and will receive a personal exercise to post by that afternoon. Once the class is over, I will write each of you a letter highlighting the strengths of your projects and suggestions for moving forward.
You should have some novel-in-progress you want to work on in this course, but there is no minimum word count; it doesn’t matter if you enter the workshop having written ten or two hundred pages.
Irina Reyn is the author of the novels The Imperial Wife and What Happened to Anna K. She is the editor of the nonfiction anthology Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State. Her short stories and essays have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Ploughshares, One Story, Post Road, Tin House, and Poets & Writers. She teaches in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.