See also:
Novel II Critique
Up next:
Novel II First Draft—Part 2

Novel II First Draft, Part 1 is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures and worksheets. The focus is on writing the first draft of a novel. The prerequisite is Fiction I, or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals.  Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

The Novel First Draft classes work differently than other 10-week Workshops; they are devoted to powering through the first draft of a novel rather than critiquing. If you prefer to receive critiques on your novel, then take Novel Critique.

Gotham has two separate programs for Novel First Draft—Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 should be taken first. If, after Part 1, you wish to continue working on your first draft, then take Part 2.

A novel is a world into which a reader disappears for hours or days at a time, navigating through time and space and human psychology. We live with the characters, be they a glamorous bootlegger living the high life, or a mixed-up teenager on hiatus from prep school, or a pair of runaway twins who branch into separate lives over the decades.

Writing a novel is a long haul—a steep climb over hundreds of pages that must work as a unified and engrossing whole. Here you’ll learn the specialized techniques of novel writing and how to market your work.

As Toni Morrison says: If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

About Novel Writing

If anyone wants support while writing his/her first draft, this is a great course for that.

Helen Kim

writer

Notes

Fiction I encompasses short stories and novels. After Level I, students have a choice of Short Fiction Writing II (focusing on short stories), or Novel II Critique or Novel II First Draft (focusing on novels).

If you’re working on “genre” fiction, you may take either a Fiction/Novel course or one of our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Mystery.

If you’re working on a YA novel, you may take a Fiction/Novel or “genre” course, or you may take a Children’s Book course, where the full spectrum of children’s books will be covered.

Upcoming Classes

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week
  • Zoom

    Real-time videoconference

    Tuition: $419 (returning students: $389)

    Tour a Zoom Class

  • Online

    Anytime, week-long sessions

    Tuition: $419 (returning students: $389)

    Tour an Online Class

Syllabus

The aim of this course is to power through a large portion (or all) of your first draft without stopping for feedback or self-doubt. You get craft and inspirational information, weekly worksheets, and a support group, but there is no critiquing of student work (aside from teacher feedback on your worksheets). Course components:
     Lectures
     Worksheets (to help develop your novel)
     Weekly word-count goals

Gotham has two separate programs for Novel First Draft—Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 should be taken first. If, after Part 1, you wish to continue working on your First Draft, then take Part 2.

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Each lecture contains two sections: craft information and inspirational advice. 

Week 1
Fuel/Sticking to It: Finding the white-hot idea that will keep you fueled. Techniques for staying the course. 

Week 2
Protagonist/Psychological Barriers: Creating a protagonist’s desire and dimension. Ways to “show” the protagonist. How to break through your psychological barriers.

Week 3
Beginning/Don’t Look Back: Structure. Outlines. Sketching your Beginning. How to keep moving forward no matter what. 

Week 4
POV & Voice/Reading: Finding the right point of view. Reasons to read while writing. Types of things to read.

Week 5
Middle/Brainstorming: Strategies for creating a rising action. Sketching your Middle. The art of brainstorming. 

Week 6 
Cast & Subplots/The World Around You: Figuring out your cast. Subplots. Drawing ideas and inspiration from the world around you. 

Week 7 
World/Love of Language: Creating the specific world of your novel. Relishing and enlivening your language. 

Week 8 
Scenes/Patience & Surprise: Elements of a good scene. Allowing the patience for letting things unfold. Finding the surprises of discovery.

Week 9 
Protagonist II/The World Inside You: Finding and revealing the protagonist’s past. Discovering the protagonist’s evolution. Drawing ideas and inspiration from what is inside you.

Week 10 
End/What’s Next?: Climax and resolution. Sketching your End. Finishing the first draft. Revision. Friends and feedback.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Divya Sood
Divya Sood

Divya Sood is the author of the novels Find Someone to Love and Nights Like This (both Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have won the New Jersey Arts and Letters First Prize for Short Fiction and appeared in The Masters Review. She has taught at Rutgers University and Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a BA from Rutgers University and an MA in English from New York University. 

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Jessica Sticklor
Jessica Sticklor

Jessica Sticklor (also writing as Jessica Stilling and J.M. Stephen) is the author of the novels Just So Many Places (NineStar Press) The Weary God of Ancient Travelers (D.X Varos), The Beekeeper's Daughter (Bedazzled Ink Press), and Betwixt and Between (Ig Publishing), and the young adult Pan Chronicles series and The Rise of Runes and Shields, book one of her Seidr Sagas young adult fantasy series (all D.X. Varos). Her short stories have appeared in The Paper Nautilus, Open Wide Magazine, Conclave, The Skyline Review, Chiron Review, and Kudzu, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Writer, Ms., and Tor.com. She has worked as an editor at The House of Books. She holds a BA from The New School and an MFA in Creative Writing from CUNY.

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Katherine Taylor
Katherine Taylor

Katherine Taylor is the author of the novels Valley Fever and Rules For Saying Goodbye (both Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). Her essays and short stories have appeared in Elle, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ploughshares, ZYZZYVA, Southwest Review, Town and Country, Prairie Schooner, and Shenandoah. She holds a BA from USC and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University.

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Shari Goldhagen
Shari Goldhagen

Shari Goldhagen is the author of the novels In Some Other World, Maybe (St. Martins), Family and Other Accidents (Random House) and 100 Days of Cake (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). Her short stories have appeared in Indiana Review, Prism International, Beacon Street Review, and Wascana Review, and her nonfiction has appeared in the National Enquirer, Complete Woman, teenStyle, Ohioana, and Restaurants and Institutions. She is editor of the nonfiction anthology Witches Then and Now (Centennial), and editor-in-chief of Women & Weed magazine. She has taught at Ohio State University. She holds a BSJ from Northwestern University and an MFA in Fiction from Ohio State University.

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Susan Breen
Susan Breen

Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series, originally published by Penguin Random House/Alibi and rereleased by Under the Oak Press, as well as the novel The Fiction Class (Plume/Headline Review UK). Her short stories have appeared in American Literary Review, the Chattahoochee Review, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, as well as the anthologies Best American Nonrequired Reading and Murder Most Diabolical. She holds a BA from the University of Rochester and an MA in Economics from Columbia University.

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