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Writers love to debate whether which is harder: writing a novel or writing a short story. Like a lot of what writers do, this is a waste of time. My goal as a teacher is to help you waste less time. What we can agree on is that writing short stories and writing novels require different skills and strategies.
For this class, we’ll focus on the unique challenges of writing a novel, such as drawing the reader’s attention without exhausting it, designing plot events that push and deepen your characters and themes without overwhelming them, and finding an ending that is satisfying without feeling too neat or too easy. Other topics, of many that will be explored, will include making the right choices about POV, location, and style. We will read excerpts of many novels—ranging in tone and genre from the work of Edith Wharton to Octavia Butler to Philip Roth to Clarice Lispector to Gillian Flynn—to study how they respond to these challenges. But the primary focus on your work. Over the course of twelve weeks, you will be workshopped three times, an intensive approach that will help you see where you’re going with your book and easier ways to get there. Writers applying for this class should have an idea for a novel they feel strongly motivated to write.
Class is limited to ten. Students are chosen by David Burr Gerrard on the basis of a manuscript submission, which must be received by Monday, April 26 at 5 pm. View the submission guidelines.
Class meets Wednesdays: May 11, 19, 26, June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28
Programs taking place online:An access link will be emailed to you after purchase.
Programs taking place in our NYC facilities:Please read our safety guidelines before visiting our building.
Programs taking place online and in our NYC facilities:Please select which experience you wish to participate in when registering. Online participants will be emailed an access link after purchase. In-person participants should read our safety guidelines before attending the program.
David Burr Gerrard is the author of the novels Short Century and The Epiphany Machine—“he has masterfully channeled Kafka and written an engrossing and inventive mystery. A deeply compelling read by a terrific writer,” writes Ben Marcus.
Novel-writing with David Burr Gerrard