The LONG Project: Writing a Novel or Memoir


8 Friday Mornings
Writing Hundreds of Pages
with Miah Arnold
Jan 19-Mar 8
*with one Zoom meeting on Jan 5

Availability: In stock

Grackle image by artist Anant Ronen.

The LONG Project is an in-studio (not online) class for writers who have not written to the end of their books yet, or who are in the middle of an early draft’s rewrite. The novels we read encompass all the genres — including memoirs. This class will include weekly writing time, weekly workshopping, and time discussing the dead ends and corners writers find themselves in.

Of course, the hardest part of writing a book is every part: making sense of an idea, translating ideas into words, fighting to see who the characters really are and what they need and want, rearranging words and scenes and images, doing this over and over again, draft after draft, and then beginning the arduous process of scouting agents for your work, sending query letters.  This is a class for people somewhere in the middle part of this process. To be in this class, you should have at least 40 pages written (maybe not in order) by the time the class begins. It is for people in the early drafts of their novels so that they can get the novel, or a solid draft, finished.

In the first hour we will discuss questions the writers have, and we will have a writing prompt meant to help add scenes, ideas, and fill out a novel. The second hour is reserved for workshopping.  We’ll have an informal snack/lunch so those skipping out on the workday don’t return hungry. Every week we will have one or two workshops, depending on how many people are in the class.

Early draft workshops will aim at helping writers make it through to the ending of their draft: to get the pages down, to untangle problems they have come up with, to talk out their problems in a group with readers that desperately look forward to reading to the end — to show themselves they can write to the end of a novel. We will focus on what is working well, what aspects of the story we find most intriguing, what questions we hope will be answered, and what the mystery is. Writers generally workshop around 15-50 pages per workshop.

Middle draft workshops will help writers seriously face problems of structure, character arcs, and forward momentum. We help reconceptualize the story that may have come out in fits and starts, with an eye for the end. We will discuss plot holes, sags in the pacing, and problems with characters who may seem one thing in the writers eyes but seem something else to early readers. Again, we will talk out problems the writers face as they iron out the flaws and problems they identified in their earlier drafts. They generally workshop between 50-100 pages in a workshop.

This is not a class for people who have finished a completed draft. That class is called: THE FINISHED DRAFT.

Everybody offers something important because we engage with each other’s work seriously. This workshop has a lot of reading, but because they are all of the same piece of work, it is easier reading than if we read four different essays, for example.  The longest bouts of reading are for the works in the last drafts, and the reading goes by very quickly. It won’t be more than 100 double spaced pages a week.

This class is limited to 8 students.
Miah Arnold will facilitate this group.

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