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  1. JDLIPTON

    Homework Week 4: OPTIONAL HOMEWORK WRITING EXERCISES

    I know it's late in the class and you may be catching up on previous week's work, but if you have time this week (or if you'd like to try these later after the course ends), you might find the following useful on "the technical stuff". Take a passage (a paragraph or so) from a story or book you...
  2. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 4 Discussion Thread: The Technical Stuff (POV, Verb Tense, Narrative Distance)

    Because this is our final week together and I've already inundated you with plenty of exercises and thoughts, I'll keep the discussion and optional homework exercises short and sweet this week, but do feel free to share in any of the earlier discussion threads this week prior to the end of the...
  3. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Week 4: The Technical Stuff--POV, Verb Tense, Narrative Distance

    Before you start writing your first chapter, remember the most important thing: Your first draft of this chapter will not be your last draft. You can revise as much as you like, and you’ll certainly need to do at least some revision, so don’t feel precious about what you set down on the page. We...
  4. JDLIPTON

    Homework Week 3: OPTIONAL WRITING EXERCISES

    Exercise 1: Can you write an opening for a story set in a “usual” place (e.g. dining room, local park, high school) that uses specific details to pique the reader’s interest? Exercise 2: Can you redraft an unsatisfying opening of your own work – or another story or novel that you’ve read – to...
  5. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 3 Discussion Thread: What NOT to Include in Your Opening Pages

    Here are some questions to think about this week (or raise your own) in the following discussion thread .... 1/ Look at a piece of your own writing and see if you’ve included any of the things agents and editors typically dislike in new submissions. If so, have you provided a fresh take on the...
  6. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Week 3: What NOT to Include in Your Opening Pages

    This week we’re going to turn our focus to things to avoid in the beginning pages of your manuscript largely because they’re overdone, or simply because they may not be the best way to present your opening to its full effect to an agent, editor, or, ultimately, a reader. Remember that, as with...
  7. JDLIPTON

    Homework WEEK 2: OPTIONAL WRITING EXERCISES

    If you have time, you might want to try one of these exercises: 1/ If you have a work in progress that you haven’t finished yet, see if you can write a final scene for it that informs where you want the story to go. You don’t have to use this scene in the final manuscript, but does it tell you...
  8. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 2 Discussion Thread: Beginnings and Endings

    Here are some exercises you might like to try based on this week's materials, or feel free to chime in on anything on your mind about this topic. Exercise 1: Think about a story or novel you’ve read where the ending particularly satisfied (or failed to satisfy) you. Look back to the beginning...
  9. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Week 2: Beginnings and Endings

    Reading: Jacqui Lipton, Avoiding the Bad Beginning (available at: Avoiding the bad beginning with Jacqui Lipton - SavvyAuthors) Reading: Nancy Kress. Beginnings, Middles, & Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing), pp 129 (Checklist for Successful Endings, attached) What the heck am I doing talking...
  10. JDLIPTON

    Homework Week 1: OPTIONAL HOMEWORK EXERCISE

    Each week, I'll set up a thread for an optional homework exercise related to that week's topic. This is completely optional, but I'll read and comment on anything anyone posts here and others should feel free to chime in too, but remember the name of the game is constructive feedback! Here's...
  11. JDLIPTON

    Homework Week 1 OPTIONAL HOMEWORK EXERCISE

    Each week, I'll set up a thread for an optional homework exercise related to that week's topic. This is completely optional, but I'll read and comment on anything anyone posts here and others should feel free to chime in too, but remember the name of the game is constructive feedback! Here's...
  12. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Introductions!

    Hi everyone; welcome to the class. If you have time before you go to the first lecture and exercises, take a moment to tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing. Are you a beginner or an old hand? Do you have a work in progress you want to polish or are you starting something new? Or...
  13. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 1 Discussion Thread/Promises to the Reader, Hooks and Inciting Incidents

    Hi everyone. Welcome to the week one discussion thread. Use this thread to comment on anything the lecture sparked for you and/or try one of the following exercises and share your results here: Exercise 1: Read the opening of a book or short story. What promises does it make to the reader? How...
  14. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Welcome and First Lecture: Promises to the Reader, Hooks and Inciting Incidents

    Instructor: Jacqui Lipton, M.F.A., Ph.D. Website: authography.org Email: [email protected] Class Dates: November 5 to December 2, 2018 Welcome! Hi everyone, and welcome to the “novel beginnings” course which I also refer to as “promises to the reader” because that’s what we’re really...
  15. JDLIPTON

    Homework WEEK 4: OPTIONAL HOMEWORK EXERCISES

    Exercise 1 : If you’re losing tension/character focus in the middle of your manuscript, you can try the following to keep yourself oriented and focused on conflict and tension. Take the scene where you’re starting to get lost and make notes about the following: (a) remind yourself of each...
  16. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 4 Discussion Thread: Reading Like a Writer

    After you've read this week's lecture, feel free to share here recommendations of some of your favorite books and stories with unusual story structures. Have any of those stories inspired you to try something unusual in your own plot and structure? What do you think the challenges might be?
  17. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Week 4: Multiple Character/Story Arcs and Reading Like a Writer (Final Thoughts)

    I’m aware I’ve thrown a lot of information at you over the last few weeks, so I’m hoping folks are keeping up or at least copying notes to use later. This is the final week (hard to believe we’ve come so far so quickly!) For this final week, I wanted to talk a little about some of the...
  18. JDLIPTON

    Homework Week 3: OPTIONAL HOMEWORK EXERCISES

    Write a scene to one of the following prompts. 1/ If your story features one or more allies, write a scene where the protagonist first meets one of the allies. Think about what it is that attracts the ally to the protagonist, or what it is that intrigues or annoys the ally on first meeting the...
  19. JDLIPTON

    Discussion Week 3 Discussion Thread: Thinking About Supporting Characters

    After you've read this week's materials, think about the following and share your thoughts here. 1/ Does your protagonist have any allies? Who are they? What roles do they serve in illuminating the protagonist's journey? Could they do more in this respect? 2/ Does your story have a "mentor"...
  20. JDLIPTON

    Lecture Week 3: Classic Story Structures (The Hero's Journey and the Three Act Plot Structure)

    This week I want to touch on classic story structures which can be useful guidelines for outlining your plot and creating an approach that works for you. I don’t tend to follow these guidelines strictly in my own work and, to the extent I do use them, I tend to use them more as revision tools...