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Year of the Novel:
Pens Up, Fears Down
Join International Bestselling Novelist and MFA Creative Writing Instructors

Julie Cantrell and Sadeqa Johnson
Tuesday evenings, January 10 - December 12, 2023
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific)

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Is writing a novel on your New Year’s resolution list? Perhaps it’s an unfinished goal you’ve carried over from the year before. Or even from the year before that.

 

If you’re like us, you’ve probably read a book and wondered if you too could write a novel.

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter admitted that she once threw the book she was reading across the floor and said, “I can do better!” With 89 published books now under her belt, she’s made her writing dreams come true.

 

And you can too!

Whether you’re new to the writing journey or polishing a manuscript, we’ll be helping you bring your craft to the next level.

 

We also believe groups are strengthened by diversity of all kinds and that every story matters. So come one and come all. We value your story, and we value YOU.

If a story has been nudging you to bring it to the page, join us!

—Julie Cantrell and Sadeqa Johnson

IS YEAR OF THE NOVEL THE RIGHT COURSE FOR YOU?

Now, we know the “committee” in your head might be whispering that you’re too old, too young, or too inexperienced to get a book published. Or that “real” novelists are somehow different from you.

Our answer?

  • Frank McCourt published his debut memoir, Angela’s Ashes, when he was 60, a book that went on to earn the Pulitzer Prize,

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was unknown when she published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods. Of course, this story led to an entire series of novels that inspired generations of loyal readers and the popular show Little House on the Prairie.

  • John Grisham’s book A Time to Kill was rejected by 16 publishers. And J.K. Rowling faced numerous rejections when pitching her first Harry Potter novel.


Like these authors, we started with the same dream as you—to get a novel down on the page.

And now with a combined 40 years in the publishing industry, we’ve not only published our own bestselling and award-winning novels, we have also helped writers JUST LIKE YOU weave their own tales.

We will help you get your story onto the page and move your book in the right direction.

 

So come on, trust your muse who is shouting to you to BE BRAVE. Join us for a year that will change your writing life!

WHEN DOES THE YEAR OF THE NOVEL COURSE TAKE PLACE?

Large Group Meets Twice Monthly

Tuesday Nights beginning January 10th

8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Pacific)

(*Your smaller Circle of Scribes will meet on alternative Tuesdays at the same time.)

Our entire class will gather via ZOOM every other TUESDAY evening for a full year beginning January 10, 2023.

 

In this large group session, you’ll not only receive instruction from the two of us, but some of today’s leading novelists will visit to share their “tricks of the trade” and answer YOUR questions. We’re talking TOP TIER authors like Lisa Wingate (Before We Were Yours), Kristin Harmel (The Book of Lost Names), Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), and MORE!

 

In addition to learning craft skills in the large group, you’ll also receive:

  • Time management strategies

  • Tools to help you measure your progress and meet deadlines

  • Opportunities to read from your current project and to share your writing challenges and achievements with the larger group

 

There’s no need to navigate this writing journey alone. We believe in the importance of COMMUNITY. That’s why you’ll also participate in a small group via Zoom with approximately four like-minded writing peers.

Image by Clay Banks

Your small group (Circle of Scribes) will meet every other week (on alternative Tuesdays beginning January 17, 2023) to offer:

  • Support

  • Inspiration

  • Constructive criticism

 

At Story Summit, these more intimate circles usually result in deep friendships that extend far beyond the official scope of the class, with peers supporting each other through next steps of the publishing process and maintaining relationships long after the course has ended.

 

That said, you won’t be left alone to navigate these circles. The two of us will be dropping by to check in with your circle at least once per quarter, offering encouragement and personal mentorship to you and your peers.

Finally, we’ll also open a private FACEBOOK group exclusively for YEAR OF THE NOVEL 2023 participants. This will serve as a “virtual round table” where you’ll be invited to engage with the larger group outside of class.

WHAT WILL YOU LEARN IN THE YEAR OF THE NOVEL COURSE?

Each month, our large group sessions will focus on a specific theme. Step by step, we’ll lead you through the core blocks of building a novel. We’ll break down key craft skills and cover important tips regarding marketing and publishing. We’ll also provide writing prompts and assignments for each session, we’ll provide feedback for any work you choose to share, and we’ll make time to answer your questions along the way.

YEAR OF THE NOVEL 2023 MONTHLY THEMES:

  • January: The Power of STORY (Art vs Craft) and the Author’s Journey

  • February: Start with Synopsis, Logline, Tagline, & Outline and Identify the WHY of the Story

  • March: Cast Unique Characters and Identify SEVEN Key Factors in Character Development

  • April: Block out the Three Parts of the Story and Think in Terms of Scene/Chapter/Act

  • May: Build the World with Detailed Research, Props, Setting, and Sensory Details

  • June: Write Strong Dialogue, Create Unique Voicing, and Tackle Show vs. Tell

  • July: Incorporate Emotional Pivots and Achieve the Goal of Act One

  • August: Navigate the Swampy Middle and Achieve the Goal of Act Two

  • September: Master a Smooth Landing and Achieve the Goal of Act Three

  • October: Manage Revisions, Critiques, and the Various Rounds of Editing

  • November: Understand Publishing Options and Next Steps

  • December: Master Your Marketing Plan and Build a Platform

YEAR OF THE NOVEL 2023 CLASS DATES:

  • January 10, 24

  • Feb 7, 21

  • March 7, 21

  • April 4,18

  • May 2, 16, 30

  • June 13, 27

  • July 11, 25

  • August 8, 22

  • September 5, 19

  • October* 3, 17

  • November 14, 28

  • December 12

*Note: October 31, No Class for Halloween.

WHO WILL BE TEACHING YEAR OF THE NOVEL 2023?