University of Iowa

Starting Your Novel

Weekend July 13 to July 14 2019

Every novel begins with a great idea, but not every great idea makes for a compelling novel. How do you know if your idea is strong enough to sustain a book-length work? What are the tried-and-true methods for transforming ideas into pages? In this weekend workshop, the focus will be carefully laying the groundwork for the composition of a novel. We’ll pre-write our way through our cast of characters, our major plot points, and our thematic concerns; we’ll learn the value of an outline; and we’ll experiment with voice and point of view. The focus of this workshop will be generative, but writers may bring extant materials to the table.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; provide feedback on writing you bring from home or produce in our weekend.