The University of Iowa

Why is Writing so Hard?—An Instruction Manual for Your First Novel

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020

What is theme? How do I structure a novel? Why can’t I discover and write exciting characters? What’s the difference between writing scene versus exposition, and how do I do it? If you have asked any of these questions of yourself while staring at the blank page, this is the right course for you. Geared toward beginning and intermediate fiction writers, this class will provide fun, engaging writing exercises, fascinating handouts, lively discussion and a safe and supportive critique workshop. Step-by step instructions on basic skills will help you uncover with simplicity and precision the fundamental craft of writing fiction. Everyone will have a chance to workshop their writing, (bring yours from home or start fresh in this workshop) and ask questions about how to move forward. This course is designed to provide you with an easy-to-manage tool kit that you can take home with you. All fiction genres welcome.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.