The University of Iowa

Writing the Popular Novel (In any Genre)

Weekend June 20 to June 21 2020

No matter the genre in which you’re interested—literary, science fiction, paranormal, young adult, romance, etc.—you would probably think it ideal if your novel had many readers. If it attracted buzz. If it were, in other words, popular. In this weekend workshop, we’ll discuss the elements that make popular novels (across genres) so popular (according to bestseller lists and computer algorithms), and do exercises on various elements of the novel, such as character, plot, pacing, theme, style, etc., to increase the odds that your own novels will become widely read. Our goal in this workshop is to help you plan or strengthen your ideas for novels so that they become works of which you are not only proud—but also works that just might enable you to buy that nice little château you have your eye on…. This workshop is for writers of all levels. We will focus on generating new material.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

Young Adult