Tuesday, December 20, 2005

*Only a Novel*

*Only a Novel* Two Year Writing Class has been nicknamed the 2yn. Taught by Lazette Gifford, the owner and site administrator of Forward Motion, this two year long hands on course is free and fabulous. Zette is a prolific writer. For example, she wrote over 200K during Nano in 2005, THREE complete first draft novels. She is an associate publisher with Double Dragon and has had several small press publications of her own. Now that we have established Zette's credentials...

Why a class on writing novels? To be honest, it is less a class ABOUT writing novels than it is a class WITHIN WHICH you write a novel. Zette posts a weekly lesson with an assignment and creates forum threads for each participant to post their responses. She covers six months of indepth pre-work from kernel of an idea, through the development of world and characters and through creating a working outline. A full year is set aside for writing the first draft, and the last six months of the class is focused on revisions and submission. I took the first offering of this course in 2004-05, and it resulted in my Christian sf novel, False Perceptions (due back from critiquers any day now).

The class was so helpful that I have gone back through my notes in planning subsequent novels: Quest to be Queen and Marks of Repentance. And now Zette has opened the signups for the third class and is allowing those who have completed the program already to sign up again if they want to. At first I thought, I've probably learned all I can from the process. After all, I've used it twice more since! But I really enjoyed the class for more reasons than just the actual lesson material (which was excellent). I enjoyed the sense of community that came from working on this huge project with a bunch of other writers, hopping around between the threads, encouraging one another, asking questions.

And now I am leaning towards signing up again. I am poking at some brand new kernels of ideas, waiting for one to come to life in my head, ready to roll. A lot of the folks in my crit group have signed up, so we would be a community within community as well (but not a clique!) I'm not sure. But leaning....

If you're interested, hop on over to FM and have a look around. There's always room for one more.


Karenee said...

After hogtying us and pushing us over to sign up (jk)... how can you dither?

maf said...

Your comment makes me want to participate to the 2YN. My only problem is my available time. I participated to Nanowrimo (1rst time) and I could only write half of it. I find it very hard to assess how much time is needed to really enjoy and learn from Zette's 2YN class.

Valerie, how much time did weekly devoted to it?

Valerie Comer said...

It's not nearly as intensive as Nano! Over the first six months, the weekly assignments may take anywhere from half an hour to maybe seven or eight hours. That's just a rough guess. Of course, the story sits on the back burner and simmers away, so you do spend lots more time on it, kind of subconciously.

An entire year is set aside for writing the novel, and the amount of time you will need for that varies by your personal typing versus thinking speed and your word count goal. If you're aiming at 100K as a nice round number, you'll only need about 2000 words a week to make the goal. In Nano the goal was nearly that per DAY!

I think that it's an eminently manageable amount of time for most people. At least if you have any hobby time set aside now.

The other thing is that the idea needs to be brand new to you, not something you've already invested time in. Can't roll the Nano over and try it again!