Boot Camp Curriculum

The Ten Most Common Mistakes
First Novelists Make

What to Expect

The program presents intense focus on how to enter the zone where your writing becomes exploratory rather than descriptive.  Examples from Dennis Lehane, Irwin Shaw, James Lee Burke, Raymond Carver, Kate Atkinson, Richard Powers, others.

Intense focus on:

  • your opening page (velocity vs. set up)
  • your first chapter
  • your familiarity with your characters
  • your characters and their development
  • your character’s defining moment
  • refining point of view; insight and intimacy
  • using the six senses
  • creating tension and suspense
  • stay out of your own story (why the who ain’t you)
  • how to write a clean sentence. (no ings, as’s or adverbs)
  • how to spot “tells”
  • how to spot author intrusion
  • how to keep your protagonists from sounding normal, i.e. boring
  • how to get in bed with your characters (interior monologue)
  • how to raise the level of intimacy with your characters
  • how to make your characters surprise them & you
  • story vs. plot
  • your genre
  • literary or special niche?
  • what is episodic vs. story flow ?
  • putting your story to the test (Story is King)
  • acupuncture points in your story
  • your dialogue; like real life or like fiction?
  • taking your novel’s blood pressure.
  • your pacing
  • your story
  • your plot
  • your “show” vs. “tell” ratio
  • your description vs. movement
  • your narrative vs. dialogue
  • your voice
  • your reader feeder
In addition to all of the basics , you will learn:

  • blocking scenes
  • chapter arc
  • story arc
  • opening velocity
  • charged dialogue that attracts agents and publishing editors
  • discovering what “tribe” you belong to
  • writing to your tribe
  • what to say, and when to say it
  • what is your voice and how to use it
  • why it’s important to sound like you
  • recognizing and repairing soft spots
  • perfecting the craft of self editing
  • how to write the perfect pitch for your novel or narrative nonfiction
  • how and when to approach an agent
  • how to work with an editor once you win a contract.

You will also learn to delete today’s hack usages, overused words,
superfluous adverbs and adjectives, and how to “kill your darlings.”

You will avoid the 10 Most Common Mistakes First Novelist Make.

And remember, this is not a lecture, this is HANDS ON with your individual piece of writing.