Usually, I spend three to six months developing a new class. This one, I’ve spent close to two years on. Or, you could say, the better part of a decade.
Or, you could say, the better part of my life.
Because Nail Your Novel really does reflect everything I’ve learned over my past ten years as an editor and book coach–which, frankly, I wish I’d learned in the course of the 8+ years of creative writing classes, or the innumerable books I’ve read on craft.
That’s why I say, basically, you could spend 40K on grad school, and spend 40 bizilion hours reading books on fiction, or you could take this class. Because I spent both the 40K and the 40 bizilion, and–like so many writers–I still really had no idea how to turn 80,000 words into a publishable novel.
What taught me that was the last decade of my life as a freelance editor and book coach. Because what I began to see was that no matter how different my clients’s work might be, it was the same issues that were keeping their novels from working, and, ultimately, getting published.
And I’m not talking about entry-level issues here.
For instance, I’m not talking about point of view (POV). I’m talking about that tricky way POV intersects with character arc, to deliver that Vulcan mind-meld of immersive fiction, and real emotion, or fail to.
I’m not talking about plot points and pinch points, the Hero’s Journey, Three-Act Structure, etc. and so forth. I’m talking about something much more fundamental, and much more interesting, which is causality, and how it can hijack your reader’s brain, leaving them no choice but to keep reading late into the night–and, alternately, how the lack of it can put your reader right to sleep.
I’m not talking about what your protagonist’s goal is. I’m talking about why your protagonist wants what they want, and how the reader will either keep track of that in the novel or fail to, which has everything to do with whether they’ll care about the outcome of the plot.
The reason I spent so long developing the content for this class? This stuff is complicated, and I knew I wanted to deliver it in the simplest possible way. It took me two years of writing and revising, but that’s exactly what I’ve done.
If you’ve done the same–essentially boiling down your hard-won technical knowledge into something that anyone can understand–you know how hard it is. And you know that it’s worth it.
Because not only is this the point in your career where you can really level up your impact, this is the point where you truly begin to understand what it is you actually know.
Nail Your Novel runs starts March 26 and runs four weeks; class size is limited, as I’ll be working one-on-one with each student on the big-picture elements of their novel. If you’ve got a novel-in-progress, feel free to drop me a line with questions: susan [at] susandefreitas [dot] com