Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.

Internet Explorer 7 is no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.

Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.

354433: Novel Writing II ENGL-X 446.7A

  • Summer 2017
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 07/05/2017 to 09/13/2017
  • Modified 06/06/2017


Armed with your overall concept and first chapter, you continue to develop your knowledge of craft by writing scenes using characters and situations from the projected novel and workshopping your in-progress work. Mini-lectures on the art of the novel, intuitive creative process, and conventional vs. non-conventional approaches to novel structure also are covered. The goal is to complete 50 pages of your novel.


Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

  • Author: Nancy Kress

The Scene Book

  • Author: Sandra Scofield


Grade Scale:

Participation 10x10                                                 100

Posting 25 pages (50 each)                                    100


200-180           A

179-160           B

159-140           C

139-below        F

Course Policies

Instructor Expectations

Welcome to Novel Writing II: The First Fifty Pages. This online workshop helps participants who are working in long-form fiction to develop a project and move on from the idea stage to a refined story outline or plot plan. We will work with character profiles, experiment with point-of-view and voice, and write dramatic scenes. To help develop these skills, assignments include writing scenes using characters and situations from the projected novel. Lectures on novel/story craft as well as discussions among and between class members are key elements of this workshop. At the end of this workshop, you should have 50 well-crafted pages of a novel.

This class is intended for people who've taken fiction classes before, preferably Novel Writing One or the equivalent. Introduction to Fiction or The Short Story would likely be fine. It’s useful to have a basic understanding of fictional techniques, as we will be moving right ahead with story and scene, so if you are just at the idea stage only, this might not be the class for you. The assumption is that you are in the midst of a long piece of fiction. Likely, you already have pages you are ready to share. If you don’t, you have time in this class to get your bearing in the first week, generate ideas, read the texts and lectures, and get started. You might think about volunteering later in the class to post. But the point is, by the end of this class, you will have worked over 50 pages of your novel and gotten them into fighting shape.

A novel takes months, years, sometimes decades to finish. We are merely going at it, with the end in mind. In very rare circumstances (and I wouldn't use those few cases as comparison, ever), does a writer find him or herself with a completed novel in ten weeks. The end product of this class will most likely not be a novel, but you will be on your way to that end; you will have material, a plan, and a path.

Here’s how this class works. The first week, we will spend a great deal of time getting to know each other and the stories we will be working with. You will be working on a list of ideas that should help you generate new material. Starting the following week, three writers will brave the waters and post up to 25 pages of their novel. Some of you may only have 25 pages of your novel. That’s fine. Up they will go. I will read your pages, giving you feedback on the board and attaching a hard copy of your pages that I’ve notated. My goal will be to address the five questions that you’ve provided as well as suggest ways of working these pages in terms of how they stand and how they will connect to the rest of your story.

Your classmates will likewise provide comments. I ask you to respond to two of the stories each week, and please share the love. Try to respond to everyone at least once.

To help you understand comments and to also generate new material, I will post lectures each week. These lectures will be in the weekly modules as links. I have loaded you up with reading, and it makes sense to do what you can--there are two books as well, which will really help you understand the basics of novel and scene structure.

There will be no scantron test or pop quiz on the lectures, so if you are overwhelmed, just print them out and read at your leisure, maybe even after the course is finished.

Also note that many of these lectures and handouts come from a work in progress textbook of mine--and some come from lectures I have given at various workshops. I use a variety of genres to describe certain things-including poetry-but, of course, the focus here is always fiction. Some students are disgruntled that I use poetry as examples, but really, poetry condenses well what even a novel has to do—and I can’t fit too many novels into examples!

Do not feel that you have to do any of the assignments in the lectures themselves. They might be useful for a “writer’s block” day.

While I tried to put a good deal of information in these lectures, half of my "real" class discussions on land come from questions posed by my students. Certainly, I don't have the answers to everything! Feel free to ask some follow-up questions in the pined Water Cooler section. I can answer your questions—and others can chime in, too. Your question will help the entire class. If you need me to answer a question right away, please email me at [email protected]

While it is often easier to give feedback than to receive it, we will see how often a comment will help us see the turn in a story or idea. Not participating rocks the karma boat--you post and then do not give what others are giving you. Also, feel free to ask questions (but not rebut or refute) when you don’t understand a comment. Have a back and forth discussion. That’s what’s so great about an online classroom.

Course Format: Online

This course is designed to be completed entirely online. All course activities and assignments will be managed through Canvas – you will use your unique username and password to log into the course, interact with your instructor and fellow students, and submit any required assignments.

Since attendance is asynchronous (not in real time), you may login at any time of the day. However, you are expected to participate in the virtual classroom on a weekly basis and complete all readings, discussion requirements and assignments/exams as required (see Course Policies below for more information).

Please keep a copy of all assignments and work submitted. Print the syllabus for your reference. It is your responsibility to be aware of all assignments, due dates and guidelines.

Note the following points about online courses at UCLA Extension: 

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers such as Firefox, Safari, or Chrome.
  • Students should familiarize themselves with Canvas and are responsible for meeting the minimum technical requirements for using Canvas.
  • Course materials will become available two days before the beginning date of the course.
  • Students must follow all posted deadlines and must complete all work in Canvas by the end of the course. Students receiving an “Incomplete” may not complete work within Canvas and must work individually with their instructor to satisfy completion requirements.
  • UCLA does require that you meet basic computer specifications, and in recent quarters, these have been important. Here are some that make the class work better: 

    Operating Systems

    • Windows XP SP3 and newer
    • Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
    • Linux - chromeOS


    Mobile Operating System Native App Support

    • iOS 7 and newer
    • Android 2.3 and newer


    Computer Speed and Processor

    • Use a computer 5 years old or newer when possible
    • 1GB of RAM
    • 2GHz processor


    Internet Speed

    • Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
    • Minimum of 512kbps
    • Also, posting in Word (doc or docx) is best. Google docs, not so much.

Planning Your Study Time

To plan your study time, it is estimated that you will spend 3 hours per week "in class" with the instructor and approximately 7 additional hours per week outside of class studying for exams, reading, and completing assignments. Depending on the extent of your academic preparation and recent college-level coursework in this topic area, the amount of study time needed may vary considerably.

Due Dates

The first official day of class is on a Wednesday. We have a week on introductions, but then we move right into posting work. Your 25 pages must be posted by Friday evening at 7. Comments are due by Wednesday at high noon. Your posting by Friday gives everyone enough time to read and comment and close up shop by Wednesday.

A note about page limits. Basically, they are important. You have two 25 page maximum postings and a final posting of 6 pages. I want you to paste and attach. For your attachments, follow general page guidelines: 12 font, times New Roman, one inch margins. 25 pages is about 8 thousand words. Six pages is a scant 2 thousand. don’t post more as we are reading a lot each week and people (me) get grumpy when someone posts 35 pages (and it happens).

So, off we go! Please start reading the texts, lectures, and thinking about your story. While I have given you weekly page by page reading, really, if you could gobble them up, that would be best. The first week is crucial in terms of thinking about ideas for your story. Then we are in the thick of it, heading toward your amazing fifty pages.

Institutional Policies

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, Suite 113, 10995 Le Conte Ave., Westwood; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Office for Students with Disabilities at (310) 825-0183 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:

Additional Items

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    If you need assistance downloading student materials from your course, please contact Canvas Support or the Office of Instructional Enhancement.

UCLA Extension Enhanced Support

Email: [email protected]
Phone: Toll-free at (866) 269-7289 (US only) or (310) 206-4563.
Monday - Friday, 7am to 6pm (Pacific Time).
The UCLA Extension course management team assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general administrative questions.

For additional support on using Canvas or addressing a technical issue:
Click on the ''Help'' button on the lower left corner of the screen from within the Canvas system, where you can chat live with a technical support agent or submit a ticket for assistance.


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1--July 5-12
Moving on with your story/novel approaches to novel writing.

Reading for the week:  Beginnings, Middles, and Ends:  pages 1-16

                                    The Scene Book 3-21

Please send me by email through the course site or my email above the two dates you would like to post your twenty-five pages.

Lectures: Moving on with your story/novel approaches to novel writing.

Discussion thread:

Introduce yourself. Give us details about your writing life, your work life, your   aspirations, your hopes for your writing.

Briefly, introduce your novel in a synopsis not to exceed 250 words.

List at least 20 things that you think absolutely have to happen in your novel. These "things" can be in reference to character, plot, theme, setting, POV, etc. These can simply be nouns or whole sentences. This list will help you generate the pages that you are going to be posting this class. Comment to two other writers’ lists.


Week 2--July 12-19
What is a scene? Tension. Structure. Central problem.

Reading:  BME:  17-33, TSB 22-41

Lectures: What is a scene? Tension. Structure. Central problem.

Discussion Board:

First three writers post their first 25 pages, 12 font, times New Roman, double-spaced, one inch margins. About eight thousand words. Please don’t post more.  Along with your pages, please post five questions you would like us to respond to. Of course, folks will respond to other aspects of your writing as well. But let us know what you want to learn about.

Post by Friday. Respond to two other writers’ work. Comments due July 19th at noon.


Week 3--July 19-26
Character. Details. POV.

Reading:  BME: 34-50, TSB 42-53

Lectures: Character. Details. POV.

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday the 21st. Respond to at least two by July 26 at noon.


Week 4--July 26-August 2
Description. Character dreams.

Reading:  BME 51-67, TSB 54-71

Lectures: Description. Character dreams.

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday night. Respond to at least two by Wednesday at noon.


Week 5--August 2-9
Dialogue. Voice. Mood. Tone.

Reading:  BME: 68-84, TSB 72-91

Lectures: Dialogue. Voice. Mood. Tone.

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday. Respond to at least two by Wednesday at noon.


Week 6--August 9-16

Reading:  BME: 85-101, TSB 92-122

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday. Respond to at least two by Wednesday at noon.



Week 7--August 16-23
Revising. Editing

Reading:  BME: 85-101, TSB 92-122

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday. Respond to at least two by Wednesday at noon.


Week 8--August 23-30
Development. Research.

Reading:  BME:  119-135, TSB 142-172

Lectures: Development. Research.

Discussion Board: Three writers post pages by Friday. Respond to at least two by Wednesday at noon.


Week 9--August 30-September 6
Rewriting. Publishing. Agents and Such.

Reading:  BME:  136 to finish, TSB 189-228

Lectures: Rewriting. Publishing. Agents and such.

Three writers post by Friday. Comment to two by Wednesday at noon.


Week 10--September 6-13
Keeping On!

Keeping on!

Discussion Board: Post no more than six pages (same rules) that you need help with. Don’t post something polished. Post the troubled, the botched, the worried, the hard, the sad pages that you want us to give you feedback on. This is your last chance for feedback, so make us work! However, some students like to post something polished. Really, it is up to you within the page parameters.

Note this due date is not Wednesday but a Friday, September 8th at 7 pm.

The class will be open for comments, questions, downloading material, and follow up until the 13th.

Posting Date: September 8th.