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363132: Write a Novel in a Month as Part of National Novel Writing Month

  • Fall 2018
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 10/18/2018 to 12/13/2018
  • Modified 07/24/2018


Write a novel in a month! Is it possible? Over 100,000 writers around the world in 2016 thought so. The challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is to write an entire draft of a 50,000-word novel over the 30 days of November. Before launching into one of the wildest writing experiences ever, you meet twice with the instructor and classmates to develop the essential strategies you need to complete your novel draft. Then, for the next 5 weeks of this "write-shop," you write, with the instructor offering writing exercises and tips designed to generate material and move your draft along, word-by-word, to the 50,000-word goal. At the eighth meeting, we discuss the next steps in moving you toward publication, and have a class reading, just like a published author would. Our last two classes are workshops to get you started on the revision process.  You come out of the course with a draft of your novel, a start in revising, and the tools to decide where to go from there. Come prepared with writing materials.


The class will give you strategies of writing, time management, social management, and family management that will allow you to carve out the space to write. The class will give you tips and tricks to generate work and word count. The class will give you strategies and approaches to writing to make the actual writing of a novel manageable.


By the end of the class you will have a first draft of a novel. You will also receive some initial feedback and a road map to begin revising that draft of the novel.

Course Policies

Underage Students

As UCLA's principal provider of continuing education, the majority of UCLA Extension courses are designed for the post-baccalaureate professional-level student. Enrollment is therefore normally reserved for adult students 18 years of age and older. The Writers’ Program may consent to enroll younger students based on special academic competence and approval of the instructor. Minors who enroll in a Writers’ Program course without first receiving permission from both the department and the instructor are subject to withdrawal.  To request approval, please contact the Writers’ Program at 310/825-9415.

Institutional Policies

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:

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 Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


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:

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.

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

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 UCLA Extension Learning Support Team.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see:


A Note on the Process:

You don't have to have a laptop to participate in the class, but it will make it easier as weeks 3-7 feature nearly 3 full hours of writing and writing exercises. Extension has provided a room where laptops can be used, and all members are encouraged to bring their laptops (and power cords) with them. NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty tells us that some people have written their entire drafts by hand, but it was tough for them to post to the website, and at least 1 person needed a good deal of physical therapy to recover.


A Note on "Writeshop":

Traditionally, classes at the Extension call for a discussion of the craft of fiction and a workshop. The Novel in a Month class departs from this norm. While in the first 2 classes we will touch on aspects of the craft of fiction, this is more for your use after you've finished your 50,000 word draft. Our goal is writing and only writing; All Words Are Good Words! is our motto because here, Don't Get it Right—Get It Written! Weeks 3-7 is a "writeshop" where all efforts are directed at hitting the daily minimum and beyond.


Evaluation/Grading Standards:

For those of you taking the course for a grade—

—The on-time arrival at each class.

—Evidence of daily writing

—The completion of the 50,000 word draft.

—Letter grades for the course are subject to reduction in the event of more than one unexcused absence.

Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Class 1
Introduction to Class, Syllabus and Policies

Discussion: NaNoWriMo concept; time management; use of outlines, notes, character studies


Home Work: Go to and join so you can be an official participant in the challenge. Make sure to email me your link to your "About the Author" page.

Readings: Baty - Introduction, Chapters 1, 2

Bring to Class: Completed timefinder plus copies; Yellow / Red / Green hi-lighters

Class 2
At the Starting Line (T-minus 1 week)

Review: Time management sheet

Discuss: Writing strategies

Consider: Outlines, notes, character studies


Home Work: Prepare to implement strategies

Readings: Baty - Chapters 3, 4

Class 3
Writing Week 1

Discussion: The excitement of beginning

Writing Exercises


Home Work: Post your word count to; write, write, write

Readings: Baty - Chapter 5 (if you have time)

Bring to Class: A newspaper

Class 4
Writing Week 2

Discussion: How things may go awry

Writing Exercises


Home Work: Post your word count to; write, write, write

Readings: Baty - Chapter 6 (if you have time)

Bring to Class: A box of crayons; drawing paper; a newspaper; notebook; writing implement

Class 5
Writing Week 3

Discussion: The doldrums set in and how to counter them

Writing Exercises


Home Work: Post your word count to; write, write, write

Readings: Baty - Chapter 7 (if you have time)

Bring to Class: Your more complete map

Class 6
Writing Week 4

Discussion: Race to the finish

Writing Exercises


Home Work: Post your word count to; write, write, write

Readings: Baty - Chapter 8 (if you have time)

Class 7
Goal-Line in Sight

Discussion: It's almost over—getting to the (50,000 word) finish line

Writing Exercises


Home Work: Post your final word count to the NaNoWriMo Site

Readings: Baty - Chapter 9 (you should have time now)

Bring to Class: 2-3 pages from your novel, prepared to read for 5 minutes.

GROUP 1: post pages / post synopsis to Canvas

Start reading and making comments on the workshop pages and synopses to be workshopped in Class 9

Class 8
What's Next?

Bring 2-3 pages

Read selections

Talk about next steps


Home Work:   Read and comment on the workshop pages and synopses

Bring to Class: Marked copies of everyone's workshop pages /synopsis


Class 9
Workshop 1

Bring marked copies of everyone's workshop pages / synopsis


Home Work:   Read and comment on the next workshop pages

Bring to Class: Marked copies of everyone's workshop pages

GROUP 2: post pages / post synopsis to Canvas

Class 10
Workshop 2

Bring marked copies of everyone's workshop pages