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377519: Write a Novel in 10 Weeks

  • Winter 2021
  • Section 1
  • 3 Credits
  • 01/13/2021 to 03/17/2021
  • Modified 02/05/2021

Meeting Times

Wednesdays, 7-10 PM, LIVE on Zoom. 


In this fast-paced, fun, and exhilarating novel writing course, you do the unthinkable: write a novel in ten weeks from start to finish. Tapping into the rich material inside your subconscious, you do mini exercises in class that form the plot, characters, setting, genre, and structure of your very own work of fiction. At home, you write three pages a day to complete your manuscript. This is a class for beginners and seasoned writers alike. All that is required is discipline, determination, and commitment.


During this course, students will:

  • Write the first bare bones draft of a novel (80-100pages)
  • Create their unique writing practice and discover what kind of novelist they are
  • Apply principles of structure, technique, artistry, self-discipline and joy to understand what makes a novel come to life
  • Learn how to avoid self-sabotage and writer's block through fun exercises


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Draft a bible of short stories, character studies and visual aids to map out the outline of a novel of fiction
  • Draft a mini novel of fiction that has a structured beginning, middle and end to be used as the base for developing a fleshed out full length novel
  • Edit and critique their own work to develop further drafts
  • Plan a specific path towards publication


Optional Textbooks: 
For Writers Only, by Sophy Burnham
If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland


If you are taking this class for a grade, the grade will be primarily based on the completion of assignments, class participation and attendance. The most important thing is that you write.  Your writing itself will not be graded.

Grading Breakdown: 

Graded Activities Points / Percentage Notes
TOTAL 100  
Assignments 60 Completion of homework assignments and quizzes
Attendance 40 Attendance, participation, and effort in class

Grading Scale: 

Grade Range
A+ 100% - 97%
A < 97% to 93%
A- < 93% to 90%
B+ < 90% to 87%
B < 87% to 83%
B- < 83% to 80%
C+ < 80% to 77%
C < 77% to 73%
C- < 73% to 70%
F < 70% to 0%

Course Policies


Attendance Policy

Attendance at the weekly meeting times is mandatory. More than 2 absences will result in a failing grade. If there's an emergency or you have a commitment you can't change, let me know in advance and make sure you turn in your assignments, workshop feedback, etc on time. Students must be present in class on the day their work is up for workshop or they will automatically fail the class.

Workshop Guidelines

Students will be expected to comment on each other's work during class. Only positive feedback is allowed at this blossoming stage of the creative process. Concise, heartfelt commentary is the most useful and it is integral that all students closely follow along to each other's work so they are indeed able to comment if called upon. The comments and kindness you impart on your fellow students will affect their confidence and writing - therefore, we only boost each other up and notice the good in what everyone is doing.

The Writers’ Workshop

Instruction in the Writers’ Program follows the guidelines established by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) guidelines for the teaching of creative writing, which include a “challenging writers’ workshop” as a hallmark. They define this as

…a seminar in which students critique one another’s work under the mentorship of an accomplished writer-teacher. The workshop is writing intensive, offering each student multiple opportunities for submission and revision of creative work. (AWP)

This method of instruction is considered the gold standard for developing writers at all levels of expertise, and workshopping is a key learning tool in nearly every course offered by the Writers’ Program. Workshopping teaches you to read and respond to written work from a variety of perspectives, and hearing critique of your own writing will help you understand how successfully your work achieves your goals. Every student is expected to participate fully in workshopping activities as defined by and guided by Writers’ Program instructors.

Scope of Work for Instructors

Each Writers’ Program instructor has signed an agreement to teach the curriculum in their course, following a syllabus of their own design with approval by the Writers’ Program director. Instructors are never obligated to read, review, critique, respond to, or otherwise address student work that has not been developed for their course or in response to specific assignments in their course. Individualized instruction like this falls into the category of a consultation, which is a separate service your instructor can provide through special arrangement with the Writers’ Program.

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 Services for Students with Disabilities 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:

Additional Items

Protecting Privacy and Data During Remote Instruction

Live meeting sessions for this class are being conducted over Zoom. As the host, the instructor may be recording live sessions. Only the host has the ability to record meetings, no recording by other means is permitted. Recorded sessions will be posted in the Videos area of this class unless otherwise notified. If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, do not turn on your video. If you also prefer to use a pseudonym instead of your name, please let the instructor know what name you will be using so that the instructor knows who you are during the session. To rename yourself during a Zoom meeting, click on Participants, click on your name, click on More, click on Rename. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to the instructor only (and not to ""everyone""). Additionally, chat may be used and moderated for live questions, and saving of chats is enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructor via Canvas Inbox.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Zoom and UCLA Extension, the data is used solely for this purpose and Zoom is prohibited from re-disclosing this information. UCLA Extension also does not use the data for any other purpose. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. However, recordings may become part of an administrative disciplinary record if misconduct occurs during a video conference.

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Web-Distributed Course

Web-Distribution courses meet in-person and make use of an online presence to varying degrees.  You will access the learning management system, Canvas, for course documents such as your syllabus and course materials.  The course is managed by departmental staff.

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

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:


Weekly Topic Breakdown: In class exercises, readings, and homework will be shared and discussed on the first day of class. 

Course calendar and related activities
When Lesson Notes
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Introduction
  • Author identity and style
  • Character development
  • Genre exploration
  • Setting development

Read and Discuss:

  • Students' author style
  • Short stories developed in class


  • Submit in class what genre you are as an individual
  • Submit in class character, setting and genre short stories
  • Complete homework: 4 page short story, lead character creation and 1st person perspective assignment. Due January 20th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Plot analysis in published fiction
  • Process of developing plot
  • Homework Review and analysis
  • Crafting constructive critique habits

Read and Discuss:

  • Plots in published fiction
  • In class short stories and homework short stories


  • Submit in class short stories based on plot exercises
  • Complete Homework: 4 page short story, evening writing, enemy character list, attempting character's hobbies.  Due January 27th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Productive writing schedules
  • Shadow Characters
  • Beginning, Middle and Ends in novels

Read and Discuss:

  • Enemy character homework story
  • Writing schedule analysis
  • BME's from famous literature


  • Submit several B.M.E's in class
  • Develop 8 chapters that fit within your favorite B.M.E. in class
  • Complete homework; a bible of your book.  Due February 3rd
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Character Morality
  • Raising plot stakes and depth

Read and Discuss:

  • Homework short stories


  • Submit a character morality short story
  • Class discussion on real life mirroring of proposed fiction
  • Fleshed out plot quiz
  • Complete homework: developed plot outline, read prose in chosen genre, practice characters' hobbies, prepare to describe your novel's outline in 6 sentences.  Due February 10th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Back Cover Blurbs
  • Visual and verbal plot development
  • Peer plot analysis

Read and Discuss:

  • Back cover blurbs of popular fiction.
  • Six sentence plot descriptions


  • Submit a back cover blurb for your novel
  • Draw a treasure map of your plot
  • Verbally mirror the plot of a fellow student's novel
  • Emotional Plot Quiz
  • Rewrite outlines
  • Complete Homework: write the first 2 chapters of your book.  Due February 17th


Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Utilizing muses 
  • Novel writing pitfalls
  • Presenting your novel
  • Critiquing habits

Read and Discuss:

  • Good and bad book reviews of your own book in class
  • The first 2 chapters of your book in class


  • Draft a good and bad book review of your novel
  • Create 2 short stories utilizing the muse
  • Submit positive feedback to fellow student's work
  • Complete homework: Chapters 3 and 4 of your novel.  Due February 24th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


Lesson Topics:

  • Expanding comfort writing zones
  • Book Tour Role Play
  • Presenting and critiquing 

Read and Discuss:

  • Fantasy eulogies created in class
  • Students' chapter homework


  • Write a fantasy eulogy in class about yourself - push the boundaries of what your imagination will allow
  • Present and critique homework chapters
  • Interview fellow students on their 'book tours'
  • Complete homework: chapters 5 and 6.  Due March 3rd
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Ascertain further gaps in novel structure
  • Review useful writing tools
  • Curating critique and editing style

Read and Discuss:

  • Short stories developed in class
  • Student's homework chapters


  • Submit a short story for more detailed character motivation
  • Draft the same story through the eyes of the muse
  • Critique fellow students' chapter work
  • Plot hole quiz
  • Complete homework: chapters 7 and 8 of your novel.  Due March 10th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Editing
  • Chapter analysis

Read and Discuss:

  • Students' editing and chapter work


  • Draft a short story to be used to edit
  • Edit story for separate edit passes: genre, plot, character, setting and B.M.E.
  • Analyze editing proficiency
  • Present and critique chapter work
  • Complete homework: edit your manuscript.  Due March 17th
Live Zoom Class
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Lesson Topics:

  • Presenting the final draft
  • Reflection and review
  • Publishing

Read and Discuss:

  • Chapter work


  • Draft a letter to yourself about your experience writing a novel
  • Ascertain your most proficient writing schedule and habits
  • Present and critique chapter work
  • Learn how to get published in Tempany's publishing lecture
  • Schedule critique date; students will be given a buddy and a timeline in which they must receive and provide a full critique of each other's novels.