Fundamentals of Novel Writing


The Fundamentals of Novel Writing workshop starts with a professional evaluation of your story idea and takes you through the development of the plot, characters, physical setting, and other elements of your novel. By the time you complete the workshop, you’ll have a detailed working outline and the first 10,000 words of your novel. I’ll give you professional feedback and practical advice at every step of the way.

Here’s what you’ll get when you enroll in the workshop:

1. A Guidebook with the following topics:

  • Section 1: Evaluate Your Story Idea. Before you start writing your novel, you’ll have to make decisions about the kind of story you want to write, your targeted audience, and the major elements of your story. I’ll help you make the right decisions now so you won’t get bogged down halfway through the writing of your novel. Using a template from the workshop’s Guidebook, you’ll tell me about your story idea. In fact, you can send me up to three story ideas. If you send more than one, I’ll let you know which one I think you should go with. I’ll also tell you how to maximize the story’s potential and how to avoid hitting snags and pitfalls.
  • Section 2: Characters. The characters are the vehicles through which the reader will experience the story. I’ll show you how to make sure your major characters come alive on the page, and how to keep your minor characters from taking over the story. As your assignment for Section 2, you’ll send me a list of your major characters and the most important supporting characters. You’ll include summary information about their physical descriptions, personalities, and their roles in the story.
  • Section 3: Plot. The plot of your novel is the story line, the series of events that unfold and collectively tell the story. The success or failure of most novels depends largely on how well the plot is developed. I’ll show you how to use the five elements of plot to build a successful story and how to create a sense of anticipation that will keep the reader turning pages. You’ll prepare a brief summary of your plot for my review.
  • Section 4: Viewpoint. Viewpoint can make or break your novel, yet it often gets minimal coverage in novel writing workshops and books about writing. It’s the single most important tool for bringing your scenes and characters to life. I’ll help you make sure you’ve made the right decisions about viewpoint before you start writing. Using the list of characters you prepared for Assignment 2, you’ll tell me which of those characters will have viewpoint roles, and why.
  • Section 5: Develop a Working Outline of Your Novel. By now you’ve learned about the major elements of writing a novel, and you’ve made some important decisions about your own. It’s time to get down to serious work. Using a model and instructions from the Guidebook, you’ll prepare either a detailed scene-by-scene outline or an overview of your story (you can decide which) and send it to me for review. I’ll make sure you have a strong plot with enough conflicts and complications to carry a novel-length story.
  • Section 6: Dialogue. Dialogue flows out of the nature of the character and reveals that character to the reader. I’ll show you how to make sure the dialogue in your story sounds authentic, that it’s consistent with the characters’ personalities, and that it reveals what characters are feeling and thinking. As your assignment, you’ll complete several exercises which cover various aspects of dialogue.
  • Section 7: Background Events. Background events set the stage for your story. I’ll show you how to bring background events into the story without cluttering up your story or distracting the reader from the central issues. Your assignment will be to send me a summary of the important background events and elements that will have to be worked into your story.
  • Section 8: Physical Setting. Details of physical setting will build a sense of location and ambience around the characters and events of your story. I’ll show you how to use various techniques to bring in the physical setting, and how to use sights, sounds, and smells to breathe life into your scenes. Your assignment will be to prepare a list of the most important physical settings of your novel, and explain why those particular settings are pertinent to your story.
  • Section 9: Scene Development. You’ll learn how to allow the reader to experience the events of your novel rather than merely read about them. You’ll also learn how to focus the reader’s attention onto the important elements of a scene. Now that you’ve studied novel-writing techniques, you’ll analyze a published novel of your choice, paying attention to how the author used various techniques.
  • Section 10: Start Writing! Now you’re ready to get down to some serious writing. You’ll write the first 10,000 words of your novel and send it to me for my detailed critique. I’ll let you know how you’re handling plot movement, characters, story line, viewpoint, and scene development. This will help you correct any problems before you get too far into your novel. After you’ve made revisions based on my critique, you’ll send the new draft back to me for a follow-up review.

2. My professional guidance at every step.

    Each section of the workshop includes an assignment which you’ll complete and send to me via email. I’ll review or critique each assignment, giving you the kind of practical, detailed feedback you need to make sure you stay on track and write a successful novel.

3. My 30-Day No Risk Guarantee.

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Send me an email or call me at (505) 401-1021. I’m usually in my office weekdays from 9 to 6 (U.S. Mountain time zone).

Ready to get started?

Enroll in the Greenleaf Online Writing Workshops. Payment can be made via personal check, credit card, or PayPal. I’ll send you the workshop materials as MS Word or PDF files, and you’ll be on your way! Don’t forget about my 30-Day No Risk Guarantee.

William Greenleaf
Greenleaf Online Writing Workshops
6003 Redondo Sierra Vista NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144

Phone: (505) 401-1021
Fax: (505) 435-9001

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