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Anyone can start a book; that’s when it’s fun, exciting, all possibility and no problems. For about fifty pages the thing practically writes itself–and then something happens. Narrative difficulties emerge and accumulate. Doubt creeps in. You falter, or quit altogether.
This is not merely a common experience among writers of all levels of experience and accomplishment; it’s a universal one. The writers who succeed and bring their books in for a landing share two things in common: they prioritize their work over everything else, and they utilize common strategies for dealing with the roadblocks we all encounter.
In this course we will tackle both craft and writing-life problems, with an emphasis on thinking and behaving as a novelist, regardless of what one does to put food on the table. This entails, among other things, protecting one’s time, treating writing as seriously as any other kind of work (sounds obvious, but it’s remarkable how difficult it can be, in the rush of life), and writing what one wants to regardless of how it might be received by readers/family/etc. In addition, we’ll study John Gardner’s seminal text On Becoming a Novelist, as well as workshop early chapters from participants’ own books.
Instructor: Ron Currie Jr.
Ron Currie is a novelist and screenwriter. A native Mainer, his work has been translated into 15 languages, and has won the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alex Award from the American Library Association, and the Pushcart Prize. As a screenwriter he's worked, most recently, on the Apple TV+ series EXTRAPOLATIONS, scheduled for release in 2022. His short fiction, nonfiction, essays and criticism have been published in the New York Times, Salon, The Believer, The Chicago Tribune, and many other venues.