Novel Writing Workshop

Novel Writing GraphicThe first undergraduate workshop of its kind in the nation, HONOR 3850 involves student writers in the daily process and discipline of writing prose, what Flannery O’Connor calls “the habit of being.” This includes creating a silence that “revives listening,” and getting knee-deep in the fundamental elements of prose which include point of view, character, language and tone, conflict, structure, space and time, plot, seven directional perception, scene, dialogue, retrospective, stream of consciousness writing, magical realism, and the ferocious power of the word.

We ask: Who am I? Why am I?–writing is our vehicle on the road to such truth. Writers are asked to commit to a daily 2-3 hour regimen of straight-forward drafting and construct a space for this work. A company of virtual visiting writers–published novelists all–are on call for weekly email consultations, and the professor (who writes a novel along with his student writers) holds weekly one-on-one consultations. Student writers have the opportunity to work as editors for a professional publishing house, in exchange for having their novels considered for publication. During our year together, we make the profound leap of faith necessary to be willing to write a novel. This class is not for the faint of heart.

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Course Schedule – 9 credit hours total*

Fall 2020 Spring 2021
HONOR 3850 – Novel Writing Workshop
Fridays 2-5pm
HONOR 3850 – Novel Writing Workshop
Fridays 2-5pm

*Students will complete 3 of the 8 required courses for an Honors degree through this workshop.

Fast Facts

  • A year-long engagement with the novel writing process intended to result in an original manuscript
  • Manuscript could be polished toward an Honors Thesis
  • Students are encouraged not enroll concurrently in another writing class as they are expected to write ten pages per week for HONOR 3850
  • A full-length novel (250-400 pages) due in lieu of exams at end of spring term
  • Restricted to Sophomore, Junior or Senior Honors students admitted by permission of professor

How to Apply

This course runs every other year.

The application process has concluded for this, the 2020-21 cycle.

  1. Email Dr. Michael Gills as soon as possible to set up an interview. You must email Professor Gills by FEBRUARY 28TH, 2020.
  2. Include the following in your email:
    1. Short bio, 50 words or less, where you also address what you love
    2. Include your year, major, previous writing classes, creative writing experience and a few sentences regarding a potential writing project
  3. Interviews will be held the two weeks following spring break
  4. Ten students will be chosen and notified soon after interviewing and notified late March
  5. Students selected will sign a formal commitment and do required readings over the summer
  6. Students who successfully complete the fall term will be able to re-enroll for Spring 2021