4-Week: Novel Bootcamp IV--Your Novel's Voice


Writing a novel (or memoir) is a huge undertaking. Chances are pretty good that you occasionally find yourself overwhelmed by the project, lost, wondering if you started in the right place, unsure if you know how to find the right ending, confused about just who your characters are, and daunted by the challenge of making your book stand out among all the other books out there. Don’t worry; help is here. The “Bootcamp” is a four-part series of four-week workshops designed to help you get a handle on the process. Take a single part or all four parts—each part lasts four weeks, with in-class discussion, lecture, writing exercises, and homework. Learn how to get started, how to organize and improve what you already have created, how to focus your voice, and, most importantly, how to finish your book! (Memoirists will find that the material in this class applies equally well to creating a memoir—the basics of crafting a book-length dramatic tale are the same for novels and memoirs.) Taught by William Haywood Henderson, MA, who has slogged his way through three published novels and who, to this day, continues to slog daily.

What participants are saying about the bootcamp:

“For two years I had an idea for a novel-length story building in my head. I did research, wrote down ideas, imagined scenes. By the second year it became a mammoth of imagination and entirely unapproachable. Then I saw that Lighthouse was offering a class titled Novel Bootcamp. Something that could help me break down the monster in my head into manageable pieces! Through this class I came to know in detail my characters, setting, and the arc of my story. I have an opening and 148 pages of a rough draft. It is the best class I’ve taken in five years.”—Christie Lips

“The materials, exercises, and instructor insights in this series of classes nudged me along, challenged my creative process, and pointed my story in the right direction.”—Ken Lutes

“In August, I had nothing more than an idea and did not feel qualified to even look at any class with ‘novel’ in the title. Emerging from the other side of this four-part series, I now have a working title, a fully-developed idea of the characters, a complete story arc, and even a handful of pages. The in-class discussions provide a lot of inspiration and the exercises really excited my imagination about my characters and the story. While the substance of the series is really helpful, Bill’s mix of patience, encouragement, and humor made it truly enjoyable. Even if you were not planning on ‘writing a novel,’ don’t miss these classes!”—Bridget McNeil

Here is how the bootcamp is broken down (if you hope to take all four parts, sign up early, as the classes fill up fast):

Part I: Your Story – Whether you have a strong story idea already in play or are still struggling to figure out what will happen, we’ll work to sharpen your idea and find the aspects that will be the most original and dramatic and, equally important, that will fully engage you in the long process of writing. We’ll start with your characters, making them rich and intriguing, find the elements of each character’s past that give meaning (and dramatic drive) to the present, and zero in on the possibilities for dramatic tension. From a clear sense of who your characters are, how they’re employed, what they want, what they do in their daily lives, they will come the core of your plot and a series of possible subplots.    

Part II: Your Novel’s World – Your characters don’t live in a vacuum, with no jobs, no landscape beyond the confines of their homes, no sense of the time period or history or community or planet they inhabit. We’ll explore your book’s world, from the scent of the air to the grid of the streets, from the politics to the art. Each layer of richness you discover will open possibilities for the meaning and metaphor necessary to give your novel or memoir the depth and richness it requires. Your characters will inhabit a very specific world, and that world will challenge and shape your characters in unexpected, dramatic ways.

Part III: Your Novel’s Arc – Your story needs character change, a complex plot, intriguing dynamics, and oh so many other things. In this part of the series we’ll pull from your characters, situations, plot ideas, and book’s world to explore the possibilities for dynamic change over the arc of your story. Some might argue that nothing needs to change as long as interesting things happen along the way—people who make this argument are quite possibly misguided.

Part IV: Finding the Ideal Voice for Your Novel – No matter how well you’ve organized the material for your novel (or memoir), you still need to find the best way to tell your tale. This part of the series focuses on point of view, voice, vision, tense, psychic distance, language, etc., trying to answer the basic questions of who is telling the story, where the story is being told from, why the story is important, what will set the voice apart, and who the audience will be. You will share various openings of your book, with the goal of finding the best way to tell the story you’ve laid out.

Upcoming Sessions:
  • Spring 2017
    Instructor: William Haywood Henderson, MA
    Starts: 04/19/2017
    Time(s): 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    Cost: $195.00 members / $220.00 non-members
    Location: RM. 301 (The Attic) - Lighthouse Writers Workshop
    1515 Race Street, Denver, CO 80206
    [map] [Add To Cart]

Interested in this offering, but can’t make it this time around? Is the class already full? You can be notified when a new section of 4-Week: Novel Bootcamp IV--Your Novel's Voice is added.

We can also notify you of new classes from William Haywood Henderson, MA.