Starting your first novel is an act of courage, and starting your sixth isn’t much easier. Jennifer Haigh is the author five novels, each of which nearly killed her. She is also the author of three unfinished and unfinishable manuscripts that will never see the light of day. In this session she’ll discuss what worked and what didn’t. Topics will include:
- How to set up your writing life
- How to tell the difference between a novel and a short story
- The most important choice a novelist makes
- Plot vs. causality
- Reading while you write
- The mistake everyone makes
- When to give up, and how to survive it
- Why the second novel is hardest
- What to do on days when nothing comes
The class will offer a mix of craft lecture and in-class writing. Bring an idea for a novel, a laptop or notebook and all your questions about novel-craft. Whether you have a brand-new idea for a novel or have been working on one for years, you can expect to leave with concrete strategies to move your project forward.
Jennifer Haigh is a novelist and short story writer. Her most recent book, the novel HEAT AND LIGHT, won a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was named a Best Book of 2016 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and NPR. Her previous books include FAITH, THE CONDITION, BAKER TOWERS and MRS. KIMBLE, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction, and the short story collection NEWS FROM HEAVEN, winner of the Massachusetts Book Award and the PEN New England Award in Fiction. Her short stories have been published in Granta, Electric Literature, The Best American Short Stories and many other places. A native of western Pennsylvania and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.