Imaginative Writing II: Novels



Course Number




Course Description

"The things that people really do and really mean and really feel are almost impossible for them to describe, but these are the very things which are most important about them: These things control them and that is where reality is. What one tries to do in a novel is to show this reality." — James Baldwin

"When she was writing a novel, living deep inside a fictional world, the days got jumbled together, and entire weeks or months or even years would yield to the ebb and flow of the dream. . . Fiction had its own time and logic. That was its power." — Ruth Ozeki

Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Have you ever wanted to create a fictional world that shows a reality you have imagined and felt? Have you ever wanted to get lost in the ebb and flow of a story, following wherever it leads you? Then this is the class for you. We will spend the first month of our class reading three short novels and a book on writing, doing writing exercises, and preparing our novel-writing muscles for a second month of writing and writing and writing our 50,000-word novels—even the teacher of the class. We will explore multiple ways to create characters, do research, write dialogue, describe a scene or a series of events, shape a story, tell a story from certain points-of-view, move through or alter time, and take readers on imaginative and realistic journeys that sometimes fulfill and sometimes frustrate their desires. Along the way we will explore something of the history of novels and the multiple ways in which novels have evolved into their current forms. We will also push the boundaries of the genre, encouraging each other to take risks, to try new things, and to discover what happens when you immerse yourself in the madness, delirium, passion, challenge, and illumination of writing such a long story. Bring your muse, bring your imagination, bring your desire to lose yourself in a flurry of words that may take you to places you have never even dreamed of. At the heart of it all will be our collective efforts to inspire each other to write with abandon, purpose, passion, and joy. Please join us in this novel adventure.


FAIR 222G or FAIR 222H, creative writing course, or instructor permission.

Materials Fee


Required Texts

Walter Mosley, This Year You Write Your Novel

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Raven Leilani, Luster

Justin Torres, We the Animals


S/NX grading; narrative evaluation.

Faithful attendance. Active participation in class discussions, in-class writing exercises, small group work, presentations, and writing workshops. Completion of reflection essays, character studies, and a draft of a 50,000-word novel.


Fall 2023

Course Instructor(s)

Stan Tag

Course Subject