Friday, June 23, 2006

Zette Gifford's Two-Year Novel Course

I highly recommend this book. I've been taking this course in its on-line format via Forward Motion. Zette is a very gifted teacher and writer, and using her course has helped me better organize my own writing process. This is a bit of an odd review as I haven't actually read the book, but I know its content from the course. I started the course just a couple of weeks before I found out I was pregnant, and I chose Soz as the novel I was going to write in the course. Well, then Drew came along and made it very difficult to actually write the novel during the course, but this course prodded the Muse into high-gear regarding Velorin and the novel ideas I have for that world. Keep in mind that this is an idea that I had been trying to coax into bloom for two years without luck.

The first part of the course is geared toward intensive worldbuilding. I still haven't addressed all the factors she mentions, but they're there in the back of my mind, percolating and simmering and gathering juice for a richer world. One of the best things about the course is that Zette is adamant about her students finding their own best process. She provides several different approaches to writing a novel, focusing of course on the one that works best for her but offering ways it can be adjusted to suit individual writing needs. The exercises for the worldbuilding part of the course were very helpful in solidifying the ideas I had for Velorin and in making my world even richer.

In short, the course has helped me break 60K, think ahead enough so I'm not writing completely in the dark, develop a rich background, tease out characters, and generate a more cohesive and coherent approach to writing a novel. And that was just in the first year, which is the material on which this book is based. Stay tuned for the second year's material in a second book.

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