A while back, the CreateSpace blog posted an article describing an intriguing thought exercise. Here’s their summary of the exercise:
“Here’s the assignment. Imagine, if you will, that you are a teacher, and you’ve been asked to develop a syllabus for a class on how to be a successful novelist. You won’t just be teaching your students about writing, although that will be a part of it. You will be teaching them about rewriting, editing, branding, marketing, etc. Anything and everything you can think of that makes up the job of today’s novelist.
Here’s the best part, you get to decide which section counts the most in your fictional class. You have 100% autonomy on this project because you aren’t required to show it to anyone. This is simply an assignment to suss out what you truly think makes a novelist.”
I tried this exercise once already, back in September as I was working through my beta reader comments on Grigory’s Gadget. Now that I’m nearing publication, I thought I would give it another go. Here’s my revised syllabus below:
Where to Start: 10%
Brainstorming, determining if you are a “plotter” or a “pantser”, writing prompts, getting words on paper
Where to end: 10%
Working through your plot, how to finish your novel, how to write a final scene
I hate my first draft, now what? Becoming objective with regard to your story, working with critique partners and beta readers
Editing the Big Things: 15%
Plot and character consistency, tone consistency, head-hopping, genre standards
Editing the Little Things: 10%
Sentence structure, grammar, spelling
Helpful Professionals: 20%
Agents, publishing houses, cover designers, professional editors…which should I use and how do I find the right one(s)?
How to build your author brand and start communicating with potential readers
Discoverability, how to connect to readers and grow your audience
What do you think? How would you make this syllabus different?