A Novel in Four Drafts Online Course


Every draft of a novel can be more than just another version of the manuscript. It can be an ongoing evolution that keeps improving with each stage until the work is finally the best version of itself. Writers in all stages of production will benefit from this detailed and engaging look at the writing and revision process. Participants in this course will learn what they should focus on for each draft, techniques for effective editing, and how to complete that book that never seems to be good enough.

Each week, instructor Lindsay Schopfer will host a live, one-hour, video group chat via Zoom which participants can attend by following a link provided in a private, e-mailed invitation. For those who can’t attend these chats live, all presentations will be recorded and posted on a private page where all students can view them at their convenience until the end of the month. Students will also have access to Lindsay via e-mail for any questions they may have on the craft of writing during the course.

 Week One: The First Draft – Just Get It Down

No amount of dreaming will make a first draft happen. It takes effort, time, and dedication to create the raw material that will eventually become a finished story. Participants in this class will learn how to handle writers block, how to postpone the need to edit, and how to course-correct midway through the process.

Week Two: The Second Draft – Making the Big Changes

It’s a mistake to call a story done after the first draft. In reality, the majority of the work of creation is still ahead of you. Participants in this class will learn how to evaluate the manuscript as a whole, how to decide between cutting and changing, and when to move on.

Week Three: The Third Draft – All the Little Details

The first draft is written for the writer’s sake, all subsequent drafts are for the reader’s. Participants in this course will learn how to troubleshoot for a variety of narrative issues, including continuity errors, plot holes, logic errors, and showing vs. telling.

Week Four: The Fourth Draft – One Sentence at a Time

After all the major editing has been finished, there’s a temptation to call a story done and move on. But even a fantastic story will suffer if the reader has to fight through a messy narrative to get to it. In this class, participants will learn tips on proofreading, how to avoid “author blindness”, and how to recruit and select additional readers.