right here, write now

Creating the Novel: A Seven-Week Writing Seminar

Creating the Novel

This seminar is for aspiring and mid-career writers hoping to pursue a publishing career. Topics include concept, character, structure, plotting, scenes, and narrative tools. Each session includes an hour of instruction and an hour’s critique of a student manuscript by the instructor and students. The class is limited to six attendees.

The seminar is designed to deepen students’ abilities to evaluate their writing and storytelling with an eye to marketplace considerations as well as compelling fictional elements.

Comments from past students:

“Inspiring! Includes knowledge on everything from the writing life to the entire process of creating your best and destined novel. Kay is a wonderful facilitator for all, beginners through published authors. Really hoping to experience this again!” — Susan

“I feel so prepared and encouraged to revise my current work and to start another novel. And I feel connected to others following their own writing paths.” –Marlene

DATES: Sessions will be held every other Wednesday, February 12 through May 6.

TIME: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

PLACE: Kay’s home in Wenatchee

COST: $300


•   Please apply to attend. (See below: “To Apply for the Class”) (Instructor will try to group students by experience level.)

•   Membership in Write on the River. Join here.

•   Must be 18 years of age or older.

•   Have the first 30 pages (or up to 40) of a novel ready to share with the group.

•   For each session, commit to reading 30-40 pages of a classmate’s manuscript and share reactions in class.

•   Attend all sessions and be open to all fiction genres.

CANCELLATION IF NEEDED: We will have to cancel the class if it’s not filled by January 12.


Kay Kenyon is the author of fifteen novels. Her latest work is a trilogy from Simon & Schuster. She is a founding member of Write on the River and has taught at PNWA and Willamette Writers Conference as well as WOTR, among others.  More about Kay here.


 February 12. Concept and the foundation of story.

What is a story, and why do we read them? We consider the fundamentals of the novel in the broadest sense, considering questions of concept, theme, character and originality.

February 26. The engine of the novel: Character.

What makes a major character memorable? A look at inner journey, relation to plot problem, personality, backstory and character growth.

March 11. The shape of the novel: Acts, meaning, and movement.

The four stages of character arc and how they relate to the plot. The mission of each act lights the way to your major character’s choices on the journey. How structure guides pacing and rising intensity.

March 25. Plot development.

A closer look at the set-up stage of your novel and how major turning points guide us. A consideration of setting and the forces of opposition.

April 8. Narrative strategy. (This date may be adjusted if the class wishes.)

Strategies to keep the story compelling with tools such as classic openings, subplots and flashbacks. We’ll drill down on approaches to to  scene-building.

April 22. Narrative techniques.

We’ll concentrate on two of the most important tools of the novel: point of view and dialogue. A consideration of the uses of mystery and surprise and delivery of information.

May 6. Revision and staying on target.

Principles of story revision. Assessing feedback. We’ll learn some diagnostics to use in evaluating needed changes. Lastly, we’ll discover some tracking tools that will keep us from getting lost in the novel.

TO APPLY FOR THE CLASS: (Deadline is December 30th)

•   Send an email to Kay at tko@kaykenyon.com with the following:

  1. A brief description of your writing experience, your career hopes and whether you are interested in traditional or indie publishing.
  2. Your novel’s genre and title,
  3. Whether it is a children’s, middle grade or adult novel.
  4. Fifteen consecutive pages of your novel as a Word attachment. Use 12 pt Times New Roman font, double space, one-inch margins, and put your name on every page. To make your excerpt easier to read, please use standard manuscript format. (Explained here.)

•   Deadline for receipt of your email with the above information: January 10th.

NOTE: please put the instructor’s email in your contact list to facilitate communications.

•   Date by which we’ll notify applicants if they’ve been selected to participate in the class: January 12th.

•   Students will be sent a payment link to submit payment on approximately January 15th.

•   At that time if you are not yet a member, you’ll need to join Write on the River.


Thank you for your interest! If you have questions, you can contact Kay at tko@kaykenyon.com.