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Kickstarting Your Novel with Robert Anthony Siegel. Nov.18–20, 2022 is a Course

Kickstarting Your Novel with Robert Anthony Siegel. Nov.18–20, 2022

Time limit: 100 days

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Full course description




Kickstarting Your Novel (Weekend Workshop)

Robert Anthony Siegel, Instructor 



Friday, November 18–Sunday, November 20, 2022

Introductory Meeting and Overview, Friday on Zoom:

  • 7:00–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time
  • 8:00–9:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • 5:00–6:00 p.m. Pacific Time
  • 6:00–7:00 p.m. Mountain Time

 Workshop Meetings, Saturday and Sunday on Zoom:

  • 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time
  • 12:00–5:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Pacific Time
  • 10:00 a.m.–3:00 a.m. Mountain Time

Saturday and Sunday meetings include a one-hour break. Class meets for four hours each day.


Fee: $350


Course Description

You have all the ingredients for a great novel: a wonderful story to tell, fascinating characters to follow, and a compelling world to explore. Perhaps you’ve already written some pages and watched the sparks fly as your characters come together in all the complicated ways that real people do. The question now is how to make your novel work over hundreds of pages—and keep the reader turning those pages.

The answer is structure.

Structure includes plot but reaches beyond plot to include basic decisions about which parts of your story to tell in scene and which parts to summarize in exposition—and in what order those elements should come. Structure creates a clearly marked road map for the writer to follow.

This online weekend bootcamp is designed to help you figure out how to create a structure for your novel. Through a combination of lecture, discussion, and in-class creative exercises you will be invited to share with the group, we will:

  • Explore the desires that drive your most important characters to act
  • Understand how the conflict that starts with your protagonist creates your plot
  • Experience how scene works as a dramatic unit, and how it combines with exposition to cover large spans of time
  • Make decisions about which parts of your story to tell in scene
  • Explore the idea of character arc, in which characters struggle and change in response to events

At the end of this course, you will have:

  • A clear statement of what your protagonist wants, what stands in the way, and how this conflict is ultimately resolved at the end
  • A plot outline
  • A scene list
  • A character arc for your protagonist



Robert Anthony Siegel is the author of a memoir, Criminals, and two novels, All the Money in the World and All Will Be Revealed. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesSmithsonianThe Paris Review, and other magazines. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan and a Mombukagakusho Fellow in Japan. Other awards include O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes. Robert is an associate professor in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he teaches fiction and nonfiction. Visit his webpage at 


Registration & Fees

The fee for this course is $350. Payment in full is required to register.

Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Class size is limited to 10.

Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI Writing—Magid Center.”

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment in a Festival class, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only offer full refunds if you cancel one week prior to the start of class. After that, before the start date of class, we can offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has begun.

Terms & Community Policy

1.    The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a program for adults. You must be at least 18 years old to enroll in Festival workshops.


2.    The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a community built on an assumption of shared enterprise, in the spirit of mutual respect. We reserve the right to a) revoke the registration of or b) dismiss from the program any person who disrupts the learning/working environment of others. Participants in the Festival are subject to all University of Iowa policies governing conduct in our community, whether online or in person.




Contact the Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Phone: (319) 335-4160.

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