If you’re serious about revising and polishing your novel to get it ready for publication, consider the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) taught by Gayle Brandeis. Whether you live in the Swiss Alps or in Santa Monica, California, this first-of-its-kind program, combining nine months of master-level instruction online with a four-day residency in Los Angeles, just might be the perfect choice for you.

Program Representative Corey Campbell explains how the Writers’ Program’s 2009-2010 Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) differs from other novel writing programs.

Writers’ Program: The Writers’ Program is offering an online, low-residency Master Class in Novel Writing for the first time this fall. Can you explain how that works and how it differs from previous master classes in novel writing offered by the Writers’ Program?

Corey Campbell: Previously, the Writers’ Program has offered onsite Master Classes in Novel Writing in which students met with teachers one evening a week for three hours over the course of nine months. Our new low-residency format breaks that structure by putting the bulk of the course online. Instead of meeting in a physical classroom each week, the eight students and the instructor will gather and workshop online—which opens the door for students from all over the world and allows them great flexibility. Then, a four-day residency component allows the class to come together in person roughly two-thirds of the way through the class.

WP: How does the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) differ from an MFA program?

CC: The Master Class in Novel Writing is a condensed, nine-month program focused on honing one novel manuscript, taking it from draft stage to finished work ready to be sent into the marketplace. Of course, it’s not a degree program. MFA programs, on the other hand, are years-long focused tracks that often include a strong reading/annotation element, with the terminal goal being both a portfolio of finished work and that degree. Many MFA programs have tracks for fiction (short story and novel), nonfiction, and poetry—so it’s a wider spectrum of writing. The Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) is perfect for a novel-writing student who doesn’t want to commit years (and money) to an MFA program but who wants to pour his/her focus into his/her novel over a nine-month period with the same small group of classmates.

WP: What advice would you give to a student who is deciding between the Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) and an MFA program?

CC: That whole Shakespeare line—”to thine own self be true…” Keep in mind that writing is an art form, and a method that’s great for one writer may be completely wrong for someone else. In practical terms, though, consider the time and financial commitment. If you want to devote less than a year towards perfecting your novel, the Master Class is the way to go.

WP: What happens during the four-day low-residency?

CC: In the four-day residency, the eight students and their instructor meet each day to workshop pages and engage in exercises designed to focus on and strengthen different aspects of their novels. It’s a great bonding experience for students. Then each evening an activity is planned, including a guest speaker, a field trip, and a reading at a local bookstore. Students take advantage of the literary life of Los Angeles.


The deadline to submit a manuscript for the 2009-10 Master Class in Novel Writing (Online/Low-Residency) is August 17. For more information, click here, call (310) 825-9415, or send us an email at writers@uclaextension.edu

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