We’re delighted to release our first English elective course: Novel Writing for students ages 11-18. Writing a novel is an ambitious project for most adults, but we know that — with the right instruction and coaching — middle school and high school students are up to the challenge.
In this course, our students will learn foundational creative writing strategies, build confidence and a unique writing voice, and create their very own novel.
Students Learn the Foundational Skills for Novel Writing
Our curriculum team approached the course design with character development as the foundational skill that drives a novel’s plot. Students will start the course by learning what makes a plausible protagonist and antagonist, including how to:
- generate objectives for their two central characters
- write character portraits exploring each character’s personality and eccentricities
- generate the conflict in their narrative from a major obstacle to their protagonist’s objective
Along the way, students will also learn about:
- narrative structure
- setting description
- plot creation
- dialogue craft
Students will apply the skills they’re learning in novel-drafting modules, during which they’ll write chronological scenes of their novel’s plot in response to carefully crafted writing prompts. The prompts are designed to encourage students to write their narratives chronologically — from stasis, rising action, and conflict, to falling action and resolution.
Students Finish the Class With a Completed Project
As with all Juni courses, instructors will progress through the curriculum at the student’s pace. However, unlike other Juni courses, a student needs to hit a certain completion percentage in their novel at a specified benchmark module before moving on in the curriculum. This encourages students to get words on the page and cultivate the focus required to write for long stretches of time without distraction.
At the beginning of each session, students will share with their instructors a section of their novel and receive feedback. By regularly sharing their creative work with a trusted mentor, students will gain confidence in their writing ability.
To accommodate students with different levels of commitment to the course, we’ve designed the first module to be a goal-setting module in which students discuss their availability, favorite works of fiction, and personal goals. In this module, students will also select their target word count: a 20,000+ word novel, a 15,000-word novella, a 10,000-word novelette, or a 7,500-word short story.
Through goal setting, students will practice metacognitive skills such as reflection, self-assessment, and accountability. If your student enrolls in Novel Writing, their instructor will communicate their target word count goal to you in the session notes after the first session.
Besides writing a novel, this English elective is an excellent supplement to traditional English/Language Arts curricula. Creative writing is an ideal project-based approach to English/Language Arts because it requires students to apply details they’ve been learning to their writing. The basic principle is that if students can use a skill they have learned, they will remember that skill. For example, if they can write an original story that suggests a theme, then inferring the theme of any story they read will be much more intuitive! Plus, creative writing is a great way to get students authentically interested in reading and writing at school.
Ready to Start Writing?
We encourage students who are ready to take on their novel to enroll in our Novel Writing course — we can’t wait to read the work of our aspiring Juni authors!