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Putting the Pen to the Page: Drafting Your Novel in One Year (Ongoing class)

August 31, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on January 19, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on February 2, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on February 16, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on March 2, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on March 16, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on May 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on June 1, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on June 29, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on July 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm

One event on August 31, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Kristen-Paige Madonia

Instructor: Kristen-Paige Madonia
$1,399* Members | $1,399* Nonmembers
Select Tuesdays, 1/5/21 – 8/31/21** | 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM
*Payment plans will be available to students accepted into this program.


Putting the Pen to the Page is an opportunity for writers to study the craft of creative writing, share and workshop portions of their novel manuscript, provide and receive constructive criticism, and work with a published author at an MFA-level of instruction as they write their way through the generative process of drafting their novel manuscript. This yearlong intensive program will offer support and structure by helping students establish goals and writing habits while working to meet monthly deadlines. Work in any genre is accepted, and writers of all levels are welcome to apply.

Whether you have already made substantial headway on your novel or are just beginning to gather ideas, your classroom community will provide the structure, companionship, feedback and emotional support to help you complete the first draft of your novel in one academic year.


This generative writing class is designed to help students complete the first draft of their novel manuscripts during the course of the traditional nine-month academic calendar, January 2021 through September 2021. We will meet twice a month for the first three months and once a month for the remainder of the course, skipping the month of April for spring break and one-on-one conferences with the instructor. In addition to these eleven meetings, you will receive reading and writing assignments and prompts via email during the weeks we do not meet, and, if possible, the class will conclude with an outdoor public reading and graduation hosted by WriterHouse. Each student will also receive two 30-minute one-on-one conferences with the instructor; one in April to discuss their projects, and one in September to help establish their goals as they move out of the classroom environment and into the revision or submission/query process.

The first three months of class will be craft focused and will include short lectures by the instructor; we will discuss the primary elements of creative writing and read published excerpts and craft essays. Each meeting will also include generative in-class writing assignments to help students explore their story in new ways and get to know their characters more thoroughly.

Beginning May 2021, the remainder of our meetings will be an MFA-level writing workshop focused on providing constructive criticism for each writer. Students will submit their work to the group twice and will receive a detailed feedback letter from the instructor outlining the strengths of the piece submitted and commenting on opportunities for growth and improvement during revision. In turn, students will provide typed comments for each submission shared.

Additionally, each month students will submit a one-page “process letter” to the instructor sharing information about their goals and progress, struggles and triumphs, for that month.

All classes will be held on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 pm, and the first class will meet January 5th. Meeting sessions are approximately two and a half hours long, and required texts will be announced soon.

**Meeting Dates:
January 5, January 19, February 2, February 16, March 2, March 16, May 4, June 1, June 29, July 27, August 31 (dates subject to change if necessary)

Who Should Take This Class?
• Those working toward the goal of completing a full draft of a full-length novel.
• Writers seeking structure and support during the novel-writing process.
• Writers, published or not, interested in intensifying their commitment to their current work in progress; those working on first draft work AND those working on revisions.
• Writers seeking exercise-based exploration – writing exercises will play a large role during the first half of the course. These exercises will ground you in your work and create an atmosphere of creative play. Exercises put craft discussions into practice on the page and foster the development of community when the work is shared and discussed.
• Writers who respond well to deadlines – workshop readings and critiques will be the sole mode of exploring storytelling during the second half of the course. I expect you to show up prepared to contribute to our conversations every time we meet. The class will only be as strong as you make it, and that means fully committing to the classroom community. You will be responsible for meeting your deadlines and honoring each students’ investment.
• Writers looking to discover, cultivate and develop their own voices through storytelling. There will be no censoring of genre or subject matter. This will be an inclusive community focused on strengthening each student’s passion, drive and creative work.
• Writers searching for a community that will extend past the completion of this course. My hope is that you find long-term readers and colleagues through this class.
• Writers seeking empowerment – this class will empower you to embrace the joys and challenges of completing your novel and seeking publication.

Application Information:
This class will be limited to eight students, and students will be asked to submit a 10-page writing sample to be reviewed by the instructor prior to registration. The sample can be a short story or novel excerpt. Email the writing sample to programs@writerhouse.org.

$100 nonrefundable deposit is due at the time of application. The deposit may be paid via the PayPal button on this page (will include additional $3 for PayPal fees). Or, you may mail the writing sample and deposit check to WriterHouse at P.O. Box 222, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Deposits will be applied to the cost of tuition for students who are accepted to this program.

Application Deadline extended to December 8th; acceptances will be emailed by December 18th. Upon acceptance, the remaining balance of the tuition will be due. Payment plans will be available for students accepted in this program; the first payment will be due on 12/28/20.

Please note, this program is for novelists who are prepared to make a strong commitment to their work; students will be expected to participate in the entire year-long program.

Following the completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to purchase additional editing services from the instructor at the following discounted rates.

  • Full manuscript review up to 275 pages – $2800
  • Partial manuscript review of 125 pages – $1400
  • Partial manuscript review of 65 pages – $680

Additional information available upon request.

About the Instructor:

Kristen-Paige Madonia is the author of the young adult novels INVISIBLE FAULT LINES (2016) and FINGERPRINTS OF YOU (2012), both published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Hailed by Judy Blume as “A remarkable young novelist,” Madonia was the 2012 D. H. Lawrence Fellow, and her short fiction has appeared in such publications as the Greensboro Review, Five Chapters, the New Orleans Review, and American Fiction. She has received fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Hambidge Center, the Vermont Studio Center, Juniper Summer Writing Institute, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Studios of Key West. She was the 2010 recipient of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival award and was granted the Marianne Russo Fellowship to attend the 2008 Key West Literary Seminar. She holds an MFA from California State University, Long Beach and teaches creative writing at James Madison University, Goochland County High School, and WriterHouse. She lives in Charlottesville, VA and is a Faculty Mentor with the University of Nebraska’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program.



August 31, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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508 Dale Avenue
Charlottesville, 22902 United States
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