Novel Boot Camp: Free Novel Writing Course & Workshop in July

16771863247_55acf2edd5_oNeed help with your novel? Join the third annual Novel Boot Camp and whip your story into shape!

What is Novel Boot Camp?

Novel Boot Camp is a free writing course and workshop for aspiring novelists. It includes daily video lectures, discussion questions, a Q&A session, and two writing workshops with both professional and peer critiques.

This year I’ll be moving from text-based lectures to video lectures. You can view the videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel, but if you’d like to ask questions, answer the discussion questions, or participate in the workshops, please follow this blog so you receive updates to your email.

I’m really excited about this year’s topics, which include:

  • Writing Strong Protagonists
  • Novel Structure & Plot Points
  • Scene Structure
  • Active & Reactive Scenes
  • And more!

The Schedule

4926954971_1a10788d3b_oJuly 1, Friday: Welcome Party & First Workshop

We’ll kick off Novel Boot Camp and submissions will open for the first workshop. During Workshop #1 I will be critiquing your novel openings and providing a brief paragraph of feedback. Last year, I critiqued 100 novel openings! You can check out last year’s version of this workshop here. I will be critiquing novel openings in the order they are submitted. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get through all submissions.

July 4, Monday: No Activity Today!

If you’re in the states, please enjoy Independence Day!

July 5 – July 8, Tuesday – Friday: Protagonist Week & Workshop #1 Feedback

This week will be all about protagonists. I’m going to cover character flaws, goals, motivation, and realism. Workshop #1 will run throughout the week with daily posts of first-page critiques.

July 11-15, Monday – Friday:  Novel Structure & Workshop #1 Feedback Continued

The second full week of Novel Boot Camp will focus on novel structure. I will cover the first plot point, the midpoint, the second plot point, the climax, and the pinch points. Workshop #1 will continue with daily posts of first-page critiques.

July 15, Friday: Workshop #2 Submissions Open

Submissions for Workshop #2 will open Friday morning. This will be a peer critique session, but I will be offering my critiques as much as possible. Due to time limitations, I may not be able to include every participant in the critique session. Sorry for any inconvenience.

July 18 – 22, Monday – Friday:  Writing Great Scenes & Workshop #2 Peer Critique Sessions

This week will focus on the two different types of scenes (active and reactive) and the key components of each. The peer critique session will run throughout the week so please stop by and critique the work of the other participants!

July 22, Friday: Q&A Session Submissions Open

The submission form for the Q&A sessions will open Friday morning. You will be able to submit any questions you have about writing or editing.

July 25 – 29, Monday – Friday:  Tailored Topics & Q&A Sessions

This week the videos will be tailored to the specific needs and requests of this year’s Novel Boot Camp participants. I will choose the topics based on issues with your first pages as well as the most commonly asked Q&A questions.

How Do I Join Novel Boot Camp?

There is no sign-up form for Novel Boot Camp. Simply follow the blog (RSS feed and an email notification form are available in the sidebar) so you will receive notifications of the workshops and daily lessons.

I hope to see you all there!

If you’re planning to participate in Novel Boot Camp this year, what are you most excited to learn about?

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19 thoughts on “Novel Boot Camp: Free Novel Writing Course & Workshop in July

  1. vanessafowler says:

    I am super excited about week 2 of the workshop, as well as reading everyone’s submissions! I hope I can make so positive contributions too : )

    Oh – and of course I want to read everything that Ellen has to say!!!!!!

  2. Heidi Smit says:

    Dear Ellen, Yes I will be following the bootcamp. However. I do not write in English but your advise is a great help to me. I will be having my own little bootcamp in july and August. I will not be able to be with you in real time and it would be useless to submit my Dutch work. I am looking forward to your comments and advise because I have already enjoyed your youtube videos and I think the are the best! I hope to log in as often as I can.

  3. Dominic Sero-Asturi says:

    Hello! I am looking forward to the many good lectures, and the chance to see the critiques / entries being laid out! I don’t have anything to submit this time around, as I’m going through the outlining phase and still ironing out a lot of what I want to do with a novel. But, still making good progress! Just not at the point where I have an opening to share.

    Still happy to contribute and continue to learn!

  4. chickinwhite says:

    YAY!! You´re back with a new boot camp!
    As I am pretty busy, writing my german novel, I will not share my work, or maybe just a little.
    But I can´t wait for all your great advice and critics! I had so much fun last year, and not mention: I´ve learned so much!

    Thanks for offering the boot camp 2016! That´s awesome.

  5. nicolelochoa says:

    I recently found you on YouTube and your videos have been extremely helpful to this writing newbie. Your boot camp could not have come at a better time. I have a goal to send out my revised novel to a 2nd group of readers at the beginning of August. I am treating your camp like a month long college course, with my revised book being the project due at the end.

    I am excited for the entire camp but I am looking forward to the first page critiques, the opportunity to critique other people’s work (I think this will help me become a better writer), and the workshop on protagonists.

    Thank you for putting on this boot camp and for all the time you have devoted, and will be devoting to this program. 🙂

    Also, I was wondering if there is a format you would prefer for our first page submissions? Single/double spaced, max word count, font & font size, etc.

    • Ellen_Brock says:

      Awesome! Thanks for participating! A submission form will go up for each workshop that will automatically format your submission. I look forward to seeing your work!

  6. Natalie K. says:

    Eeeek! I missed the first day because I had this post bookmarked but hadn’t read it yet. I hope I can still participate, as I think this would be so helpful. (Plus, I’m hoping to hire you as an editor someday once I finish my current WIP!)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am so excited about this bootcamp. I’ve read the last ones and modified lots and lots of things in the novel I am writing. Thank goodness I had found you. Now that I am in third revision… it is a great time to make sure I’ve got everything right… if not well then back to the writing board. Thank you for doing this!
    Anne-Marie

  8. Barbara Hill says:

    I’ve written my first novel, did my own editing and then submitted to a publisher. The rejection email I got was nice, but no thank you. The editor did give me something to think about when she said there was a lot of info dumping and head hopping. While I was learning exactly what those terms meant I saw a your website and checked it out. I’m so glad I did. We’ll see what happens.

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