Novel Boot Camp (Writing Workshop) – Schedule of Events

NBClogoNeed help with your novel? Join the fourth 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 video lectures, discussion questions, and three writing workshops with both professional and peer critiques.

You can view the videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel, but if you’d like to answer the discussion questions or participate in the workshops, please follow this blog so you receive updates to your email.

The Schedule

Week One – Characters

(July 31 – August 4)

Monday, July 31: Workshop #1 Submissions Open! 

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 over 100 novel openings! I will be critiquing novel openings in the order they are submitted. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be able to get through all submissions.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Let’s Talk About Characters!

A video about writing characters will be posted each day.

Friday, August 4: Workshop #1 Critiques Will be Posted!

I will be posting half of my critiques today and half next Friday so if you don’t see your opening posted, make sure to come back next week!

Week Two – Worldbuilding

(August 7 – 11)

Monday – Thursday: Let’s Talk About Worldbuilding!

A video about worldbuilding will be posted each day.

Friday, August 11: Workshop #1 Critiques Will be Posted!

The second half of the first page critiques will be posted today!

Week Three – Write Like a Pro

(August 14 – 18)

Monday, August 14: Workshop #2 Submissions Open! 

Submissions for Workshop #2 will open. 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 so please submit early to ensure your spot.

Monday – Thursday: Let’s Talk About Writing Like a Pro!

A video will be posted each day on how to write like a pro and avoid amateur mistakes.

Friday, August 18: Workshop #2 Posted for Peer Critiques!

Please stop by to critique the work of other writers today and all next week!

Week Four – Writing the Middle of Your Novel

(August 21 – 25)

Monday, August 21: Workshop #3 Submissions Open! 

Submissions for Workshop #3 will open. This will be a query letter critique session. Due to time limitations, I may not be able to include every participant in the critique session so please submit early to ensure your spot.

Monday – Thursday: Let’s Talk About Writing the Middle!

A video will be posted each day about writing the middle of your novel and the unique issues it presents.

Friday, August 25: Workshop #3 Critiques Will be Posted!

I will be posting my query letter critiques today!

Week Five – Editing & Revising

(August 28 – 30)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Let’s Talk About Editing and Revising!

A video will be posted each day with tips on how to approach novel revisions.

Want to 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 videos.

If you want to participate in the workshops, you will need at least 250 words of your first chapter and/or a query letter. You do not have to participate in all three workshops, and if you don’t want to participate in any of the workshops, that’s okay too! You can still hang out with us in the comments section here and on YouTube.

I hope to see you all there!

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

Want to connect with other Novel Boot Camp Participants?




27 thoughts on “Novel Boot Camp (Writing Workshop) – Schedule of Events

  1. Jenny Ireland (@IdreamofNarnia) says:

    This will be my first novel boot camp, I’m so excited. I’ve been lurking on Youtube watching your videos and always find them so helpful. I can’t imagine how much work this must be for you. Thank you for you all do 🙂 . Sorry if this comes up twice, I wasn’t sure if it worked the first time.

  2. Dave W. says:

    I’m most looking forward to the revision and editing portion, although they’ve all been great in the past. I’m getting feedback that I’m having major problems with voice/style and flow so I’m working on learning what the heck that means now. 🙂

  3. blancom2006 says:

    Dear Ellen, thank you so much for your tutorial videos on YouTube. Your youthful appearance is deceiving. You exemplify such a concrete knowledge base. I don’t think you realize how you impact anxious writers as myself. I found myself captivated by your words as I doggedly wrote as you spoke, but then realized I could pause you, rewind you, and listen over again. Silly me. I will subscribe to you, share and like and refer when ever asked. Thank you again. Blanco.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. JB Hendrix says:

    Good morning Ellen,

    Very excited to give it a go this year for the Novel Boot Camp! I watched the progress of all the participants last year and greatly enjoyed the videos as well – what a fun event! I do apologize if I missed the submission guidelines prior to asking… I am wondering how I submit my manuscript. Do I just email the first 250 words directly to you with a title indicating it is meant for the workshop?

    Thank you for your time and effort!

    Best Regards,

    Jacob Hendrix

    • Ellen_Brock says:

      Submissions will open on the days listed in the schedule for each workshop. There will be a form posted on that day on the blog. You will be notified via email if you follow the blog. Thanks!

  5. Stephanie K. says:

    After years of reading advice and examples from writers and editors and attempting to follow that advice in my own writing, I ventured to participate in your boot camp last year. I submitted a chapter for critique and received mixed reviews. Frustrated with my work, I slacked off on writing, but kept reading. Lately, I’ve done free/amateur copy editing and beta reading for friends and Florida Writers Association buddies. Seeing a variety of writing styles and levels has opened my eyes to the clear do’s and don’ts of writing fiction–some of which I had learned from advice books and this blog–and some I realized through actual practice.
    I’m looking at this year’s boot camp with new eyes. I’m hoping to use it as another learning experience.
    Will I be able to read and comment on others’ submissions this year without submitting any work of my own?

  6. Baja Moto Quest! says:

    Hi Ellen, I’ve enjoyed your blog postings and YouTube videos. I wrote a book a couple of years ago, Almost Human and self published it. I was pleased with the reception and sales of it but felt it could have been edited better. I have just finished the frist draft of the sequel, More Than Human and would like to have it professionally edited. My question is, since you have not read the first book, would it make sense to re-edit it before editing and releasing the my new book? I hope this makes sense! Warm regards, Ken

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