Starting in January, ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing will offer an new online novel certificate program to enrolled graduate students interested in completing their own works of science fiction and fantasy, as well as young adult fiction.
The program intends to foster a supportive community of writers who will review their peers’ manuscripts-in-process.
Creative Program Director Angie Dell said the purpose of the certificate is to offer students something different that involved science fiction.
“The idea here is to demystify the process of writing a novel,” said Angie Dell. “To take it from start to finish. You can come in with a novel in progress, or with just an idea of why the work you want to do is meant for a novel.”
The program is designed to go beyond a typical online course. Several of the Piper Center faculty members, along with a team of videographers from ASU, recently attended Dragon*Con in Atlanta to interview the authors in attendance, and the video they shot will be integrated into the course.
Selected students within the program will be invited on scholarship to attend the annual Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference in February. This three-day conference draws local authors and writers from around the world.
“At the conference we bring in publishers, editors and agents so that students have the opportunity to connect and network with those people,” Dell said.
The program will include working with authors like Tom Leveen, who is writing a youth novel about students fighting off a zombie hoard. His launch of “Sick” will take place at ASU in October and include a staged zombie chase of nearby high school drama students through a main part of campus.
The Piper Center faculty spent a good deal of time researching programs offered nationwide and internationally to create the Your Novel Year program.
Karen Sideris, assistant manager of the Piper House, said other certificate programs are more general.
“They’re strictly craft-oriented,” she said. “We built in a different track.”
The program will assist aspiring writers in the genre to gain both the tools and the confidence to move their writing forward.
English junior Stasa Sroka said although she is not interested in the genre, she feels the certificate is a structured way to go about writing a book.
“Even just that kind of program would helpful, regardless of the genre,” she said. “It’s really hard to get started. These people have done it, and they know how to.”
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