Novel in 5 - Accelerated Novel Writing Course

Write your novel in 5 months in this interactive course

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Write the first draft of your novel in five months when you join NOVEL in FIVE.

Learn your craft, grow as a writer, and get one-on-one advice from a New York Times bestselling novelist.

This course is ideal for you if you:

  • Want to write a novel but don't know how to begin
  • Have an idea for a novel but need structure and accountability
  • Need inspiration and community to maintain your writing habit
  • Want to develop a better understanding of narrative craft
  • Want to write a novel from start to finish in the next five months

In Novel in Five, you will write a complete draft of your novel in just five months with practical, inspiring lessons and assignments to help you build your story from the ground up. Each week, you will write 4,000 words. At the end of five months, you will have a solid novel of 70,000 to 80,000 words.

In Novel in Five, you get guidance, inspiration, community, and accountability...so you can finally get your novel on the page.

What you will learn and accomplish in Novel in Five:

  • We will begin by focusing on your novel's situation, protagonist, inciting action, setting, and point of view.
  • Then we will work on introducing progressive complications, additional characters, new plot points, and subplots.
  • You will discover the best way to structure your novel to make your story feel complete and compelling.
  • You will learn how to pace your novel, providing a steady beat of highs and lows to keep your readers engaged.
  • You will learn how to write authentic dialogue that drives your story forward and deepens characterization.
  • At the course's midpoint, we'll dive into tools for maintaining your story's momentum and your writing practice through the middle distance.
  • We will also be investigating theme in your novel, noting how theme drives plot and how the choices characters make reverberate throughout the novel.
  • Lessons on process cover techniques for organizing your research and scenes, writing through challenging times, harnessing the power of vulnerability in your writing, and more.


What you get when you join Novel in Five:

  • Twice a week, you will receive a comprehensive lesson and assignment to help you write a specific scene or chapter.
  • *Ongoing Discussion Forums, with new questions posted each week, allow you to ask questions, interact with the instructor and your fellow writers, and think more deeply about that week's lesson.
  • Word Count Check-ins: I'll be checking in with you twice each month see how many words you've written. Why? When it comes to writing your novel, accountability is key!
  • *Monthly open office hours: Drop in during open office hours twice a month to ask questions and share your progress.
  • A Comprehensive Video Library: Videos throughout the course will offer valuable lessons on narrative craft, encouragement, and practical advice.

*If you prefer to take the course without discussions and live sessions, please choose the BASIC version of the course at checkout.

Your goal is to write 4,000 words per week, which you can break up in any way you wish.

  • Write 800 words, five days per week
  • Write 1,000 words, four days per week
  • Write 2,000 words each day of the weekend

I encourage you to find the writing rhythm that works best for you, whether that means taking 45 minutes early every morning to write about 570 words, or setting aside a big chunk of time on the weekend to write an entire chapter in one sitting.

The last two weeks will be dedicated to tools for revision. Instead of writing new material, you'll approach what you've written with an objective eye, revising for plot, character development, point of view consistency, and more.

Throughout the course, you will have access to active discussion forums, videos, and craft guides. All assignments and lectures will remain online as soon as they are posted, so, if you miss a week or two, you can go back and catch up.

You will receive email notification each time a new lesson and assignment is posted.

How is Novel in 5 different from Novel in 9?

It's all about timing. In Novel in Nine, students write 2,000-2,500 words per week. In Novel in 5, you'll write 4,000 words per week. You'll receive the same lessons you would receive in Novel in 9, but at an accelerated pace. Novel in 5 is designed for writers who have more hours per week to devote to writing and want to complete a draft more quickly.

Student Feedback Optional:

This is not a workshop course and you will not be submitting your completed assignments to the instructor for critique. The purpose of this course is to keep you motivated to get your novel on the page. However, you can informally share your work with your peers for feedback if you wish to do so.

Course dates: You choose when to begin. You will receive your first set of lessons the moment you enroll.

You'll receive a new set of lessons twice a week. You will have access to your course materials for two full years. If you miss a couple of weeks, no worries! The material will be available for you to catch up when you return.

Discounted Editorial Feedback:

Upon completion of Novel in 5, you can sign up for editorial feedback on your novel at 15% off the regular price (a savings of $359).

Why now is the right time to start your novel:

How much time have you spent thinking about writing a novel? How often have you started a novel, only to hit a brick wall?

Your time is valuable, and your goal of writing a novel is achievable. Novel in Five provides you with the tools, incentive, accountability, and community you need to complete your novel in exactly five months.

Why does Novel in 5 work?

By breaking the big task of writing a novel into small weekly tasks, you will make real, recognizable progress that will keep you motivated. 4,000 words per week is manageable for committed, driven writers without being overwhelming. At the end of each month, you will have made serious progress on your novel.


What students are saying about Novel in 9:

"Novel in Nine was much more than a “class” for me, it was a transformation. I had tried for years and years to write a novel, always unsuccessfully. Under Michelle's guidance, I was able to complete my first novel, in a seamless, uncomplicated, and manageable workflow. Her experienced directives help me move through my writing to that final goal. I am forever grateful for this class, and for Michelle’s help. I’d do it again." Polly K.

"I'm blown away. I'm vastly enjoying meeting all of these creative minds." - Josh C.

"Novel in Nine was even more than I had expected. Who would imagine I would write a full 75,000-word first draft of a novel in only nine months? This class was always a bright spot in my week. Michelle has top-notch writing expertise and teaching skills, and she is generous with her time and input. She and the other serious-writer classmates provided valuable feedback and motivation. Novel in Nine was the perfect way to make novel writing a priority, and get to THE END in a timely way." Kathy B.



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Your Instructor


Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels and two award-winning story collections. Her books have been published in 30 languages. She has taught in the Masters of Fine Arts programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She has also designed and taught novel writing courses online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press, which discovers and promotes work by new writers.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course begins on March 1, 2020 and ends on July 31, 2020. You will have access to all course materials for one full year after enrollment, so if you like, you can even repeat the course on your own to draft two novels in one year.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for a year .
What if I change my mind?
I want you to be happy. If you are unsatisfied or the timing just isn't right for you, contact me within the first 30 days for a full refund. If you are on the monthly plan, please contact me to cancel.
Do I need to have an outline to start this course?
No, all you need is the desire to write a novel. Some participants will begin with a novel in mind, others will begin with a partial draft, some will begin with an outline, and some will begin with an entirely blank slate. I'm here to support you no matter where you begin.
Is this a workshop course?
This is not a critique or workshop course. You will receive word count check-ins from the instructor but you will not be submitting your work for critique. The purpose of this course is to inspire you and keep you motivated to get your words on the page.
I've already written part of my novel. Can I still take this course?
Absolutely! If you have a novel-in-progress, you can use the lessons and assignments to work through, expand, and streamline existing scenes. The assignments will help you discover new pathways in your novel and strengthen the existing structure. We have participants who have already completed a draft, as well as participants who are starting from scratch and others who have written a few chapters. We'll meet you where you are.

Why five months? A typical novel is 70,000 to 80,000 words. In the popular Novel in 9 course, students write 2,500 words per week for eight weeks to complete a novel in 8 months, devoting the ninth month to revision. Novel in 5 is the accelerated version of Novel in 9, designed for writers who have more hours per week to devote to writing. By breaking the big task of writing a novel into bi-weekly small tasks, you will make real, recognizable progress that will keep you motivated. 4,000 words per week is manageable for committed, driven writers without being overwhelming. At the end of each month, you will have made serious progress on your novel.

Five months is long enough to write a compelling story driven by complex characters, and it's short enough that you will stay motivated and engaged.

Make your time count in 2020, and join me for Novel in Five!

Get started now!