Novel in 5 2021

Write the First Draft of Your Novel in 5 Months

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Write your novel from the first page to the last in five months.

Learn your craft, grow as a writer, and get real accountability to help you finish your novel this year.

Writing a novel isn't just about inspiration. It's also about consistency. Most great stories never make it onto the page, because you get stuck a few chapters in or somewhere in the middle. Maybe you lose the thread, get busy, or just lose heart.

Novel in 5 is all about getting past those barriers. You'll write 4,000 words per week every week for five months with progressive lessons and assignments. The result? A complete novel draft of 70,000 to 80,000 words in 5 months.

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 guidance to maintain your writing habit
  • Want to develop a better understanding of narrative craft
  • Want to write a novel from start to finish in 2021
  • Want to finish a novel-in-progress
  • Want to take a novel idea from inspiration to completion
  • Enjoy working independently with regular accountability check-ins

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

What you will learn and accomplish in Novel in Five:

  • You will begin by focusing on your novel's situation, protagonist, inciting action, setting, and point of view.
  • Then you 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 (the novel's crucial heartbeat) 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, you will learn how to maintain your story's momentum and your writing practice through the middle distance.
  • Lessons on process throughout the course cover techniques for organizing your research and scenes, writing through challenging times and hectic schedules, harnessing the power of your lived experience in your writing, developing confidence, 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.
  • 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!
  • A Comprehensive Video Library: Videos throughout the course will offer valuable lessons on narrative craft, encouragement, and practical advice.
  • There are no live sessions in this course, so you can do the lessons at the times most convenient to you.

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. You will complete the course with a clear plan for revision.

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'll receive a new lesson and assignment every Sunday and Wednesday. Each lesson builds progressively on the ones before it. You will have access to your course materials for one year, so you can repeat the course a second time at no additional cost. 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).

Discounted Coaching

When you choose the "plus coaching" option at checkout, you receive a deep discount on private coaching sessions.

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 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.

Why should I trust you as my teacher?
I've published five novels with a major New York publisher, and my new novel will be published in 2021. I also taught in Masters of Fine Arts programs in Creative Writing for more than a decade, mentoring writers with various levels of experience. In Novel in 5, I share with you the insights, strategies, and craft techniques that I've learned during a 20-year career as a working writer. I have honed the lessons in the course over a period of several years by listening to student questions, exchanging ideas, and thinking about how to help writers meet the considerable but exciting challenge of writing a novel.

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, without live sessions and weekly discussions. 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.

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.

Get started now!

Your Instructor

Michelle Richmond
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of six 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course begins January 3, 2021 and ends on May 30, 2021. 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?
You have access to this course until January 1, 2022.
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, you may cancel at any time.
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 or attending live sessions. 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. 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. It also gives you a little cushion. If you miss a week or two here and there due to work or family commitments, you have time to catch up.

Invest in yourself. Make your time count. Join Novel in Five now.

Get started now!