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6-Week Online Fiction Workshop: Writing the Novel 101

This course is for those who know they want to write a novel but don’t quite know how to begin. No prior workshop experience is necessary, but students should strive to critique the work of their peers in a constructive and non-judgmental manner. We will cover literary technique with respect to the novel and spend considerable time reading and writing, and hopefully in the process, discover our own writing voice. Areas covered include basic skills, tips, and techniques to improve and polish our writing, as well as building blocks for developing a sustainable writing habit.

Students who take this course will learn:

1. How to analyze the methods and styles of writers they admire.

2. The basic skills and techniques for writing prose fiction.

3. How to refine their unique writing style.

4. Strategies for developing sustainable writing habits.

By the end of the course, each student will have had two opportunities to submit their work for peer feedback. Writers will leave having written and edited the opening of a novel, and with a strong sense of how to move forward with their works-in-progress. 


Week 1: Intros

Week 2: Beginnings and backstory, workshop #1

Week 3: Structure, workshop #2

Week 4: Perspective and POV, workshop #3

Week 5: Reverse outlining, workshop #4

Week 6: Submitting, queries, agents, publishing advice, workshop #5

*no class February 14th

Arif Anwar

Arif Anwar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, just miles from the Bay of Bengal. He previously worked for BRAC, one of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations, on issues of poverty alleviation, and for UNICEF Myanmar on public health issues. Arif completed his doctorate from the University of Toronto. He also has a BS and MS from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife, Si (Sandra) Lian. The Storm is his first novel.


"Arif Anwar's THE STORM is a brilliantly textured tapestry exploring the natural and man-made disasters that define a human story. And like a true storm, it is by turns devastating, humbling and cathartic."

Nadia Hashimi author of THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL

“Arif Anwar's masterful storytelling crosses continents and generations, illuminating how personal choices can have sweeping repercussions. THE STORM is an elegant, stunning novel, which captured my imagination and my heart until the end.”

Shilpi Somaya Gowda #1 international bestselling author of SECRET DAUGHTER and THE GOLDEN SON

“Complex, elegantly-composed, and page-turning at once, THE STORM is a novel both grand and intimate in its scope. Arif Anwar’s ability to inhabit a variety of characters across continents and generations is nothing short of astounding. I adored this book.”

Armando Lucas Correa author of THE GERMAN GIRL

“Arif Anwar is a skillful and sensitive editor of both fiction and non-fiction work. His editorial feedback has been much appreciated while preparing my own manuscript for publication.”

Michelle Alfano author of THE UNFINISHED DOLLHOUSE

“Arif has a sharp editorial eye and has made very helpful suggestions about my writing which are both practical and creatively inspiring.”

writing group member

“Arif has a knack for getting to the heart of every story’s strengths and weaknesses. His rich insights and humorous outlook are great additions to the workshop experience.”

writing group member

“One of Arif's great strengths as an editor is in spotting where a narrative succeeds and where it wanders off-track. Another, just as important, is in communicating his feedback kindly.”

writing group member

“Arif is patient, conscientious and caring; he is as thoughtful with his praise as he is with his criticism. This is a writer who loves writing and it's palpable.”

writing group member