Part Two:

My hope for you is that this process has been challenging and invigorating and rewarding. I hope that you’ve fallen in love with your stories.

Remember that the goal of this class was never to finish a novel, but to discover one.

And it was also to approach your work with an open heart and a curious mind, knowing that some days the writing will come easily and other days it won’t, and that each one of these days, the good and the bad, are part of the process.

I hope you’ve made time for yourself, developed or maintained rituals around writing, and learned more about how you work best. And, most of all, I hope that you continue your novels and carry your writing practice forward into the next month and year, and the months and years after that.

For now or for tomorrow, here is one last assignment from me:

Take a look at your beginning.

Often we worry so much about the language of our first sentences or about beginning with a surprise or a hook.

But what really matters is to show us, in ways either obvious or subtle, what the heart of your novel is. What mood does it evoke? What is your character engaged in? If that “shaft of light” Wharton talks about does indeed cast all the way from your illuminating incident to your first page, will we understand what we see and why it’s there?

Good luck with the rest of your stories, my friends! I will be cheering you on.