Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

Dr. Carol Oliver

SPACE Preceptor

Analyzing how fiction works from a writer's perspective

Carol writes fiction (mostly science fiction and fantasy with strong mystery elements) and selected non-fiction. [see full bio...]

Highlighted Modules

All Modules

Creative Writing: Emotional Stakes (Novel in a Year)

Discussion-based Format
Congratulations! You have Characters in a Setting enacting a Plot!

In this workshop you'll explore how your motivations for writing and the themes which worry or puzzle or fascinate you shape your stories. You’ll identify your methods for exploring these themes and consider other methods consonant with your authorial voice. How are your characters changing and responding to their own explorations? You'll examine tools for finding what elements have already slipped into your stories, possibly subconsciously, and tools for intentionally using such emotional connection points to bring more strength to your stories. Each class will introduce a few new tools, offer in-class prompts for trying them, and open the floor to discuss our discoveries and their relevance to our works in progress.

Novel in a Year Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Tree Workshop (Novel in a Year 11) which, while open to all who have a mature writing project ready for close scrutiny, is designed specifically for students who have completed at least 4 previous modules in the Novel in a Year sequence). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Late-Stage Revisions (Novel in a Year)

Discussion-based Format
Have you finished (or nearly finished) a whole story draft? In this module, you will learn how to craft an ending that makes your entire story shine. You will also learn techniques for ensuring readers are immersed in your story and experiencing the emotional journey you intended. We will use collaborative feedback and discussion during class to help you refine your skills as a storyteller.

Novel in a Year Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Tree Workshop (Novel in a Year 11) which, while open to all who have a mature writing project ready for close scrutiny, is designed specifically for students who have completed at least 4 previous modules in the Novel in a Year sequence). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Pitching Your Story (Novel in a Year)

Discussion-based Format
Congratulations! You've written an epic manuscript. What comes next? In this module, it’s time to celebrate with your peers, discover how to make your story irresistible to potential buyers and entice readers to pick up your book! In class, you will analyze examples of successful pitches before developing your own in fun, engaging exercises. In a kindness-first workshop, you will have the opportunity to develop your query letter, synopsis and blurb, before finessing your verbal pitch. Whether you seek a traditional publishing deal, indie publishing, or are writing for yourself, this module will help you sell the sizzle in your narrative and appreciate your work for the gem that it is.

Novel in a Year Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Tree Workshop (Novel in a Year 11) which, while open to all who have a mature writing project ready for close scrutiny, is designed specifically for students who have completed at least 4 previous modules in the Novel in a Year sequence). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.

Creative Writing: Start Writing Mysteries!

Mixed Lecture/Discussion Format
So you think you'd like to write a mystery, but it seems overwhelming? Join us to examine the essential elements of a murder mystery: a setting, a sleuth, a murder victim, the murder method, a cast of suspects, the cast who assist the sleuth in investigating and solving the murder, as well as lists of actual clues and red herrings to plant in the story. We'll also discuss how the genre conventions affect your development of general fiction elements (e.g., plot, character, pacing). Brainstorm, refine rough ideas into workable ones, and get help starting on your story-specific research. Leave class with a semi-plan: not an outline, but a collection of notes you can use to write a complete first draft in whatever writing style you prefer.

Creative Writing: Workshop (Novel in a Year)

Discussion-based Format
Using a kindness-first approach, we will read, appreciate, and comment on each other’s work as we deepen our understanding of writing craft. You will be encouraged to submit new works in progress at any level of development for peer reading and feedback. Our Collaborative Feedback method guides you to comment at the author's comfort level through a structured reader response. This workshop will foster a positive and encouraging environment to support our growth both as individuals and as a writing community. We gather to encourage the story that you want to tell.

Novel in a Year Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Tree Workshop (Novel in a Year 11) which, while open to all who have a mature writing project ready for close scrutiny, is designed specifically for students who have completed at least 4 previous modules in the Novel in a Year sequence). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.

Novel in a Year: Creative Writing Series

Discussion-based Format
Are you ready for an adventure in writing? Over the course of twelve months, you and your story will go from the beginnings of planning, through the stages of creating your first draft, and revising that draft, all the way to emerging with a novel that is finished and ready to submit for publication or personal accomplishment or family enjoyment. Each class in the series will draw upon lessons from the previous classes. In addition, we will build a community of writers who go through the experience together, encouraging each other and being sounding boards for each other.

Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Novel in a Year 11: Tree Workshop, which is designed specifically for the cohort). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.

All Modules as Support Preceptor

If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].