“Aboutness:” A Novel’s North Star

with Sandra Scofield

Saturday, March 6, 2021
(Registration Deadline: Sat, Feb 20)

10 am – 12:30 pm (CT)
Class has filled. Complete the registration form if you’d like to be added to the waiting list.

On Zoom


If you have written, are writing, or want to write a novel, you are thinking of all those pages. But the secret to a novel that flies is knowing exactly what it’s about and being able to convey that succinctly. 

I call that “Aboutness.” An agent or editor needs it in a query. A reader will sense it and talk about it to others. Most of all, you need it as a North Star to guide your writing. And you will refine it in this workshop! You will learn to use an “aboutness statement” and “threads” as plot guides. It is fine to try out a rough new idea, or even to use a published novel (someone else’s) as the subject matter for the exercises. Any way you do it, you will drill in important analytical and planning skills.

            Prior to the workshop, you will be sent an assignment to prepare ahead of time. This will include readings in The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision by Sandra Scofield. (Purchase at your local bookstore or order from Boswell Books. Mention“Red Oak Workshop” in person/on phone or include in the comments when you order online for 10% discount.)

            You will present your ideas in a uniform format. Every participant will receive constructive advice specific to their project. 

            Intense, and very, very useful!

Space limited to 8 participants.

To Register:

Please complete registration form and choose your payment option below:

Credit Card Online: Follow this link to our Autobooks form

Venmo: Send payment to @Kim-Suhr-2

By Check: Send to Red Oak Writing, PO Box 342, Genesee Depot, WI 53127

Sandra Scofield is the author of eleven books including novels, essays, short stories, memoir and books about the craft of writing. She has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and National Book Awards Finalist. Sandra has taught at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 1993 and is on faculty of the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College.