Narrative Design | Keeping Readers Hooked (Morning)

with Jean Kwok

Jean Kwok’s novels consistently hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial fiction. Her award-winning books are taught in schools around the world while hitting the New York Times and international bestseller lists. She often uses material from her own life, transforming sometimes painful experiences into art, and is living her dream of being a full-time, successful author. A gifted, encouraging, and experienced teacher, she is now ready to share her secrets with you in this rare opportunity. She writes:

We’ve all been there. You have a pile of carefully polished pages, yet they don’t seem to cohere. Or you have a sprawling monster of a novel that resists any attempt to tame it. Or maybe it’s always been your dream to write a novel but you have no idea how to get started. We all love to move commas around but often, our work needs larger structural changes to make it as compelling and powerful as possible.

This is a class that looks at different ways to plot and structure a novel, including treatment of character development, themes, setting, voice, and point of view. You don’t need to have a draft of a novel to attend. Rather, the course is a combination of lectures and generative writing time.

Each participant should bring a short excerpt from their own fiction and/or a brief synopsis of their novel-in-progress (up to 5 pages.) This submission will not be workshopped. It’s only to give Jean a sense of what you’re working on. We will be creating new work in class that will then be discussed together. Our ultimate goal is to help you find a stronger structure for your novel that could lead to publication.


4 Mornings:  Monday 11/6–Thursday 11/9 | 9am-12pm

A $100 combination discount will be applied when registering for the conference at the same time.


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Jean Kwok is the award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie LeeGirl in Translation and Mambo in Chinatown. Her work has been published in twenty countries and taught in universities, colleges and high schools across the world. An instant New York Times bestseller, Searching for Sylvie Lee was selected for the Today Show Book Club and featured in The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, CNN, The New York Post, The Washington Post, O Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly and more. 

Jean has been chosen for numerous honors including the American Library Association Alex Award, the Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, an Orange New Writers title and the Sunday Times Short Story Award international shortlist. She has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America, and spoken at many schools and venues including Harvard University, Columbia University, Talks at Google and the Tucson Festival of Books.  A television documentary was filmed about Jean and her work.