When Writing a Novel Takes On A Brand New Meaning

A writer’s journey and lessons learned


Young Black woman daydreaming and writing in a journal
photo by karlyukav(freepik)

Almost a decade has passed since my client turned friend, an award-winning scriptwriter, impressed with my first chapter, suggested I take a writing class — join a workshop group or both so I could get feedback on my work if I was serious.

Except, I didn’t have any work and wasn’t sure if I was serious.

Aside from a few poems and a couple of chapters from my imagined New York Times bestseller, I started writing until I realized I was clueless about constructing a novel.

When she dropped hints of a few essential elements over our Friday lunchtimes through casual conversation; outline, character development, plot points, climax, narrative arc, to name a few — my eyes glazed over.

Little did I know, I was entering a complex world that would turn me inside out. Until then, I was having fun tiptoeing through the tulips.

I took her advice and started researching writing classes — time and location, my primary restrictions since I was and still am working. I wanted to make it as convenient as possible for it not to become an unpleasant chore.

My grand search began with local community centers gradually escalating to community colleges and universities…



Toya Qualls-Barnette
E³ — Entertain Enlighten Empower

*Top writer in This Happened To Me| Writing about the impact of relationships|Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul| Dreamer|Mother|HSP in drag