The Novel Project


The Novel Project





For this project, you have six questions from which to choose. Choose THREE, but for each answer write one-two double-spaced pages. Think of each question as its own mini paper. When you are finished with your three-four questions, you will have a minimum of five double-spaced pages.


Any plagiarism—accidental or intentional—will result in a zero for the Novel Project and possible failure of the course. Your answers should be your own.



Minimal Requirements:


  • You should write in complete sentences and paragraphs, but you can use “I.” That said, MAKE SURE to revise and edit before you submit this document.


  • Include a header with your name, the course, and the novel under discussion.


  • Include a title and an epigraph for your project. An epigraph is a quotation that comes from any text (could be your novel but doesn’t have to be) and sets the stage, so to speak, for your reader. I have four above (they relate to a question in the project). Your epigraph should relate to your own answers on your novel.


  • How long should your answers be? One-two double-spaced pages per answer. You need five double-spaced pages minimum.


  • Make sure you use quotations to develop your writing. I am expecting to see multiple pieces of evidence from your novel in each answer.


  • Do cite page numbers or chapters as you write. You can either say, “On page 54, it says that . . . “ Or, “In Chapter 3, we hear that …” You can also follow MLA format and put (54) in parentheses at the end of the sentence, whichever you prefer.


  • For each question, simply put the number of the question you’re responding to. If you’re responding to question 1, put 1. If you’re responding to 3, put 3.


CHOOSE three questions from the list below.





  1. All stories are told, so who tells yours? Classify the narrator of your novel (1st, 2nd, 3rd omniscient, 3rd limited) If you have multiple narrators, explain. Discuss why this particular narrator is telling this story. What seems to interest your narrator or narrators? Why might this story be worth telling for your narrator? If your narrator is addressing a specific listener, who is that listener? How does the style of narration impact the novel?


  1. Identify stylistic or structural patterns that appear in the novel. In other words, what repeats? Think about phrases, words, sentences, specific images, or even situations that seem to show up again and again (such as the “plane crashing” in the book Flight). Quote several of these moments. Then tackle the question, “Why does this keep showing up again and again?” Offer multiple answers to this question.


  1. Choose a passage of powerful writing. Quote it in full and discuss what strikes you as powerful about these words and sentences and how they might develop something important within the novel: characters, themes, etc.


You have options here: You can write about how it relates to the book or character, how it relates to the world, and how it relates to you. You can also discuss the power of the phrasing (is this a passage you would want to read out loud? Why?). Finally, consider what kinds of questions this passage raises. What does it leave you wondering?


  1. Adopt the voice of a character in your novel. Writing as that character, introduce yourself to me. Then, pick a reading from our course (any poem, any short story, any book you read) and explain why this reading in particular was your favorite (as this character). How do you (as the character) relate to the reading’s main theme(s), character(s), or conflict(s)? In other words, what about this reading resonated with your own life and the way you see the world? Develop your answer with evidence from your experiences (as this character in the novel) and the text you are discussing. Make sure to keep with your character’s voice.


  1. Consider the four epigraphs to this assignment. Choose one that most resonates with your experience of reading this novel and explain why. Be sure to develop how you found this saying to be realized (or not realized) through your time reading.  That means quoting specifics in the novel and also describing your own experience reading this book.



  1. Every once in a while, we read something that we don’t expect to relate to our lives, and somehow, and often in surprising ways, it does. If you had that experience with your novel, describe it. Where and how did this novel speak to your life? Reference specifics from the novel and your life.




Grading information on next page
Checklist Grading (65 pts total)


Knowledge of full novel


/25 pts total
Writer accurately references major plot points in the novel from beginning to end.


Writer clearly knows the characters and their conflicts./5
Writer shows awareness of the ending./10
Development of answers (and volume)


/10 pts total
Quotes textual evidence and refers to the specifics from the text. If relevant, clear descriptions of the reader’s experiences are offered.


Evidence is connected to readers’ ideas.5
Thoughtfulness/10 pts total
Writer explores multiple ways of interpreting the novel and the characters.


Writer considers author’s intentions and choices


Attentiveness to questions


Answer shows careful reading of the question in full5
Writing Style


/15 pts total
Powerful, clear sentences/5
Use of paragraphs to help organize ideas/5
Project Is obviously revised and edited/5



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