Fiction | Novel | Workshop

1-Day Fiction Master Class: Starting, Writing, & Finishing Your Novel

Have you always wanted to write a novel? Are you stuck in the middle of a draft? Do you need to let go of hesitation, or buckle down for revision? Join this one-day masterclass with award-winning author Moriel Rothman-Zecher to get both creative inspiration and practical tools for starting, writing, or completing your first (or next) novel.

In this master class, we will create a generous, lighthearted and curious micro-community, and together will explore the importance of both recklessness and a cold-hearted work plan in novel writing. Recklessness is a must when you are creating a new universe, i.e., a novel: the early stages and pages should be contradictory, bizarre, untamed, and wild. But it is the ‘cold-hearted work plan’ that will allow you to take your zigzagging coils of early drafting and turn them into a book. The class will include generative writing exercises and craft discussions on specific elements of novel writing, including harnessing wildness, the choreography of a scene, dialogue, character development, revision practices, and more. Every participant will also leave the course with a “cold-hearted work plan:” a plan for writing our novels over the days and months and years that follow this course. In general, this master class will be fun and creative, and will emphasize the joy that can come from fiction writing.


- Creative Inspiration

- Constructing a novel-writing work plan

- Option for a followup 1-on-1 phone or skype consultation with the instructor

- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


- Bring a pen or pencil and notebook (ideally no screens, unless specifically needed)

- 1-2 pre-class readings will be sent out (recommended but not required)

- In class, participants will be encouraged to share drafts and snippets of their in-workshop creations (with the understanding that these are just drafts!) 

Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is the author of the novel Sadness Is a White Bird, which was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s ‘5 Under 35’ Honor, and a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the National Jewish Book Award. Moriel is the recipient of a 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellowship in Literature, and his work has been published in The New York Times, The Paris Review’s “The Daily,” Haaretz, ZYZZYVA, The Common, and elsewhere. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with his wife, Kayla, their daughter, Nahar. Read more at and follow him on Twitter @Moriel_RZ.


"I was fortunate to be in Moriel’s Fall 2019 class, “Wildness and Carefulness in Novel Writing.” It was a rigorous, thoroughly engaging class that challenged writers to think creatively about their work, focusing both on setting achievable goals and trusting themselves and their intuition. Moriel is a wonderful teacher. He is a brilliant writer and is honest about the joys and challenges of his own creative process. Moriel is also an amazing mentor, generous with his time and attention, and thoughtful and sensitive about the difficulties his students are facing. Thank you, Moriel, for an amazing class, and for all you do to support other writers."

former Catapult student

“While offering an unusually political coming-of-age novel, Rothman-Zecher frames the conflict in human terms. Passionate, topical, and thoughtful, this heartbreaking tale is vital reading for anyone who cares about the future of this part of the world.”

Library Journal starred review

''Moriel Rothman-Zecher is a piercing observer and a relentless interrogator who peels back layers of pain to lay bare the difficult truths of his homeland, and the heavy price paid by those for whom love trumps hatred.”

Geraldine Brooks author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel MARCH

“Rarely does one come across a debut novel as artistically accomplished, politically unsettling, and emotionally unflinching as Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s SADNESS IS A WHITE BIRD."

Ranen Omer-Sherman Jewish Book Council

“Moriel Rothman-Zecher is not only a brilliant writer, he’s the finest editor I have had the privilege of working with. His ability to tease out the heart of a piece of fiction or nonfiction is matched by his compassion and generosity of spirit. He’s simply wonderful.”

Ayelet Waldman author of A REALLY GOOD DAY and BAD MOTHER

“Moriel taught a series of creative writing workshops for a group of students in a music dialogue program I facilitated. Moriel was an amazing addition to our program--he really energized our students, taught new skills, and helped them explore new ways of creative expression. I noticed the way that Moriel would gently encourage students, helping each one to feel seen and taken seriously--and I was amazed at how comfortable some of the quieter students were to share their work with the group. We also laughed a lot--the mix of humor, clarity, and depth opened up new pathways for learning and connecting as individuals and as a group.”

Noa Yammer Program Director of Heartbeat: Amplifying Youth Voices

“I loved Moriel's workshops. Moriel is someone who knows how to break down artistic concepts into digestible pieces anyone can understand and can bring out creativity in the shyest of participants. The workshop impacted me deeply.”

Coren Feldman former workshop participant

"Moriel is a great teacher and he brought such a nice energy into that room. I feel like I have a whole new perspective on my work and on working in general. I'm so glad I was able to be a part of this workshop."

Jana Banin former workshop participant