Online | Novel | Fiction | Seminar

3-Hour Online Fiction Seminar: Laying the Groundwork for Your Novel

You have an idea for a novel, but you don’t know where to start—or maybe you’ve started a novel, but stalled out after a chapter or two. What drives a great work of fiction? How do you create a story strong enough to sustain a novel? And how do you write 70, 80, or 90,000 words?

This three-hour intensive class tackles the fundamentals of character and conflict; the elements of a satisfying narrative arc; and practical strategies for completing that first draft. Students of all levels are welcome to participate, though this class is best-suited for folks who have their first novel idea but aren't sure where to go next. Our time together will include presentations, guided writing, and discussion. In the end, you’ll leave with fresh ideas and concrete plans for your novel, as well as three worksheets to apply to this and future writing projects. 

Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Students will learn the fundamentals of conflict and plot, the elements of an engaging character arc, and practical strategies for writing and revising long fiction

- Students will also receive three worksheets, which they can apply to their current and future projects

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students will read two essays on craft in advance. During class, there will be two independent writing activities and one guided writing activity.


Hour One: Character and Conflict

Hour Two: Emotional Arcs for Characters and Readers

Hour Three: Strategies to Complete Your Draft

Stephanie Feldman

Stephanie Feldman is the author of the novels Saturnalia, forthcoming in fall 2022, and The Angel of Losses, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, winner of the Crawford Fantasy Award, and finalist for the Mythopoeic Award. She is co-editor of the multi-genre anthology Who Will Speak for America? and her stories and essays have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Literature, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Maine Review, The Rumpus, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family.


“Stephanie Feldman is a passionate and thoughtful instructor. Her feedback is engaged, personal, and encourages writers to keep an open mind and to push the boundaries of their work. It felt like she took the time to understood my goals and then taught me the best ways for me to go about achieving them.”

former student

“Stephanie Feldman, acting in her capacity as my editor for a recent anthology, as well as a beta reader for several works, has provided insightful and resonant advice for several years. Her understanding of novel structure as well as the strengthening of thematic notes is a powerful tool that I am grateful to have the ability to access.”

Fran Wilde author of UPDRAFT

“Stephanie Feldman is not only a smart, perceptive, and spell-binding writer, she brings all of that to her approach as an editor. She's a generous yet astute reader who offers invaluable insight into language, character, tone, plot, and the overall structure of a novel. Her elegant, concrete suggestions will make you wonder Why didn't I think of that? and help you get where you want to go.”

Deborah Shapiro author of THE SUN IN YOUR EYES

"[A] breathtakingly accomplished debut … a story of magic and bold imagining… .Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds us that even though a horror was visited upon a particular people, in a particular place and at particular moment in history, the story told is really about all of us, everywhere and for all time. It takes an extraordinary writer like Stephanie Feldman to bring that story to life.”


“Lucid, tender and masterfully portrayed, The Angel of Losses is an intergenerational story of perseverance and love in a changing world. Rich with Jewish lore and history, there is magic at play here in more than one sense. A must-read.”

G. Willow Wilson author of ALIF THE UNSEEN

“THE ANGEL OF LOSSES is a lovely, complex family story about inheritance, immigration, and faith, with strong Jewish folklore influences and an academic treasure hunt! I tore through it almost in one sitting.”

Sofia Samatar author of A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA

“Stephanie Feldman is one of the smartest and most original young writers at work today. Here she re-imagines the eternally exiled Wandering Jew as a wonderworker, a frightened boy in the Vilna ghetto, a feminist scholar in Coney Island. With a deft understanding of the irreducibility of human relationships, Stephanie leads us through love and loss and back to love again. Watch out for her. She is here to stay.”


“THE ANGEL OF LOSSES feels spun out of myth and legend, but what anchors it so sweetly to the human condition is its profound love, demonstrated between two sisters. This is an amazing, wonderful read.”

Rene Denfeld author of THE ENCHANTED

“Stephanie Feldman writes with tremendous warmth, tenderness and insight, and THE ANGEL OF LOSSES is a smart and beautiful novel that is all at once a literary thriller, a multigenerational family saga and a stunning exploration of Jewish mysticism. I loved this book.”

Molly Antopol National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree and author of THE UNAMERICANS