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6-Week Online Fiction Workshop: Design a Work Plan to Finish 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 6-week workshop 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 course, we will create a creative, fun and curious writing community, together exploring the importance of both radical empathy and recklessness 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. We will read short pieces and chapters by Lore Segal, James Baldwin, Mary Oliver, Kathleen Collins, Rachel Cusk, and more, and the course will include generative writing exercises and craft discussions on specific elements of novel writing, including the choreography of a scene, dialogue, character development, revision practices and more.

This class is best-suited for writers who have been working on a novel, or have a firm idea of the novel they would like to write. Every participant will have a chance to workshop their work-in-progress, and we will all leave the course with a “cold-hearted work plan:”a plan for writing our novels over the days and months that follow that course, one that should be taken seriously, but also approached with a sense of humor, irreverence and lightheartedness. Overall, this course will seek to place an emphasis on the joy that can come from fiction writing while still ensuring that you get the work—because writing is hard work!—done.

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 desktop client so you have access to all platform features.


- Creative inspiration

- Opportunity to workshop 1-2 chapters of your novel-in-progress

- Development of a work plan for your continued practice

- One-on-one Skype conversation or phone call with the instructor

- A miniature community of fellow-travelers

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


- Reading a short piece of fiction or craft essay each week (probably between half an hour to an hour of external reading, with the option for more readings, if desired)

- Reading and commenting on 2-3 workshop submissions by other participants each week

- Workshopping material that you have already started, or material that you generate over the course of the class (Submissions should be no longer than 10 pages, double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman)

- Light-heartedness, generosity, compassion and curiosity 

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, among other honors. Moriel is the recipient of a 2020 MacDowell Fellowship in Literature, and his work has been published in BarrelhouseThe Common, The New York Times, The Paris Review’s Daily,  ZYZZYVA,  and elsewhere. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, with his family. His second novel, Before All the World, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on October 11, 2022.  Read more at 


"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

“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 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

“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

“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 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

“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

"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."

Suzanne Samuels former Catapult student