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, ZZ Packer, Terrance Hayes, 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
- 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
- Light-heartedness, generosity, compassion and curiosity
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 Barrelhouse, The 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 morielrothmanzecher.com.
"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."
"Moriel’s class was wonderful! The energy he brought to class was palpable. I learned a great deal that I will put to use in my writing immediately."
"I loved SADNESS IS A WHITE BIRD for its profound meditation on how we each strive to hold ourselves morally and politically to account, an individual resistance to a world of walls and violence, in defiance of the belief that ‘Each man has limited space in his heart, for sadness and for sorrow and for regret."
"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."
“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.”
“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.”
“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."
''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.”
"Moriel encouraged casting off my writing inhibitions while setting schedules for myself to accomplish the writing I wanted to do. I always felt that Moriel was engaging with the group sensitively and thoughtfully, giving advice when he had advice to give but also letting the group learn from each other."
“Moriel is an excellent teacher who is approachable and open with his own process. His ideas about writing recklessly and with abandon came at the perfect time for me in the course of a longer project that I'm working on, but I get the feeling that a writer at any stage would benefit from this insightful perspective on letting your creativity flow. His writing exercises were weird, surprising, and inspiring, they embodied the spirit of this class. This class started at a time of tremendous stress on each and every member of the class and Moriel gracefully navigated this unprecedented time we're living in (a cliché, but it's true!), using the texts he provided to help us make sense of the world we're living in.”
"I recently completed Moriel Rothman-Zecher’s workshop, and the experience exceeded my expectations on every level. Moriel held space for each writer and encouraged us with tangible structure (developing a work plan) and valuable craft insights. The workshop was collaborate and playful, while also providing serious feedback for our writing submissions. I emerged from this class as a stronger writer, with a clear sense of how to finish my novel. I would love to take another class with Moriel!”
"Moriel's class had a major impact on my writing. The class-devised work plan increased the consistency of my writing. Moriel's feedback was thoughtful and generous. I highly recommend taking this course!"
"Moriel's course "How to Design a Work Plan to Finish Your Novel" is true to its work-a-day name, but it's actually so much more. With inspiring readings, generous workshops and discussions Moriel's course helped get me out of my novel writing doldrums and back into a more fun and playful place."
"Moriel was an engaging and wise guide on writing with playfulness and truth. He fostered a warm and welcoming sense of community during our class and gave feedback brimming with an insight that located the heart of each piece and exactly what it needed. I would absolutely take another workshop with him; my writing is now more focused and, at the same time, more free."
"Moriel creates such an energizing and encouraging atmosphere in his classes. Reminding us of the imaginative joys of writing, while emphasizing the required discipline of the writing life, his class left me well-equipped for the long journey of writing a novel."