Online | Novel | Workshop

6-Week Online Novel Workshop: From Idea to Outline

This 6-week course is for people who want to write a novel and are wondering how best to shape it.

In this course, we’ll consider the novel comprehensively. You’ll take the pieces you have so far (maybe it’s notes, character sketches, a few chapters, or maybe it’s just an idea for a scene) and build on them to create an outline of the basic plot. The initial stages of writing a novel include making a lot of foundational choices about character, voice, pacing, and structure. Along with your outlines and a short piece written in the voice of your novel, you’ll be asked to articulate how all of these elements will function in your novel project. Time in the weekly Salon will be used to discuss these elements in detail.

By the end of this class, you’ll have a template or outline for your novel, plus the first page. My hope is that by creating a map of the story, you’ll feel confident to begin writing.

This class will meet over our video chat platform. You will need to use Google Chrome to join your class meetings.


- A deepened understanding of the basic elements of a novel

- A comprehensive outline of your novel

- The first page of your novel

- Samples of dialogue from each of your characters

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


Week 1: Introductions + Basic Elements of the Novel

Week 2: Character

Week 3: Narrative, POV, Dialogue

Week 4: Time & Structure

Week 5: Plot

Week 6: Details

Swan Huntley

Swan Huntley is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her novels include Getting Clean With Stevie Green, The Goddesses, and We Could Be Beautiful. She earned her MFA at Columbia University and has received fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays have appeared on Salon, The Rumpus, and Autostraddle, among others.


“An addictive fictional saga in which a jilted wife goes to the mat to save her marriage and her morale.”

O MAGAZINE "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" on THE GODDESSES

“As in her first book, Huntley is a keen social observer, empathetic and biting at once… [A] gripping psychological portrait of a woman at a personal crossroads. A haunting story of betrayal and forgiveness that packs an unexpectedly emotional punch.”


"Huntley is adept at deploying Catherine's good fortune as a fulcrum of suspense... Huntley deftly establishes Catherine's tendency to rationalize and repress... Lively... Huntley writes with wit and verve, excelling at economically hilarious descriptions... The book's strengths lie... in the zippy social satire, in the portrait of a dysfunctional family (Catherine's relationship with her sister turns out to be especially affecting) and, most of all, in Catherine's voice—strange and funny and engaging to the very end."