So you’ve got a great idea for a novel, maybe you’ve even written dozens of great pages, but now you’re stuck on where to head next. Your novel feels massive, impossible, maybe not worth writing… We’ve all been there! Whether you’re just beginning your novel or it is halfway written but stalled out, this class will help pull you from the mud, get you generating pages, and prod you to fall back in love with your book. Using prompts as a jumping off point, you’ll write eight key scenes from your novel, with the chance to workshop three scenes—the opening scene and two scenes of your choosing. We’ll talk about familiar elements of the novel: structure, setting, character, etc., but we’ll also learn about secrets and lies, mysteries, power, and magic objects. We’ll look at scenes from published books to inspire and instruct us, and we’ll discuss what it takes to finish a novel without going mad-hatter crazy.
By the end of the eight weeks, we’ll have tips and tricks for how to move forward on a novel, prompts to return to again and again, and (hopefully!) a reignited passion for your novel idea.
Week 1: Intros, scheduling, goals, character and situation.
Week 2: More character, setting, POV and tense, telling point.
Week 3: Action begins, more obstacles, character dynamics. Workshop Group 1.
Week 4: Point of No Return, secrets and lies. Workshop Group 2.
Week 5: Midpoint, magic objects and minor threads. Workshop Group 1.
Week 6: Darkest hour, moments of realization. Workshop Group 2.
Week 7: Climax, showdowns, emotional dominos. Workshop Group 1.
Week 8: Resolution, how to keep up momentum, making peace with the unknown. Workshop Group 2.
- eight important scenes to work into your novel and propel you forward
- intensive peer and instructor feedback on two workshop submissions
- one individual conference with the instructor to discuss your novel, your goals, and ideas for moving forward
- the support of a nurturing community of writers and readers and the full resources of Catapult's custom-built online classes platform (including live chat, story editor, and discussion threads)
- access to prompts designed to help you continue to make progress on the book
- more confidence and more love for your novel!
Annie Hartnett is the author of Rabbit Cake, which was named a best book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews, was a finalist for The New England Book Award, and longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. She is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Alabama, and was the 2013-2014 Writer-in-Residence for the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Annie currently teaches the Novel Generator program at Grub Street, and she lives in Providence, RI, with her husband and their nutty little border collie, Willie Nelson.
"Set in Freedom, Ala., Hartnett’s novel is an exploration of a mother’s death and the lives of animals that manages to be both “funny and heart-breaking” while avoiding the cliché inherent in the bittersweet…Rabbit Cake is an instant classic that you could confidently give as a gift to any reader."
"In my mind, it's damn near impossible to overstate the joys, the subtlety, and the brilliance of RABBIT CAKE."
"[A] treasure. Books about grief are rarely funny… this one is."
"Darkly funny and soulful . . . Rabbit Cake is Elvis’s unpredictable story of healing, and the young woman at its center is immediately lovable because she is delightfully human."
Annie Hartnett's RABBIT CAKE is fantastically original, a story about loss that expands in such exciting, unpredictable ways that I found myself completely won over by the unique Babbitt clan. Hartnett has such a gift for absurdity without ever losing the essential heart of the story. With this novel, she's become one of my favorite writers.
"Annie is a wonderful instructor. She creates a non-judgmental environment, where you really feel everyone is there to support each other. She is well prepared for each class. Whether she's teaching us about beginnings of novels, dialogue, or anything else, she has pertinent examples in our reading that drive home her points. The in class writing prompts not only help me generate scenes for my novel, they help to take my writing to the next level. Really, I can't say enough about how great she/the classes are!"
"Annie was extremely knowledgeable and insightful. She offered great instruction that was appropriate for intermediate to advanced students and helped me improve the plot and structure of my book. Her writing prompts and feedback were incredibly useful. She was excellent at moderating discussion and offered just the right balance of constructive criticism and encouragement."
"Annie is a supreme writing tutor and overall one of the most amazing people I have met in the last few years. In her personal approach and friendly and informal style, she has managed to create a class that's greatly both effective and fun for everyone. I am looking forward to attending Annie's next workshops."