So you have a killer novel concept—now what? Great novels aren’t written in a vacuum. Through collaborative weekly instruction, Los Angeles author Anna Dorn will help you structure, organize, and develop your novel so that it can reach your target audience. Lessons will address narrative structure, plotting, rewrites, and drafting query letters to agents and publishers.
Getting as many smart eyes on your work as possible and being open to what people have to say is an important part of drafting your novel. But there are no hard & fast rules in novel-writing, so if something doesn’t resonate, ignore it: Ultimately, you are the expert on your novel. This class will be a good chance to try detaching your ego from the process and learn how to follow what excites and inspires you to write. This workshop is a good fit for anyone with a novel idea, whether it’s just a loose concept or a rough first draft. By the end, you will know the steps you need to get your novel into the world.
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.
- Develop a novel logline and 3-act outline with feedback from the class and instructor
- Structure your novel using Francesca Lia Block’s 12 questions
- Produce a query letter to send to agents and publishers
- Polish and receive feedback on portions of novel
- Perform 6-minute reading from novel
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
The class will meet for 2 hours a week for 8 weeks. There will be roughly 1-2 hours of homework for each class and students should be prepared to give thoughtful feedback on their peers’ workshop submissions.
Week 1: Introductions + Lecture: Basic three act plot structure & loglines
Week 2: Workshop outlines + Lecture & discussion: Francesca Lia Block’s "12 Questions To Structure Your Novel"
Week 3: Workshop each other’s 12 questions + Lecture: Lisa Cron’s Story Genius
Week 4: Workshop everyone’s first page + Lecture: Polish a critical scene
Week 5: Workshop pages + Lecture: Query Letters
Week 6: Workshop query letters + Lecture: Finding agents & publishers
Week 7: Discuss problems + concerns, brainstorm solutions
Week 8: Final Advice + Lecture: Moving Forward
Anna Dorn is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her novel, Vagablonde, was published by Unnamed Press in May 2020. Her memoir, Bad Lawyer, will be published in Spring 2021 by Hachette Books. She received her MFA in creative writing at Antioch University and she is currently working on a new novel and teaching writing online.
“Anna’s knowledge about different techniques and styles of writing makes it so she is always ready to narrow down ideas that will best compliment your tone, target audience, and mood.”
“As a reader, Anna Dorn has a knack for understanding what a writer is trying to accomplish with a piece and her notes help direct a writer to make a piece what they want it to be. Her enthusiasm for producing new, strong work inspires me as a writer to keep moving forward in my own career.“
“Anna Dorn is an excellent teacher that not only helped me find my voice, but edited my manuscript with kindness and care. I would absolutely take another writing class with her.”
"A fantastic novel that feels contemporary in all the right ways. In the world of VAGABLONDE, fame is more important than mental health, good lighting is more important than food, and ‘thriving’ is more important than any mundane obligation. Anna Dorn’s sentences are sharp and addictive, absorbing me completely into this world of music, friendship, and self-interrogation."
"Dorn’s narrative is intoxicating, particularly in its depiction of the existential ennui that’s stemmed from our insatiable consumer culture... Dorn may have written the horror novel we deserve."
"Anna Dorn writes vivid, striking prose that reinterprets pop culture, the particularities of Southern California, and the complex technology of our human brains. An original, hilarious, and spot on debut."