"I loved the Novel Generator course with Taylor Larsen. She is an extremely generous instructor who brought us all together, creating a community out of people located in different parts of the world. For an hour and a half each week, we transcended the boundaries of the physical world and bonded over our shared love of writing. As an editor, Taylor has the ability to find and bring out the best in each manuscript and I found her excitement and encouragement highly motivating. Her guidance and support after the end of the course have been invaluable to me." - Daniela Petrova, Novel Generator Spring '18, author of Her Daughter's Mother, completed in the Novel Generator
Writing a novel can seem scary at the outset, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this twelve-week master class for writers at every stage of the novel-writing process—from the first couple of chapters to finished draft—we will dissect the craft and creation of the novel, with the hopes of better understanding how to write our own. To ensure that every student gets focused and rigorous attention on their work, this class is limited to six writers.
While you do not need a full draft to apply for the novel generator, writers should have a project in mind and at least a few pages of a work-in-progress. The class will be built to spark new work and generate ideas as much as to refine existing material. All genres and styles of writing are welcome; in this workshop, as in all Catapult classes, we will read each project on its own terms, taking into consideration the aims and goals of the writer. Though critique will be keen and precise, we will celebrate the small and large successes along the way, making sure that all writers leave motivated and with a sense of direction. The class atmosphere is one of honesty, fun, respect, and rigor.
Writers will graduate this class with a first (or most of a) full draft of a novel as well as the necessary tools to revise their novel into its clearest and most powerful form. Soon after the final class, students will have the opportunity to participate in a moderated Q&A and share their work with agents who work with novels.
This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.
We will alternate weeks between craft discussions—in which we’ll analyze subjects like theme, character, style, POV, and plot while developing a shared vocabulary for discussing each other’s writing—and workshops. For the first six workshops, two writers will submit 50-100 pages of their books. The final six workshops will be individual, with just one writer up for discussion.
We will read up to 300 pages—either starting from the beginning, if revisions have been made to the earlier sections, or from the point where the previous submission left off. Writers should be prepared to give thorough feedback on each other’s work in the form of a typed letter of no fewer than 500 words—line edits and in line comments are not mandatory, but are encouraged.
The instructor will deliver her feedback in private meetings that follow each workshop—meaning each student gets two one-on-one meetings—and will also submit one typed editorial memo with specific suggestions for revision at the end of the course.
To apply, please submit the first chapter of your novel-in-progress (up to 25 pages). Writers should be prepared to workshop 25-100 pages of their novel drafts by the time the course begins.
Payment plans are available for this class.
Taylor Larsen is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program. She currently teaches fiction writing for Catapult and Concordia St. Paul's MFA Program, and has taught at Columbia University and Pace University. Taylor is the author of the debut novel, Stranger, Father, Beloved (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, July 2016). Her work has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Huffington Post, Joyland, and The Brooklyn Review. Taylor was a Peter Taylor fellow at The Kenyon Review Writers Conference in summer 2018. Originally from Alexandria, VA, Taylor currently resides in the Hudson Valley.
"Taylor not only made me a better writer but made me remember what it is I love about writing in the first place. Her enthusiasm bled into everything we discussed which made her critiques that much more effective in conveying how I could reshape or alter my work. The nuanced way she wove helpful suggestions into class helped me become a better reader as well a writer. I found that with Taylor’s help, I was better able to articulate what I wanted to achieve through my work. In addition I was better able to articulate my criticisms of others. Both of these were key in being better able to assess my own writing. Taylor’s suggestions always seemed to make my writing stronger and her encouragement helped give me a voice. I am now confident to continue in the writing process but also to pursue submitting my pieces for publication."
"Taylor is the consummate teacher and guide through the unwieldy world of fiction writing. She is a great listener and always encouraging, but she is also very realistic about what works and what does not work in a story or a chapter. She made me appreciate my own writing voice, which is probably the most valuable belief a teacher can inspire within a writer."
"Taylor was a generous, fun and kind editor, who has both an incredibly sharp eye for tracking the larger scope of the novel, while also paying attention to the line-level edits that get you there. She does a great job of channeling what you are striving for within your work, getting excited about that with you, and then helping you sharpen both those things which are your greatest strengths as well as identifying and tightening the weak spots. I can’t recommend her highly enough."
"A mesmerizing, unsparing exploration of one man’s descent, told in subtle, precise language that is reminiscent at times of Raymond Carver, Haruki Murakami, and Carson McCullers, but entirely Larsen’s own creation; a wonderful debut."
"Larsen makes a noteworthy debut with a family drama that explores loyalty, lies, and well-being…Larsen captures every nuance with finesse, every emotion with grace. An emotionally intelligent family drama that examines the breaking point of a marriage."
"Larsen’s ability to understand the deep desires of her characters is where her brilliance lies; even if they are not realized, we know them intimately through the sheer strength and precision of her prose."