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8-Week Novel Workshop: Finishing Your Novel Draft

In discussing novel writing Zadie Smith said, “It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself. This is hard to do alone.” While often solitary, novel writing is also informed and supported by a writing community.

This class will, among other things, bring together a community of writers to discuss, strategize, examine, and commiserate about the sometimes daunting, though very worthwhile, process of writing the first draft of a novel.

Exploring the work of writers like Elizabeth Strout, Kazuo Ishiguro, Edward P. Jones, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Sigrid Nunez, this workshop will examine aspects of novel writing including character development, structure, beginnings and endings, plot development, and point of view. Additionally, in workshops, each participant will submit and receive feedback twice on a portion of their novel.

This class is ideal for those who have a novel draft in progress, though people just at the beginning of the process of writing a novel are welcome as well.

*No class on August 15 & Sept. 5

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. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility. 

Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.  


- Participants will leave this course with a roadmap for how to complete their first draft, along with ideas for how to engage in the revision process

- Two workshopped excerpts, getting detailed written feedback from all participants from each of those sessions

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Participants will be expected to carefully read and comment on workshop submissions from their peers. There will also be 1-2 additional short readings. Occasional craft exercises completed outside of class will be part of the work as well.


Week 1: Refining the Beginning

Week 2: Letting Characters Surprise Us

Week 3: Outlines and Structure

Week 4: Point of View

Week 5: When Things Aren’t Working

Week 6: The Final Third

Week 7: Endings

Week 8: Revising and Next Steps 

Thomas Grattan

Thomas Grattan’s novel The Recent East, published by MCD Books/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, was a New York Times editor’s choice, longlisted for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Novel Prize. His new novel In Tongues is forthcoming from MCD Books/ Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. His short fiction has appeared in several publications, including One Story, Slice, and The Colorado Review. He received his MFA from Brooklyn College and lives in New York City. (photo credit: David Horne)


“A wonderful, immersive debut novel . . . Our lives are time spent, and it’s a deep, expansive pleasure to spend a little of ours as these characters spend their own. Most extraordinarily, Grattan gives us not only life, but a good life, the rarity of which in fiction (and increasingly, reality) is a shame.”


“Sharply accomplished . . . Grattan’s rarer achievement is to have written a historical novel whose when and where, however well established, are not really determinative, and whose people remain individual riddles instead of political integers.”

Thomas Mallon THE NEW YORKER

“Dazzling, deeply loving, obscenely clever prose . . . It’s all the small details tossing around this continent-tossed family that makes this novel such a joy.”

Christopher Bollen INTERVIEW

“Tom’s feedback was both extremely helpful and motivating.”

Laurel Workshop Participant

“Tom is a warm and thoughtful reader and facilitator.”

Amy Workshop Participant