This is the year to write your novel

Novel in a Year: Speculative Fiction is a unique opportunity to join a writing community, study novel craftworkshop key scenes, refine your craft, measure your progress, meet deadlines, and give and get support for the long journey from plotting to composition and beyond. 


It’s a chance to devote an entire year to your novel, giving it the attention and effort your work deserves. Acclaimed speculative author Jac Jemc (The Grip of It) will help you through the drafting process and provide personalized guidance and feedback on your manuscript. Benefit from special Master Classes with visiting authors, enjoy several writing excursions with other novelists, and bond with your fellow authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and beyond.

This unique genre-focused program will guide you through all the general novel-writing techniques and practices, while also offering a more fine-tuned guidance toward the world-building and plot-heavy nature that typically comes with speculative and genre fiction. 


Students at any stage of novel drafting, but with a background in the formal study of creative writing, are encouraged to apply. You may be anywhere in the first draft of a novel – some students may have completed a 500-page draft; others may have nothing more than an idea and a first sentence. Work of any speculative genre is welcome. 

This class will also presume a solid craft vocabulary, some workshop experience, and significant writing skill. Having some experience with drafting, editing, and submitting for publication (even short stories) will help you be familiar with the similar process and structure that will be applied to the novel form. However, it’s not a prerequisite for this course. If you are newer to this process, but feel you have the ability, submit your writing and let us decide. We will work with you if you are ready to take the leap, and have a strong voice and POV.

This application-based class is selective. We are looking for students with talent and drive, though familiarity with the workshop process or previous experience writing a novel is not mandatory.


Specific topics covered during the class sessions include:

  • Understanding Genre
  • World Building
  • Point of View and Voice
  • Structure and Surprise
  • Growing Character
  • Imaginative Research
  • Depth and Complexity
  • Endings (Chapters and Novels)
  • Developmental vs. Line Edits
  • Representing Your Novel
  • The Publication Process

PLEASE NOTE: This program is for novelists who are ready to make a strong commitment to their work, and our waitlist for the course is typically very long. Students will be expected to participate in the full program.


Students will meet monthly for three-hour sessions to discuss craft, solve drafting challenges, workshop scenes, and share some snacks and beverages. In between class sessions you’ll have plenty of time to write and generate new work while still staying in touch via StoryStudio’s private online class forum.

We’ve structured this program to provide maximum benefit without demanding too much time away from focusing on your own work. In addition to workshopping short scenes in class, participants will meet individually with Jac for 100-page manuscript reviews.

Students enrolled in this course will receive complimentary admission and early registration to two (2) classes from our acclaimed Master Class series throughout the year. (Recent and upcoming writers include Alexander Chee, Margot Livesey, Vu Tran, R.O. Kwon, and Stuart Dybek, among others.)

The class also includes a one-day offsite writers retreat, where you can spend the day writing and thinking, with breaks to mingle at lunch and over drinks with students in our other novel workshops. Additionally, throughout the year we will organize two optional evening social gatherings. As a writer in our Novel in a Year program, you’re considered a “VIP” at the studio.

Throughout the course, you’ll have access to a private online forum for exchanging additional work and sharing articles and links of interest. And most importantly, these courses provide accountability check-ins to report your progress and struggles, and keep you writing.


Whether you’re already drafting query letters to send to literary agents or just focusing on revision, your cohort will provide the structure, companionship, feedback, good humor, and emotional support to help you see your project through.

You’ll also join StoryStudio’s larger community—in person and on social media—where you can connect with students from other classes, receive “first chance” invitations to special programming, and stay informed about literary events around the city.

The Novel in a Year program has been going for seven years strong, and you will have the opportunity to benefit socially and professionally from a wonderful network of alumni, many of whom are experiencing publishing success.

The program fee is $2,350. 

This tuition includes:

11 sessions, meeting once per month for 11 months
A manuscript review with Jac Jemc
A half-day retreat at Ragdale with your cohort
2 comped passes to our Master Class series
A private online chat forum
VIP status at the Studio
A literary community to take well beyond this program



This course is limited to 12 students and is submission based.

  1. You will be asked to submit a 10-page writing sample in a .doc or PDF. The sample can be a short story or novel excerpt.
  2. Someone who submits on the first day has the same chance as someone who submits on the last day, so don’t worry, and don’t rush.
  3. Payment isn’t due until after the application period is closed and acceptances have been sent out. We are happy to discuss payment plans with students who are accepted.

The 2019-20 cohort is currently underway. The next cohort will begin in August 2020, and applications will open in the summer of 2020. Please subscribe to our newsletter to get the most up-to-date information. When applications open, we will update this page as well. To be notified when details are available, please put your name on our waitlist and we’ll contact you.