Novel in a year: first draft
with Michael Zapata
Novel in a Year: First Draft is a unique opportunity to join a writing cohort, study novel craft, workshop key scenes, measure your progress, meet deadlines, and give and get support for the long slog from plotting to composition and beyond. But now, you can participate from anywhere as long as you have access to the internet.
It’s a chance to devote an entire year to your novel, giving it the attention and effort your work deserves. Acclaimed author Michael Zapata (The Lost Book of Adana Moreau) will lead workshops, offer in-depth craft lectures, help you through the drafting process, and provide personalized guidance and feedback on your manuscript.
Benefit from special Master Classes from visiting authors, or participate virtually via our PJ Seminars. You’ll also have additional access to visiting agents and editors.
Students at any stage of novel drafting are encouraged to apply. You may have completed a 500-page draft; others may have nothing more than an idea and a first sentence.
Work of any genre is welcome, though we offer specialized programs for Speculative Fiction and Young Adult/Middle Grade.
This application-based class is selective, and you will find your classmates to be dedicated and serious about their work.
Unlike our other Novel in a Year programs, this cohort will be entirely hosted online, so anyone can participate from anywhere.
Specific topics covered during the class sessions include:
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 on Zoom monthly for three-hour sessions to discuss craft, solve drafting challenges, workshop scenes, and share some virtual 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.
Added content to the virtual cohort will be 2-3 visiting guests throughout the year, including publishing professionals, agents, and other authors.
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 Michael 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, OR three (3) complimentary admission and early registration to our virtual PJ Seminars. (Recent and upcoming writers include Alexander Chee, Pam Houston, Vu Tran, Garth Greenwell, Laura van den Berg, Kaveh Akbar, and Nick Flynn, among others.)
The class also includes optional evening social gatherings via Zoom, to be scheduled between Michael and the cohort as desired. As a writer in our Novel in a Year program, you’re considered a “VIP” at the studio with early-bird access to programs and events.
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’ve already made headway on your novel or are just gathering ideas, 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 eight years strong, and you will have the opportunity to benefit socially and professionally from a strong network of alumni, many of whom are experiencing publishing success.
This tuition includes:
11 sessions, meeting once per month for 11 months
A manuscript review with Michael Zapata
Access to visiting authors, agents, and editors
Various online social gatherings with your cohort
2 comped passes to our Master Class series
OR 3 comped passes to our PJ Seminars
A private online chat forum
VIP status at the Studio
A literary community to take well beyond this program
2020-21 Schedule Meets Online on the Following Dates:
This course is limited to 12 students and is submission based.
If you would like to apply to both Rebecca Makkai’s in-person cohort, as well as Michael Zapata’s online cohort, you can indicate as much on the application form. Rebecca and Michael will coordinate in screening these dual-applications.
The 2020-21 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.