It isn’t about writing as many words as you can.
It’s about finding the right ones.
The Slow Novel Lab is . . .
23 lessons to break through to the heart of your novel.
4 pauses for reflection to clarify why your story matters and to see it from new vantage points.
1 year of group video calls with Nina to delve into craft, explore the writing life, and stay accountable to yourself and your novel.
Somewhere along the way it became conventional wisdom that first drafts should be bad. They should be sprawling and messy and unfocused. What’s important, we’ve been told, is to get the words down.
Certainly, there is truth in this. Little is more daunting than an empty page or a blank document. We all need to begin with something.
And yet, a full notebook of unsalvageable writing or a novel draft that makes us cringe is hardly better. After all, we write in order to create something that comes to life on the page, that fills a reader with wonder—and fills us with wonder, too, as we inhabit our fictional worlds.
So, I’d like to suggest a different approach. A slower one.
This is not any less immersive than writing a novel’s worth of words in a month, but it is a whole lot more intentional. It’s a process of exploration—of your story, your ideas, yourself—so that you emerge from this course with energy, direction, and pages you are proud of.
Who is The Slow Novel Lab for?
You are invited to join the course whether you are embarking upon your first novel draft or you are a longtime writer looking for a new approach with built-in structure and support. You don’t need to have any pages of your project written in order to begin. If you already have a partial or complete draft written but are feeling stuck, this course will also work for you—but only if you are willing to radically reexamine, dismantle, and begin the process of imagining your story all over again.
I do not suggest this course for writers with a complete and revised draft—unless, of course, you’re ready to dive into a new project!
How does The Slow Novel Lab work?
Writing Prompts and Guided Explorations
The Slow Novel Lab is self-guided, based on a series of mini craft lessons along with writing prompts. These lessons are the heart of the program, designed to share all that I have learned about crafting a successful novel from my many years of writing and teaching. They will help you to explore your novel’s characters, settings, themes, plot, and central questions in order to reveal the heart of your story and allow you to move your draft forward with intention.
I designed this course with a one-month schedule in mind, so there are twenty-three writing prompts and four built-in pauses for rest and reflection. However, you can space the lessons out in any way that works for you! Maybe you are establishing a writing practice during a busy time in your life and can squeeze in one prompt per week. Maybe you have a week-long residency lined up and want to work through the whole course in that amount of time. Maybe you simply want a resource to turn to when you get stuck in your drafting process. How you use this material is up to you, and I encourage you to make it your own.
You will have access to all of the prompts upon signing up and your access will not expire.
Once a month, for a full year, you’ll be invited to join a video call with your fellow Slow Novel Lab participants and me. These calls are a highlight of the course where we come together over discussions of craft and process and the business of writing.
They’ll begin with a brief catch-up and welcome where everyone will share how their month of writing has been; I’ll give a mini-lecture on a specific topic; and then we’ll open it up to questions and discussion.
Calls are scheduled for a different time and day of the week each month in order to accommodate various schedules and time zones. They last between 60-90 minutes depending on participation. All video calls will be recorded and available online for two weeks following the meeting.
The first call will be on April 23rd, 6p.m. PST. I’ll be talking about the ever-evolving challenges and joys of integrating writing into our days and weeks, establishing and maintaining our creative routines, and making writing an anchor in our lives.
Please feel free to get in touch! Email Fer, The Slow Novel Lab’s TA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.