Getting To Know Your Novel Online Course Feb-Mar 2021

February 9 - March 30, 2021

Online Course Info:

This 8-week intensive features LIVE lectures, writing exercises, and multiple opportunities for feedback on your work-in-progress. You’ll deepen your understanding of the pillars of a novel, and apply your knowledge as you workshop your own novel.

This course provides a unique opportunity to improve your novel through multiple feedback perspectives:

  • Partner feedback: You and your partner will share as much feedback as you want on up to 50 pages of your draft.
  • Guest Reader feedback: One of our workshop Readers, all published authors, will give you written feedback on up to 30 pages of your draft.
  • Revision time: During weeks 7 and 8, you will have time to make revisions on your draft.
  • Faculty feedback: After you’ve made revisions, lead faculty Sarah Aronson will read and give you feedback on your cover letter, synopsis and 10 pages of your draft.

Online Workshop Participant Cap:

18 students.

What You’ll Learn & Experience:

Start with your complete or well-in progress novel, and workshop it with author and writing teacher Sarah Aronson. During the 8-week course you will:

  • Join weekly sessions LIVE (or watch recorded sessions at your own pace.)
  • Participate in online discussions (Sarah will facilitate and respond to questions.)
  • Complete writing exercises for use both inside and outside your work-in-progress.
  • Receive multiple perspectives of feedback.
  • Have time to make suggested revisions before submitting for more feedback.

Sarah will check in with each student via email weekly, to answer questions and give direction.

Scroll down to see a more detailed agenda.

Please note:
If you’re unable for any reason to attend either session, you’ll have access to the recordings of each through May 15, 2021.

Join Us If:

  • You have a complete or near-complete novel draft. You’ll get the most out of this workshop if you’re at this stage. You need to be ready to workshop it in earnest, and eager to get it ready for agents/publishers.
  • You’re willing to work! This program is best for those who will dedicate time and attention to the writing exercises and their critique submission.
  • You want mentor and peer support to bring out the best in yourself and your novel. If you’re intimidated by critiques, it’s ok! Sarah and her team are generous, warm, and effective.

Preliminary Agenda:

Week 1: What is your novel about?
LIVE, February 9, 1pm Eastern; plus writing exercises

Week 2: Main Characters and Plot
LIVE, February 16, 1pm Eastern; plus writing exercises

Week 3: Secondary characters and Setting
LIVE, February 23, 1pm Eastern; plus writing exercises

Week 4: Dialogue and Backstory
LIVE, March 2, 1pm Eastern; plus writing exercises
March 3: Submissions due for guest faculty (first 3 chapters or 30 pages) and partners (up to first 50 pages).

Week 5: No lecture, Editor “Office Hour”
LIVE, March 9, 1pm Eastern, come with all of your business and craft questions for our editorial guest, Kat Brzozowski

Kat will also offer a craft session this week, date and time TBD

Week 6: NO LIVE SESSIONS, meetings with partner, feedback received from guest reviewer
March 12-19
Partner meetings on first 50 pages (exact schedule TBD), and guest faculty written feedback on 30 page submissions

Week 7: Revision Panel
LIVE, March 23, 1pm Eastern; revisions encouraged

Week 8: Final Q & A with Sarah
LIVE, March 30, 1pm Eastern; revisions encouraged
Submission details offered for revised first 10 pages and synopsis to Sarah

To come: final meetings with Sarah to look at revised opening and synopsis.

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop–application deadline is January 15.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


8 Articles to Help You Write a Kidlit Novel
Podcast: Sarah Aronson talks about getting to know your novel and Rube Goldberg
Faculty Interview: Sarah Aronson
Listen for Stories
Eulogy Virtues


“This is by far the most supportive and professional workshop I’ve ever been to – I felt nurtured and more than achieved my goals.”

“Sarah’s warmth, generosity, responsiveness, and great insights made this class one of the most outstanding I have ever taken. She set not only the structure but most importantly the tone that made this workshop so successful from its online beginning to its in-person culmination.”

“Sarah is a thoughtful teacher who is generous with her time. She truly cares about her students!”


Sarah Aronson

Sarah Aronson has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has…
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Kat Brzozowski

Special Guest Kat Brzozowski is a senior editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends. She has edited a wide range of…
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Meera Trehan

Workshop Reader Meera Trehan read as much as she could as a child, memorized poems, and ate enough cookies to…
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Melanie J. Fishbane

Workshop Reader Melanie J. Fishbane holds an M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of…
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Krystal Song

Workshop Reader Krystal Song is a writer with roots in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Much of her work touches on…
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