See also:
Novel II First Draft—Part 1
See also:
Fiction Guide
Novel II First Draft—Part 2

Novel II First Draft, Part 2 is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures and worksheets. The focus is on writing the first draft of a novel. The prerequisite is Fiction I, or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals.  Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

The Novel First Draft classes work differently than other 10-week Workshops; they are devoted to powering through the first draft of a novel rather than critiquing. If you prefer to receive critiques on your novel, then take Novel Critique.

Gotham has two separate programs for Novel First Draft—Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 should be taken first. If, after Part 1, you wish to continue working on your first draft, then take Part 2.

A novel is a world into which a reader disappears for hours or days at a time, navigating through time and space and human psychology. We live with the characters, be they a glamorous bootlegger living the high life, or a mixed-up teenager on hiatus from prep school, or a pair of runaway twins who branch into separate lives over the decades.

Writing a novel is a long haul—a steep climb over hundreds of pages that must work as a unified and engrossing whole. Here you’ll learn the specialized techniques of novel writing and how to market your work.

As Toni Morrison says: If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

About Novel Writing
Novel II First Draft—Part 2

You will read examples of published authors and the challenges they faced. You will come to understand that everyone has the same doubts and issues you do. And you will learn from their advice, and blaze on.

Ginger LaBella

graphic designer/writer


Fiction I encompasses short stories and novels. After Level I, students have a choice of Short Fiction Writing II (focusing on short stories), or Novel II Critique or Novel II First Draft (focusing on novels).

If you’re working on “genre” fiction, you may take either a Fiction/Novel course or one of our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance, Mystery.

If you’re working on a YA novel, you may take a Fiction/Novel or “genre” course, or you may take a Children’s Book course, where the full spectrum of children’s books will be covered.

Upcoming Classes

To ensure everyone's good health, students in NYC classes must provide proof of full Covid vaccinations (the initial series of Covid vaccines plus at least one booster). We will accept your Covid vaccine card (or a digital scan), a NY State Excelsior digital card, or another form of government-approved proof. We will contact you before class begins about showing us proof. Masks are encouraged, but not required. We'll provide masks for those who need them.

More Covid details


Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.



The aim of this course is to power through a large portion (or all) of your first draft without stopping for feedback or self-doubt. You get craft and inspirational information, weekly worksheets, and a support group, but there is no critiquing of student work (aside from teacher feedback on your worksheets). Course components:
     Worksheets (to help develop your novel)
     Weekly word-count goals

Gotham has two separate programs for Novel First Draft—Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 should be taken first. If, after Part 1, you wish to continue working on your First Draft, then take Part 2.

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Each lecture offers advice from an acclaimed novelist, revealing craft, process, and inspirational insight. The course does not include critiquing of student novels.

Week 1
Haruki Murakami: You Can Do This – Murakami reveals “signs” that assured him he should write a novel. 

Week 2
Stephen King: Connecting to Characters – King reveals ways to find personal connections to characters. 

Week 3
Jennifer Egan: Seeking the Hidden – Egan reveals how she taps into “hidden” ideas and energy.

Week 4
Walter Mosley: Insight on Plot – Mosley reveals interesting approaches to looking at plot. 

Week 5
Zadie Smith: Confidence – Smith reveals techniques for bolstering confidence while writing.

Week 6
Celeste Ng: Questions to Answer – Ng reveals how to turn up crucial questions during the first draft.

Week 7
Neil Gaiman: Toward the Mountain – Gaiman reveals tips for always moving toward your writing goal. 

Week 8
Ernest J. Gaines: Hearing Voices – Gaines reveals how he channels voices and chooses point of view. 

Week 9
Ursula K. Le Guin: No Recipe – Le Guin reveals how she finds the unique path of each novel. 

Week 10
Lisa Reardon: Idea to Publication – Reardon reveals the journey of a novel from first idea to landing in the bookstore.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Meghan Kenny
Meghan Kenny

Meghan Kenny is the author of the novel The Driest Season (W.W. Norton & Company), a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, and  the short story collection Love Is No Small Thing (LSU Press). Her short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, and Pleiades. She has taught at Boise State University, Johns Hopkins University, and Franklin & Marshall College. She holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MFA in Fiction from Boise State University.

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