Novel Generator

“I can't believe I'm actually writing a book. I would never have been able to do this without the Novel Generator.”

In a Nutshell 

A nine-month program designed to help students at all levels complete (or make substantial progress toward completing) a first draft of a novel in an environment that offers support, accountability and feedback appropriate to this early stage in the novel-writing process. Read about our submission requirements here.

Applications for the Spring 2019 Novel Generator are now open! Apply here.

If you are interested in financial aid for the program, please apply for a scholarship.

The application and scholarship deadlines are December 5th, 2018.

Free Open House and Info Session

Thinking of applying? GrubStreet offers informal Q&A sessions in June with instructor Annie Hartnett to answer any questions you have about the Incubator, including the workload, the application process, what the program does and doesn’t entail, the schedule, the philosophy behind our approach, and anything else on your mind. The next Open House will take place in June 2019. 


The Novel Generator is a nine-month program designed to help 14 students write the first drafts of their novels. The course is divided into three phases, each with its own structure and goals. Phase I, which lasts for six weeks, focuses on craft, through a combination of lectures, exercises, and discussion of a common text. Sometime during this phase, students will have an initial one-on-one meeting with the instructor to discuss their project. In Phase II, the class meets for fourteen weeks of workshopping using the Novel in Progress method—scenes read aloud in class for on-the-spot feedback. Towards the end of Phase II, students will be divided into small groups for weekly accountability for the remainder of the course. At the end of Phase II, students will submit 20 pages of revised or new work to the instructor, and will each have a one-on-one meeting with the instructor to discuss those pages, the novel’s structure, and the student’s vision for the book as a whole. Phase III includes three class meetings, with students writing independently as they finish their novel drafts.

Students have entered this program with as few as 10 pages written and as many as 150. No matter how far along, all writers will be asked (through exercises and class discussion) to re-examine their initial concept and, if necessary, to make changes to shore up their plots. Writers who have already written a substantial number of pages will get the most out of this program if they feel open to all possibilities for their novels.

The Novel Generator can work as a companion to the Novel Incubator, but it is not an alternative to it. The Incubator is for students who have completed a strong first draft of a novel; the Generator is designed to push students toward that strong draft, whether or not they ultimately enroll in the Incubator or pursue other revision strategies.


“The group dynamic was among the best I've ever had in a class, at Grub or anywhere. The community was invaluable.”

“I loved the experience. I wish I had done it sooner.”

“Superb experience. It just was so much fun and so stimulating.”

“I can't believe I'm actually writing a book. I would never have been able to do this without the Novel Generator.”

“As usual, Grub Street, you offer something truly incredible. It's a gift and a blessing to be part of the Novel Generator, and I can't believe it.”

“This is my first class with Grub Street, and I am impressed...this is the only class that has delved into fiction craft in a meaningful way and assessed writers' work through that prism, offering real guidance on my project.”


Apply to the Generator

  • Application deadline: December 5th, 2018
  • Accepted students will be notified by January 3rd, 2019
  • Program starts on January 29th, 2019


Why We Started This Program 

Writing a first draft of a novel is a very different process from revising a finished draft. A writer working on her first draft is discovering the answers to the most basic questions about her novel as she writes: Who are these people? What do they desire? Will they get what they want? What is this book really about? While revision requires rigorous critical feedback, that kind of detailed feedback in the early stages of a first draft can paralyze the writer. While GrubStreet has many shorter-term courses specific to the novel, aspiring novelists have told us they wish they could continue on with the same group of students for long enough to finish their first drafts. The combination of craft instruction, accountability, instructor feedback, and class continuity in the Novel Generator has helped our students to leave the program with either a finished draft, or a partial draft and a clear path to the ending. If students achieve the course goal of writing ten new pages each week for the 30 weeks of Phases II and III of the Novel Generator, they will have written 300 pages. For many, this will be a completed draft.


If you have specific questions about the Novel Generator program and can't find the answers on this site (see the menu at the top right of this page), email or call the office at 617.695.0075.