Meet the Instructor

Spring Novel Generator

Instructor Statement

If you’ve ever seen Into The Woods, you’ll remember the opening song and its repeated lyric: “I wish.” That little phrase is at the heart of all the fairytales Sondheim plays with in his musical, and it’s also at the heart of every story everywhere. For there to be a story, someone has to be saying—out loud or in secret—I wish. In the Novel Generator, we’ll start the whole long-term process of writing a novel by figuring out what is it that your character wants. Once you’ve got that—though you’ll keep revisiting that question as you develop the novel—you’ll be on your way towards building a narrative arc, a set of characters, subplots, and thematic elegance. The key here is that all of this novel work is in progress, taking shape. The emphasis is on learning to be nimble in your creative work and open to experiments so you can tell the best version of your story. You’ll learn to be a good writerly teammate, too, offering encouragement and constructive feedback along the way, and being part of a group whose excellence will come from a range of backgrounds and experience.

About the Instructor

Henriette Lazaridis's debut novel The Clover House was a Boston-Globe best-seller and a Target Emerging Authors pick. Her other work has appeared in publications including Elle, Forge, Narrative Magazine, Salamander, the New England Review, The Millions, the Huffington Post and The New York Times online, and has earned her a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grant. She has degrees in English from Middlebury College, Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Ph.D. She taught at Harvard for ten years before leaving academia to turn to writing and now teaches the novel at GrubStreet. She is currently working on a historical novel set partially in Antarctica.

Fall Novel Generator

Instructor Statement

Too often novels are born in the dark – the writer writing alone, in a locked room with no windows, the writer not ready to show any part of it to anyone until it's done, until it's perfect. I believe writing a novel can be more joyful and more playful than that – and that part of that joy can come from sharing the working draft earlier in the process, owning that it is still very much a thing in progress. The goal of this class will be to learn what the writing of a novel demands, how to keep the engine of the novel moving, and how to deal with obstacles when they arise. Feedback during the early stage of novel writing must be given carefully, but the class will learn to give feedback that is useful by focusing first and foremost on what we liked about what we’ve read. We will also learn the value of brainstorming aloud, asking each other constant “what if” questions that will help develop the plot and the characters. We will become champions of each other’s work, and we will remember to have fun with it.

About the Instructor

Annie Hartnett is the author of Rabbit Cake, which was selected as an Indies Introduce title and an Indie Next Pick by the American Booksellers Association, as well as an Amazon Best Book of the Month (March). Rabbit Cake received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal, was People magazine’s Book of the Week, and The Boston Globe called it “darkly funny and soulful.” Annie is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Alabama, and she was the 2013-2014 Writer-in-Residence for the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She has received awards and honors from the Bread Loaf School of English, McSweeney’s and Indiana Review. She is currently at work on her second novel, Driver’s Ed, which is a darkly comic story about a sex crime in a small town. Annie lives in Providence, RI with her husband and their border collie.