Novel Classes And Consulting Services


Announcing the Winter/Spring 2023 Novel Catalyst workshop 


The Winter/Spring 2023 Novel Catalyst class will run from January 30 – April 17. These ten-week novel workshops employ both synchronous and asynchronous components. At the end of the class, you will have received feedback and discussion on up to 60 pages of your novel, worked through and discussed central plot tension and emotional arcs for your main characters, and explored other craft elements in our weekly workshop meetings. Although the class will run for ten weeks, it is limited in size to eight people.

The two-hour Zoom workshops will run on Monday nights, 7 – 9 pm EST, from January 30 – April 17 (with two Mondays off; the full calendar is below).

Zoom Class Calendar

Week 1: Monday, January 30
Week 2: Monday, February 6
Week 3: Monday, February 13
**NO CLASS on Monday, February 20 **
Week 4: Monday, February 27
**NO CLASS on Monday, March 6 **
Week 5: Monday, March 13
Week 6: Monday, March 20
Week 7: Monday, March 27
Week 8: Monday, April 3
Week 9: Monday, April 10
Week 10: Monday, April 17


Here’s how the class works: 
We will use a combination of weekly Zoom meetings and a dedicated Slack channel where craft lessons, assignments and workshop submissions will be posted.
For the first week, assignments pertaining to the novel’s central tension will be posted on Slack and discussed in our Zoom class. The goal is for the writer and the class to better understand the focus of your novel before we begin workshopping.

For the next four weeks, we will workshop two submissions per week of up to 30 pages per submission. Students will post their submissions on a dedicated Slack channel. Submissions will be posted one week before written feedback – in the form of a brief editorial letter or bullet-pointed feedback notes – is due. Feedback guidelines will be posted before class begins; line editing of manuscript pages is neither expected nor encouraged. Written feedback will be posted by 2 pm the Sunday before our two-hour Monday night Zoom workshop, allowing time for the writers up for discussion that week as well as the rest of the class to read over the comments.
In the first 40 – 45 minutes of our workshop I’ll discuss a craft element inspired by that week’s submissions. This means that I won’t be able to give you a list of topics in advance, but it will allow us to apply the craft lectures more directly to the in-class work we’re discussing. After that, each of the two writers workshopped that week will have an opportunity to ask questions pertaining to the written feedback they received, general questions about their novel or its elements, or to brainstorm any questions/concerns/difficulties the writer is having.
In the sixth week – after everyone in class has had 30 pages workshopped – we will take a break from workshopping pages and discuss the emotional arcs of your main character or characters. Where are they when the story begins? Where do you want them to be emotionally when it ends? How low or high will their emotions go along the way? As in the first week, this Zoom discussion will be facilitated by assignments posted on Slack.
In the last four weeks, we will workshop each writer’s second 30-page submission, as we did in Weeks 2 – 5.
Comparable online ten-week workshops generally charge $600 – $700 for classes of 12 students with fewer pages workshopped. I’m offering this class for $525.

The Winter/Spring 2023 class is currently full, but if you’d like to be put on a waiting list, e-mail me at


Previous Novel Catalyst students have said: 


“This was more than workshopping. This was a deeper dive into the “why” and “how” of writing.”

“Lisa presents information in a digestible way, even for hypersensitive writers.”

“Using the weekly class submissions to demonstrate the craft lesson is an inspired idea.”

“Incredibly helpful and encouraging.”


Refund Policies 


For 10-week Novel Catalyst classes, refunds will be given in full up to two weeks before the first class, minus a $50 fee to help cover my costs in advertising for a new student. From 13 days prior to class to one day after, you’ll receive a credit for a future workshop, minus a $75 fee. More than one business day after class, I’m afraid I can’t offer a refund or credit.


For Novel Elements courses, refunds will be in the form of credits toward future classes, and will be given up to one week before class begins.


Consulting and Coaching


For rates and availability contact


Developmental Editing: for novelists with a full or partial manuscript draft


As a developmental editor, I’ll read your novel twice and evaluate how it’s working in terms of elements of craft: voice, point of view, characterization, tension, the protagonist’s desire, part structure, plot. I’ll do heavy line editing on the first 30 pages to demonstrate patterns for sentence-level revision, and write comments and do occasional line edits throughout the rest of the manuscript.


I’ll then write a comprehensive editorial letter, 7 – 8 single-spaced pages long, where I detail what’s working well and areas for improvement. I’ll suggest possible revision pathways and recommend an overarching part structure. After you’ve received and read the manuscript with comments and the letter, we’ll schedule a one-hour Zoom meeting.


My rate is $100 per hour for developmental editing; the number of hours depends on both the length of the manuscript and the style of writing. I’ll quote you a firm rate before I start.


Novel Coaching: Finishing Your Novel Draft


For novelists at all stages.


You’ll send me the pages you’ve already written, if any, which I’ll read and discuss with you in an initial meeting. Then you’ll send me an agreed-upon number of new pages of your novel draft every two weeks (or at a longer interval, depending on the client), which I’ll read, provide feedback notes and then discuss with you in a half-hour meeting. We’ll set a target date for completion of the draft, and discuss revision strategies once the draft is finished.


All coaching services are priced at $100 per hour, but discounted packages are available. Coaching is customized for each individual client. Contact me for more information.


About Me


I’ve been teaching creative writing for more than twenty years. Early in my teaching career, I realized that novelists were underserved by traditional workshop formats, and I dedicated myself to devising classes geared specifically for the novel.


At Boston’s GrubStreet I developed and taught a variety of novel courses and programming, including the Novel in Progress classes and the Novel Generator program. I also co-developed the Novel Incubator program, and co-taught it in its first two years.


Applying the latest creative writing pedagogy to everything I’ve learned from the classes I’ve developed and taught, I launched the online Novel Catalyst workshops in 2020. The Novel Catalyst model shatters outmoded workshop structures: writers are no longer “in the box,” required to maintain silence throughout discussion of their submissions, but drive their own discussions based on feedback received before class. Classes take place over Zoom and are accessible to many geographical regions. Read more about the Novel Catalyst and upcoming classes here:


My coaching and consulting work has evolved from a service I offered former students who wanted to work with me after their courses had ended to a variety of options designed to help writers at all stages get their books written, revised, and ready to submit to agents or editors. I work primarily with novelists, preferring to focus my expertise and instruction on the novel’s inherent storytelling rewards and challenges. I enjoy working with all novel genres, including literary fiction, speculative/science fiction, young adult, mystery and historical, and have helped shepherd books in all of these categories to completion. 




Articles And Testimonials


My former student Anna Williams did an interview with me at Dead Darlings filled with writing tips and insights into my teaching style.



Poets and Writers magazine wrote in 2016 about the Novel Incubator program I co-developed and co-taught.



Fourteen of my former students or clients have had their books published after working through an entire draft with me; others have agents shopping their manuscripts around, and still others have been published after we developed sections of their books in one of my classes.



Lisa is a wonderful instructor and an astute reader, with a deep knowledge of the craft. She worked closely with me to flesh out my characters and to develop each scene more fully – for my first and now my second novel. It’s been an invaluable experience studying with her.

– Patricia Park, author of Re: Jane (Penguin/Viking, 2015)



Having worked with Lisa as both my instructor in a group class and in a one-on-one consultant setting, I got to see firsthand what a gifted and giving teacher she is. She’s gifted in that she has the ability to not only communicate exactly the kind of editorial feedback an author needs, but how they need to hear it. I highly recommend Lisa for anyone wanting to get his or her manuscript to the next level, polished for publication, or anywhere in between!

– Jennie Wood, author of A Boy Like Me (215 Ink, 2014) and the Flutter comic series (215 Ink, 2013 – 2017; to be re-released by Dark Horse Comics in 2018)



Lisa Borders has a keen eye for the inner workings of a novel—what can bring a manuscript to life and what can kill it if left to molder undetected. She leads with an open mind and is always willing to listen, granting there are many paths to a finished book. I loved working with her.

– E.B. Moore, author of An Unseemly Wife(Penguin/Berkley, 2014) and Stones in the Road(Penguin/Berkley, 2015)



Lisa is a fantastic editor who offers experience, a keen eye, and enthusiasm. She has a wonderful ability to pinpoint trouble areas in a manuscript, while identifying the parts that work best and why. She understands the nuts and bolts of creating and refining a novel. She helped me revise the mystery that is now a multiple-book series. You’d be hard pressed to find a better editor. Hire her.

– Stephanie Gayle, author of Idyll Threats, Idyll Fears and Idyll Hands (the Thomas Lynch mystery series, Seventh Street Books, 2015, 2017 and 2018)



Lisa was one of the first people to see my novel in its raw and rough form. The enthusiasm she showed for my manuscript’s potential set me on a course that would eventually lead to a published novel. Lisa’s warm-hearted approach to feedback allowed me to see where my manuscript sang and where it could be improved, from structure and pacing, to increasing the suspense and rounding out my characters to make them feel more fully alive on the page. Her thoughtful guidance encouraged me past the hurdles of revision time and again. I recommend her without hesitation and could sing her praises for days.

– Kelly Ford, author of Cottonmouths (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017)