Novel Classes And Consulting Services


My signature courses are the Novel Catalyst and the Novel Reactor. The former is a 10-week course focusing on craft lessons and written feedback. The latter is a 13-week generative course with verbal in-class feedback, craft discussions and (optional) readings.


Winter/Spring 2024 Class: The Novel Reactor

The newly expanded Novel Reactor is a 13-week generative course with in-class feedback, designed for 9 students. Classes run from 7 pm – 9:30 pm EST over Zoom. This winter/spring’s class will be held Monday nights from Feb 26 – May 20.

The goals of the Novel Reactor are as follows: to generate as many pages of your novel draft as possible in an eight-week period, while sharpening your writing and shaping your story arc. Each student in this class will have the opportunity to workshop a 10-page excerpt 4 times. Because you will not be reading your fellow students’ work outside of class as you would in a traditional workshop, your assignment is to write 10 new pages each week. (Please note that this is a very different course from the Novel Catalyst, which focuses more on craft lessons and written feedback.)

In the first 20 minutes of each class session, we will do an in-class exercise that you can use to help you write pages outside of class. The rest of the class will be dedicated to workshopping, with a short break midway through the class. We’ll also have at least four craft discussions scattered throughout the term, and optional readings posted on the craft topics.

This class also features an individual 30-minute Zoom conference with the instructor for each writer in the latter half of the course. These conferences are self-directed; you’ll come in with aspects of your work you’d like to discuss and I’ll help you brainstorm and troubleshoot.

This class will use the Novel in Progress method: you’ll read aloud to the group 8 – 10 pages (double-spaced, 12-point font – should be roughly 2400 – 3000 words) as everyone follows along. A workshop schedule will be distributed two weeks before the first class, and your piece will be submitted to me as a PDF doc one hour before the start of the class when you’re scheduled to workshop.

As you read aloud in class, your classmates and instructor will follow along on the provided doc, jotting notes for themselves. Then we will discuss the piece as we would in a typical workshop. We’ll have 40 minutes for each student’s workshop slot, which allows ample time for both reading and discussion.

The class will also have access to a dedicated Slack workspace as a resource for course materials and a place to gather between classes. 

This course will run $565 per student, based on 9 students and 13 weeks of class.

If you’d like to be part of the Winter/Spring Novel Reactor and you haven’t taken a class from me in the past two years, e-mail and tell me a little about your writing background and your current project. (Note: Catalyst and Reactor alumni may skip this step.)

Once I give you the green light, *or* if you’re a recent student, Venmo $565 to @Lisa-Borders-9 to secure your spot. You may contact me for information about other payment options. The final deadline to sign up for the class is Feb. 9. Reach out with any questions:

Classes will be held on the following nights:

Mon Feb 26

Mon March 4

Mon March 11

Mon March 18

Mon March 25

Mon April 1

Mon April 8

Mon April 15

Mon April 22

Mon April 29

Mon May 6

Mon May 13

Mon May 20



Previous Novel Catalyst and Novel Reactor 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 Novel Catalyst and Novel Reactor 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)