Kickstart Your Novel

with Eman Quotah

kickstart your novel

1 day workshop


Go full throttle.

The only difference between someone who’s written a novel and someone who hasn’t is that one of them kept going till the end! It’s not magic. It’s a matter of having an idea you love, sustaining momentum to get through the first draft, understanding what it means to revise, and having a plan to get it all done.

This seminar is for anyone working on the first draft of a novel. We’ll discuss:

  • How to turn an idea into opening pages and an outline.
  • How to build—and keep—momentum.
  • Different approaches to writing and revising a novel.
  • Building your craft as you go; turning short-story writing experience to your advantage.
  • Ways to get support, time, and space to write.
  • The importance of support from a writing community (or one good writing buddy).
  • How to finish.
  • What happens when you’re done (i.e., how to find an agent or publisher, if publication is your goal).

We’ll also discuss your writing and publishing questions in an open Q&A at the end of the session.

Participants should have at least the germ of an idea for a novel. All genres, audiences (adult, YA, middle-grade), and experience levels welcome.

You’ll leave this workshop with a clear plan to write your novel.

Workshop Takeaways

– How to set goals and make a plan for drafting and revising your novel.

– Common roadblocks and how to get around them.

– A better idea of why you want to write a novel and what you want it to be about

Workshop Expectations

Students will have some light reading ahead of workshop and are expected to come to workshop with an idea they want to work on.

Zoom Schedule:

This workshop will run on Sunday, December 3rd, from 12pm-3pm Eastern.

Workshop Outline

Hour 1: Getting started: Testing your idea, mapping plot and characters, choosing point of view and structure, understanding your intentions and audience, and beginning to write.

Hour 2: Writing is revision: Approaches to drafting and revising — what will work for you? Practicing “shitty first drafts.”

Hour 3: Carving space: How to find time and support to write your manuscript, how to know you’re done, and what to do next.


“In Favor of Speed: Write Fast, Fix Later,” by Mateo Askaripour

“How Do You Even Get Started Writing a Book?” by Jon Cotter

“How Pottery Taught Me to Love Writing First Drafts,” by Erica Berry

“An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel,” by Swan Huntley

“Back Draft: Hala Alyan,” by Ben Perkert and Hala Alyan

“That Crafty Feeling,” by Zadie Smith

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Student Feedback for Eman Quotah:

Eman’s class was WONDERFUL. Really inspiring in a slow-burn, sustainable and actionable way. Coralie HB

1 day workshop


eman quotah headshot


Eman Quotah’s debut novel, Bride of the Sea, won the Arab American Book Award for fiction in 2022. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, Necessary Fiction, Witness, Guernica, The Rumpus, Jellyfish Review, Kweli, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, ArabLit Quarterly, The Markaz Review and other publications. When she’s not writing fiction or essays, Eman is a communications consultant who works with health foundations and social change organizations. She lives with her family near Washington, D.C.