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The Slow Novel Lab offers a transformative six weeks of writing explorations, craft lessons, and video lectures created by bestselling and award-winning novelist Nina LaCour.

Nina guides you through deepening your craft as you write your novel with intention, increased clarity, and a spirit of exploration.

You’ll find new ways into your story, gain momentum, and develop mindset strategies to help you navigate the uncertainties of the writing life. The lessons and video lectures remain yours to keep and return to for future projects.

In The Slow Novel Lab, you won’t find lessons on writing in three acts or using rigid outlines. Instead, you’ll find a freer method that you can cultivate to suit your own style.

Nina guides you through the process, and in turn, you learn what works best for you as a writer and for your book. It is an engaging conversation with a writer who understands the many layers of the craft.

Who is The Slow Novel Lab for?

  • You’re invited to join the course whether you are embarking upon your first novel draft or are a longtime writer looking for a new approach.

  • You don’t need to have any pages of your project written in order to begin, but you’ll have a much easier time getting started if you have a concept in mind. 

  • If you have a partial or complete draft written but are feeling stuck, this course will also work for you—but only if you are willing to radically reexamine or even dismantle what you have and begin the process of imagining your story all over again.

Who is The Slow Novel Lab not for?

  • This course is not suggested for writers with a complete draft in need of light revisions—unless, of course, you’re ready to dive into a new project! 

  • It’s also not suggested for people looking for a writing group or critique, as the class is an independent experience where you work at your own pace and get very quiet with your novel. 

  • Finally, if you’re looking for a content-heavy course with hours of lectures and many pages of written materials per week, this is not for you! The lab is designed to be as spare as possible so you can get straight to work. It’s generative, not prescriptive, with short lessons and prompts that lead to hours of writing.
I’m so thankful for my time in the The Slow Novel Lab.
It has changed the way I approach my writing forever for the better.

It turns out “slow ” doesn't doesn’t really mean “slower pace.” It means “thoughtful.” It means “noticing.” It means “deliberate.” These are lessons every writer needs—no matter their experience.

How is The Slow Novel Lab different from other courses and programs?

Nina has designed each lecture, lesson, and exercise in the lab based on more than a decade of novel writing and teaching experience. She shares the most valuable tools she’s gained through trial, error, and exploration, distilling them into clear and actionable lessons for you.

In addition to craft concerns, Nina addresses mindset and productivity issues, knowing that much of what holds us back in our work is psychological. At the core of the lab is the belief that we already know how to tell our stories; we just need some tools and guidance along the way.

What do you mean by slow?

The lab was designed as a counterpoint to programs that emphasize speed and word count over process and exploration. Nina believes taking time to conceptualize and develop the foundational elements of your novel—the characters, the pivotal scenes, the setting, the timeline—prepares you to move through the rest of your drafting process with intention, direction, and increased productivity.  

Who is Nina LaCour?

Nina is a nationally bestselling and award-winning author whose novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She writes for adults, teens, and children and has been published by Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Candlewick, Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Algonquin. She’s also a lifelong teacher.

As a faculty member of Hamline University’s low residency MFAC program, a visiting lecturer at universities, conferences, and festivals across the United States and in Europe—and now through The Slow Novel Lab—Nina has guided hundreds of writers toward a fuller realization of their creative process and craft.

Click here to read more about her work and teaching, and learn more about her approach to writing and creativity by listening to her podcast, Keeping a Notebook.

What do we cover each week?

Your Story

You’ll begin by looking at points of connection and points of divergence between your novel and your life, understanding how you can mine your own experiences to enrich and inform your novel.


You’ll dive into your characters through a series of explorations, gaining clarity on what they are searching for and how they will struggle and change along the way.

Setting, Point of View and Structure

You’ll discover the many opportunities setting gives you once you know how to use it to its full potential. You’ll also examine the nuances, gifts, and limitations of your novel’s point of view.

Crafting the Emotional Plot

You’ll approach your plot in a brand-new way, focusing on the marriage of action and emotion, the use of pivotal scenes as scaffolding, and what it takes to create a satisfying climax and ending.

Tension and Emotion

You’ll learn methods of sustaining tension in the scenes between major plot points, and gain strategies for conveying emotion in order to keep your readers invested and engaged.

The Beginning and the End

You’ll identify the mood and tone of your novel and find room for variation within it. You’ll also draw out its beating heart—your themes—and elevate them. In the process, you’ll ensure your book does more than tell an engaging story—it will resonate with your reader even after it’s over.

There’s absolutely no way I could have started and completed a full draft so easily without this class. I couldn’t imagine a better investment for my writing career.

Ready to write your novel?

  • A welcome letter to introduce you to the class and set you up for a fulfilling journey through the material

  • Six collections of writing explorations, grouped by theme, designed to get to the heart of your novel

  • A slideshow lecture (with transcript) to accompany each theme

  • Mindset strategies to keep you moving forward through self-doubt and overwhelm

  • Additional exercises at the end of each 
module to turn to whenever you feel stuck

  • A self-paced program that remains yours to keep 
and return to for every novel you write.
lifetime access

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