The 90-Day Novel is a Live-on-Zoom workshop with Alan Watt that will take you from initial idea to the completion of your novel's first draft in 90 days.
"What was impossible to accomplish in ten years becomes possible in 90 days."
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The 90-Day Novel is about making a contract with your subconscious. Your subconscious is the seat of your genius, and there is a window of time that it can remain fully engaged in a creative task before it gets distracted, fatigued, or your ego begins to challenge it.
Genius is not a noun — it's a verb. The 90-Day Novel helps you tap into that primal well to which we all have access, by marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure.
The 90-Day Novel is not about writing a polished first half of a novel, but rather, developing a coherent narrative, grounded in character, that leads to a transformation. When you connect to the heart of your story and hold your idea of the plot loosely . . . magic starts to happen.
The 90-Day Novel is a simple but powerful process that keeps you in your right brain, so that your subconscious can do the "heavy lifting" of developing a compelling narrative. Your left brain is good at doing one thing — solving problems logically. While this may be helpful in your everyday life, it's not as helpful in building a story, because the truth is that your protagonist doesn't actually have a problem . . . they have a dilemma.
Problems are solved, while dilemmas are resolved through a shift in perception.
The purpose of story is to reveal a transformation. Therefore, our challenge as writers mirrors that of our protagonist, namely to surrender a limiting belief we have about ourselves or the world in order to be led to a deeper truth.
We meet once a week in a LIVE Zoom call on Mondays from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Pacific Time), for 14 consecutive weeks, followed immediately by a live Q&A to answer any questions that emerge.
The workshop is a combination of craft lessons and stream-of-consciousness writing exercises where writers read their work and I work with a number of writers one-on-one to illustrate the principles.
Note: You are not required to take the workshop live. Many writers have day jobs or commitments during class hours, therefore all of our sessions are recorded and are available for three weeks, respectively.
Every morning a daily letter from The 90-Day Novel lands in your inbox.
The letters were developed over the course of several years, and are a guide through the process of creating a compelling narrative.
Writers often comment on the synchronicity of the letters — on how they seem to meet you right where you are. While the letters focus on craft, they are also a response to the seemingly uncanny uniformity of experience shared by the many writers who have taken the 90-day journey before you.
The group forum is where you can connect each day with your classmates to share your experiences, hold yourselves accountable to a daily page count, and take part in daily discussion topics.
Over the course of 90 days we discover that we're not alone — the ups and downs that caused us to question whether or not we were really a writer, are, in fact, par for the course.
It's liberating to realize that our private struggles are universal, and that they often provide direct clues into the world of our characters.
During the first month of the workshop, in the outlining phase, I offer one-on-one story consultations where you can send me your three-page outline and I review it, make notes, and go over it with you in a private one-hour consult to explore the most dynamic and compelling way to tell your story before you begin your first draft. There is an additional cost, and a limited number of spots for this service.
In this free 90-minute video, I'll lead you to a deeper understanding of your novel, by guiding you through the process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of story structure.
"I sold my novel, Radiant Shimmering Light, to HarperCollins Canada a few weeks after I finished the 90-Day Novel and 90-Day Rewrite. It’s now been published in four countries and optioned for a TV series. The 90 Day method is compassionate, sane, and leaves space for mystery (which I love).”
Sarah Selecky, Author of Radiant Shimmering Light, HarperCollins
“Alan Watt’s The 90-Day Novel is a treasure trove of insight, not only for beginners or aspiring writers but for grizzled old-timers like myself, who can profit, always, from revisiting the fundamentals and First Principles of the writer’s calling. Two thumbs up!”
Steven Pressfield, Bestselling Author of The War of Art
“The 90-Day Novel workshop taught me so much on so many different levels that I don’t know where to start. Al is not only a brilliant writing teacher, but a spiritual guide and that is what sets him apart from any other writing teacher. I don’t mean this in a new-agey way, I mean that he guides us to find the answers within – he gently nudges us towards our truth and it’s from that place that our stories emerge. I started the class with an idea – that was it, and I wasn’t even sure that it would work as a novel. 90 days later I have a story (over 500 pages) with characters who have come alive and have used me to tell the story of their transformation. I think in any other class it would have taken me years to gain the understanding that the last 90 days has given me. My characters have changed and so have I. I can’t thank Al enough.”
Sophie Uliano, Bestselling Author of Gorgeously Green (as seen on Oprah)
Hi, I'm Al. They call me the Writer Whisperer.
I'm the L.A. Times bestselling author of the novels, Diamond Dogs and Days Are Gone, and the recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award, a Book Sense Pick, a New York Time's New and Noteworthy book pick, and winner of France's Prix Printemps for best foreign novel of the year. Along with the national bestseller, The 90-Day Novel, (Amazon's #1 book on writing for five months) the lab has published five other books on writing. I teach a process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure, and my students span the range from first-time writers to best-selling authors and filmmakers who've won numerous accolades for their work including the Pulitzer Prize.
I’m also the writer/director of the independent feature, Eddie, Kill the President (formerly Interior Night), which won four best feature awards at U.S. film festivals as well as The Boston Film Festival's Filmmaker Visionary Award. Oh, I also had a small part on Seinfeld back in the 90s when I had a thick lustrous head of chestnut hair. It's the Chinese gum episode. I'm the movie theater vendor who sells Kramer the vile hotdog.
Fourteen 90-min workshops
Live Q&A following each session
90 daily letters
Daily writing prompts
Group forum with daily discussion topics
One-on-one story consultation
Personal accountability groups
Suggested Donation - $1,000 | Minimum Donation - $500 until Dec. 26th
“The 90-Day Novel is the most fun and exhilarating feeling I have ever experienced, like falling in love. Really, I never had this feeling before, not at Harvard, not getting my book published, I don’t even know how to put it into words. Al Watt is the best teacher I have ever had. Al, thank you so much for sharing what you know and your experience with me.”
Maureen O'Crean, Author of I Am Diva!
"I went out and bought a book called The 90-Day Novel, by Alan Watt. It’s ridiculous, claiming that anybody can write a great book, and quickly too. [. . .] But it ended up as a Oulipian thing, [. . .] it was actually interesting to conform to the rules.”
Ottessa Moshfegh, ManBooker Prize finalist for Eileen, Penguin Random House
“I feared it would be a gung-ho course where I would be bullied into adopting certain rules — it was quite the opposite — a place where I could go and learn to trust my deepest subconscious to come up with the goods. I delivered [my] book on time, it’s selling well, CAA has picked it up — none of this would have happened with such speed and ease without Al. Take the course!”
Lucinda Clare, Bestselling author of An English Psychic in Hollywood
“The workshop was without a doubt the key to getting my travel memoir about living with the poor in Vietnam out of a rut. Al is brilliant and has an uncanny ability to draw out of your issues and angles you didn’t know you had in you. It was also fascinating to hear the work of other writers and then learn from Al’s comments to them. I finished my book and had offers from two publishing houses.”
Karin Esterhammer, Author of So Happiness to Meet You, Prospect Park Books, Winner of the Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal
“Al Watt provides writers at every level with a safe place to engage their creativity. Through a combination of in-class writing, queries into structure, and repeated one-on-one dialogues, writers gain access to the subconscious, where the emotional truth of story abides. Al gives his all, while allowing writers to discover for themselves the strongest possible path to a completed work. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Karen Palmer, Author of Border Dogs, Soho Press
"The idea of bringing a first draft of a novel to fruition seemed too daunting and overwhelming to even consider until I was introduced to Al's 90-Day Novel Workshop. His methodology is deep and precise, and helps unearth unconscious themes and characters in you that let the story almost tell itself."
Rebecca de Mornay, Actress/Writer
“Al Watt’s 90-Day Novel is the ultimate gift to writers—an incubator for the stories you want to bring to the page from a place of emotional truth and from your heart. I wish I’d known about Al when I wrote my first novel. His mastery of story fills in the missing pieces and he guides you to your best work.”
Sarah Lovett, author of Blowback, Penguin Random House
“I resisted my story for five years, with “good reasons” to dodge the work. Al’s 90-Day Novel class changed that. The daily letters, stream-of-conscious writing exercises and tales of the other writers kept me focused, honest and committed. It was liberating to write without reflexive rewriting – a huge change for me! I surprised myself every day. Especially the day I finished.”
Peggy Mulloy, Unit publicist for Thor and Memoirs of a Geisha
“I couldn’t have completed The Count of the Sahara without the help of Al and the 90-Day Novel program. The questions I had to answer before even starting Day 1 were incredibly useful in breaking down the structure, helping me envision the story, and creating the characters that are the heart of the novel.”
Wayne Turmel, Bestselling author of The Count of the Sahara
“Al’s 90-Day Novel is the best writing workshop I have ever taken. The supportive nature of the class inspires and motivates you to write every day and to get to the true heart of your story. By the end of the 90th day, I had completed my rough draft (300 pages long) and developed a writing ritual that I have adopted for the rest of my life.”
Jennifer L. Scott, International Bestselling Author of Lessons From Madame Chic, Simon & Schuster
“My first book, Reclaiming Konia, took me a total of 8 years from start to finish. In 2014, I made the best decision ever to take the 90 Day Novel Tele-course and what I couldn’t finish in 7 years I did in 90 days. Al’s class helped create a template that allowed me to pursue my writing in a way that was never possible before The 90 Day Novel.”
Heather Martin, Author of Reclaiming Konia, Winner of the 12th Annual National Indie Excellence Award
"Al Watt’s marvelous courses have helped me in every aspect of writing. When you’re thoroughly confused by plot advice and character how-to’s, drop it all and run fast to lawriterslab.com. From in-person to telecourses, you’ll find something to clear the way to your novel, screenplay, play, memoir . . . whatever is your path, you’ll have a guide.”
Guinotte Wise, Winner of the H. Palmer Hall Award; Nominated for several Pushcart Prizes
“I couldn’t have written any of my books without The 90-Day Novel and The 90-Day Rewrite. Thank you Al for writing such invaluable tools. They keep me disciplined and in focus. I have recommended your books to anyone who has shown an interest in writing.”
Carol Treacy, Author of Madeleine's Masterpiece
"I discovered Alan via YouTube. His insights were so helpful I went in search of more from him and discovered this book. Wow! So different than other writing books and the most helpful I've read to date. The 90-Day Novel has made a huge improvement in my writing in a very short time. And not only that; it has made the creative journey of writing so much more enjoyable. Try it. DO the exercises. Listen to Alan. Let your creative self go and inquire. You won't be disappointed."
Caroline Hollis, author of The Willow Glen Series.
"I never let myself dream of writing a novel. It felt too big, too intimidating, too impossible. I’d taken courses on craft, and everything I’d seen on novel writing felt like trying to stuff something creative and beautiful into a bunch of pre-set boxes. What I love most about free-writing was I can let my imagination go, but how could I turn that into a book? No one seemed to be able to tell me how, and even if they had, I don’t know that I would have had the confidence to do it. All that changed when I took the 90-Day Novel workshop. It gave me a way to create structure and permission to trust myself, my writerly imagination. Al’s gentle guidance and repeated assurances to trust the process kept me going. I wrote every day, and by the end, I had a first draft of my novel! I’m delighted and eternally grateful!"
Diane Roberson Douiyssi, Founder of Inner Wisdom Wayfinding
Workshops take place on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Pacific Time). I’m always on the Zoom call at 10:45 a.m. to welcome writers and answer questions before class. I also do a formal Q&A immediately following each workshop.
There are no prerequisites to join. You will find New York Times bestselling authors writing shoulder to shoulder with first-time writers. I’m teaching a process of getting the story from your imagination to the page. Start where you are.
We offer 100% refund in the first 7 days of the workshop if you need to drop out for any reason. There can be no postponements for future workshops.
The 90-Day Novel class size is not limited. In writing your first draft, you do not read your work-in-progress to the class, however, you are encouraged to read your writing exercises so Alan can work with you one-on-one to illustrate the principles to everyone. Also, while you are encouraged to share your work, it is not required. Once you have completed your first draft, you are invited to take The 90-Day Rewrite workshop, which is limited to 16 writers and you read your work each week.
Yes, there is homework. Outlining and writing a first draft is a big undertaking. I recommend that you devote two hours a day to the workshop. If you have a busy schedule, that may not be possible, in which case, you may want to temper your expectations, but that should not discourage you from jumping into the class. It is more important that you approach this workshop as a daily or near-daily practice, even if you can only devote a little time each day, than it is to cram all of your work in on weekends.
When we commit to this process, the results are often beyond our imagination … we just don’t know what they will be. This workshop is going to guide you through your protagonist’s journey, and you will likely be transformed as a result. The only thing I can promise is that if you show up and put in the time, you will have a first draft in 90 days.
I offer up to two full scholarships each semester for military veterans and for stories of cultural diversity. To apply, please submit a brief bio and a synopsis of up to 300 words describing your story to email@example.com. Selected recipients will be notified 10 days prior to the start of the workshop.
All workshops are recorded and available for up to three weeks, so you can watch them as often as you wish during that time.
If one or more of the following apply, you belong here:
While the objective of the workshop is to complete a first draft in 90 days, the goal of the workshop is to deepen your relationship to your creative spirit, and we cannot do this without creating an environment where each writer feels respected and honored, and where their story is valid. I try to be encouraging, positive, passionate, deep, thoughtful, intuitive, and extremely curious about the story you’re attempting to express. I won’t impose my ideas onto your work, but rather, through inquiry, guide you to the heart of what you’re attempting to express. This process will almost inevitably bring up doubts and fears, but that is an inevitable part of the journey. The workshop will guide you through the emotional ups and downs through the daily letters and support in the group forum and from myself as your instructor.
I try to offer this workshop twice a year. If you can’t make this one, check for future dates here.
This workshop meets on the same day each week for 14 consecutive weeks beginning on the start date, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
You don’t need to have a story idea to begin the workshop. The writing exercises will help you to discover a story. We don’t begin writing the first draft until the 5th class.
The lab celebrates your joy, curiosity, and uniqueness — this a space where we welcome diversity and inclusivity, where all stories are supported and encouraged. There is no place for bigotry or discriminating against someone due to their ethnicity, political belief, race, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, disability, or on any other ground. We ask for all writers attending workshops in the lab to respect one another. Every 90-day workshop includes up to two full scholarships for stories of diversity and/or characters who have been marginalized in some way.
The story lives within you.
I help you find it.