Authors Lab applications for the 2024 cohort are open! Apply between September 15 and November 15, 2023 for the 2024 program year, which runs from January to December. Please note: Attending an Info Session is required to have your application evaluated. Much more info (and application links) are below.

What is Authors Lab?

Charlotte Lit’s Authors Lab is an intensive program — one, two, or three years, depending on your starting place and your goals — designed to guide you through the process of writing a full-length novel or memoir.

When you join Authors Lab, you join a community of writers, teachers, and mentors dedicated to helping one another reach their writing and publishing goals. Along with fellow cohort members, you’ll participate in programming structured to provide the skills necessary to write, revise, and prepare a full-length manuscript for publication, and support one another in the writing process. In addition to significantly enhancing your craft skills, you’ll develop the habits and confidence essential for a lifelong writing practice.

Applications for the upcoming program year are open until November 15. You may apply to enter Authors Lab at any stage of the drafting process, from concept to completed first draft. Writers entering at the beginning of the writing process should expect to stay in program for two years, with an option for a third year if needed. Those entering with a completed first draft can expect to finish an extensive rewrite in a single program year. Most writers enter somewhere in between, with a partial first draft. You’ll begin with a one-year enrollment and commit to additional program years on an annual basis, for up to three years.

Entrance is competitive and spaces are limited. We receive more applications each year than we have available spaces. An application, writing sample, and story summary are required for admission. (Application link and instructions are at the bottom of this page.)


The primary component of the Authors Lab experience is six Weekend Intensives over one year, during which you’ll attend craft classes, meet with your mentor, and participate in a supportive cohort community. Between these Intensives you will: participate in an online community with your cohort and faculty mentors; attend online “salons” to learn additional concepts; meet with your sub-cohort for writing and personal support; and receive writing feedback and support from your mentor and sub-cohort.

Weekend Intensives

Your full cohort, which will include writers at different stages of the drafting process, will meet at Charlotte Lit every other month for a two-day Weekend Intensive. Each Intensive includes:

  • Craft Classes: Take deep dives into essential skills such as story structure, creating effective dialogue, building story worlds, and showing and telling.
  • Mentor Meetings: Attend a mentoring session with your sub-cohort (see below), to review your progress, brainstorm, troubleshoot, and receive developmental feedback on your writing.
  • Generative Sessions & Salons: Work on writing exercises designed to help you integrate craft lessons while generating content for your manuscript; and attend special-interest discussion “salons” on topics such as genre, technology for writers, publishing options, and many more.

Here are the 2024 Weekend Intensive dates: January 20-21, March 9-10, May 4-5, July 13-14, September 21-22, November 16-17.

Faculty Mentors

You’ll be matched with a faculty mentor and placed in a 4-6 person sub-cohort. You’ll work with your mentor in several ways:

  • Mentor Meetings: Attend mentor meetings with your sub-cohort at the Weekend Intensives (see above).
  • Feedback: If you are in a first-draft cohort, you’ll receive written scene feedback six times during the year from your mentor and a sub-cohort member, through our online platform. You’ll also provide feedback to one of your sub-cohort members. If you are in a revision cohort, you’ll receive a full developmental evaluation at the start of the year.
  • Ongoing Support: Between intensives, your mentor will be available virtually for brief consultations, by email, phone, or zoom.

Authors Lab faculty mentors for our 2023 cohort are Heather Newton, Kim Wright, Megan Rich, and Paul Reali. You can read their bios on our Lit People page.

Cohort Community & Sub-Cohorts

  • Main Cohort. Your cohort of 18-24 people takes the book journey together, with guidance from faculty mentors. Each writer faces the solitary task of putting words onto the page, but that job is easier (and more fun!) with a supportive community.
  • Sub-Cohort. You’ll have the benefit of belonging to a small subgroup—accountability partners, sounding boards, and feedback partners—working with a single mentor. The sub-cohort is a diverse group who can learn from and support one another through meaningful differences in experience, style, and reading preferences. You’ll meet with your group formally during each intensive and informally as often as you like.

Additional Features

  • Socials. In addition to the Weekend Intensives, you’ll also gather with your cohort for a series of working socials for additional craft lessons and sharing experiences.
  • Online Community. You’ll be part of an online community, which includes discussion boards, class resources and recordings, Lab news, and more.

Your Investment

  • Your time and energy. To be successful in Authors Lab, you must be dedicated to your writing and to your cohort. This means: writing consistently; attending at least five of the six Weekend Intensives; attending elective classes; meeting with your mentor and cohort accountability partners; and participating in the online community — an average investment of 7-10 hours per week.
  • Base fee. The base fee for 2023 is $3,600 per year, payable in monthly installments of $300 per month, plus the Charlotte Lit annual membership fee. (Memberships begin at $75 per year.)
  • One year or more? Your Authors Lab journey is your own. Many writers complete a draft in one year; others take two. Some stay with Authors Lab for that second year, while others work on their own. Some write a draft in one or two years, then stay for another year to focus on revision. You get to choose!


Charlotte Lit has limited scholarship funds available. You can apply here. Writers making it to the final round may be asked for income verification in the form of IRS filings. Please note that scholarship requests are evaluated after acceptance into the Lab.

Applying to Authors Lab

What makes a strong application?

• A firm grasp of your chosen genre. (Writers are readers first.)

• A strong story concept and an ability to summarize the basic story arc (with the understanding, of course, that the story arc may change during the drafting process).

• A well-crafted writing sample. (While we accept writers with a range of writing and publication experience, writing a full-length manuscript requires above-average writing skills. Applicants should have previous craft class experience and completed at least one full-length short story or essay.)


Here are the links you need: