Authors Lab Application Help

This page helps you prepare for filling out the Authors Lab application for Year 1 or Year 2. (For full program details, go to this page.) When you’re ready, you’ll find the applications here:

YEAR 1:  Part 1  |  Part 2

YEAR 2:  Part 1  |  Part 2

Tip: Each part must be completed in one go; you can’t save your progress and return. If you’d like to pre-write your answers then copy and paste, refer to the questions below.


COME TO AN ONLINE INFO SESSION! One hour, led by Authors Lab program leads, covering everything you need to know. Six sessions to choose from: 12 noon or 6 pm, September 10, 16 or 22. Register here. Note: Attending an info session is REQUIRED for application acceptance.


Year 1: First Draft

Part 1 Application Questions

You’ll need to complete Part 1 in one sitting. To help you prepare, here are the questions about the book you plan to write, and which brings you to Authors Lab:

5: Is the planned book a novel or memoir?
6: For novels, what is the genre?
7: What is the book’s working title?
8: How much work have you done on the book so far?
9: Why do you want to tell THIS story?
10: Who is the audience for this book?
11: What book serves as inspiration or model for yours?
12: Tell us how that book is important to you and in what ways it’s like yours.
13: Have you completed a book before? If so, what was it and what became of it?
14: What writing experience do you have?
15: What are your strengths as a writer and what skills would like to develop?
16: What do you hope to gain from the Authors Lab experience?
17: What is your plan for the finished book?
18: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your story?
19: What questions or concerns do you have?
20: In our experience, you will need to commit 7-10 hours each week to complete your first draft in one year and to participate fully in the Authors Lab program. This almost certainly means giving up or cutting back on something you’re doing now. Are you able to commit to making that change?

Part 2 Application Uploads

The Year 1 application requires two uploads. Here’s some guidance.

1: Your book’s summary. A summary is a written narrative that tells as much of the story as you know so far, from 500-1500 words. You could write this as if you were telling a friend about the story, or you can choose a more formal synopsis format. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

2: A draft scene or chapter from your book. To serve as a writing sample, upload one complete scene or chapter from the proposed book. The best choice would be a scene that contains live action and conflict; that is, not a scene that is all exposition. (If you haven’t started writing, this is a good time to begin. Alternately, you can upload a polished work of creative writing in the same category as your proposed Authors Lab book: fiction or memoir.) Please do not upload an unedited first draft; you should take several editing passes so that you can put your best work forward. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

Application Fee

Charlotte Lit requires a $20 application fee to offset the cost of reading and evaluating applications and writing samples. If this fee presents a financial burden that would prevent you from applying to Authors Lab, please email us to request an application fee waiver.

Year 2: Revise & Polish

Part 1 Application Questions

You’ll need to complete Part 1 in one sitting. To help you prepare, here are the questions about the book you plan to write, and which brings you to Authors Lab:

5: Is the book a novel or memoir?
6: For novels, what is the genre?
7: What is the book’s working title?
8: How many words are in the first draft, and what’s your target for the final draft?
9: Why do you want to tell THIS story?
10: Who is the audience for this book?
11: What book serves as inspiration or model for yours?
12: Tell us how that book is important to you and in what ways it’s like yours.
13: Have you completed a book before? If so, what was it and what became of it?
14: What writing experience do you have?
15: What are your strengths as a writer and what skills would like to develop?
16: What do you hope to gain from the Authors Lab experience?
17: What is your plan for the finished book?
18: Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your story?
19: What questions or concerns do you have?
20: In our experience, you will need to commit 7-10 hours each week to complete your first draft in one year and to participate fully in the Authors Lab program. This almost certainly means giving up or cutting back on something you’re doing now. Are you able to commit to making that change?

Part 2 Application Uploads

The Year 2 application requires two uploads. Here’s some guidance.

1: Your book’s synopsis. A synopsis is a written narrative that tells the entire story in very abbreviated form—generally 1000-2000 words. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

2: A draft scene or chapter from your book. To serve as a writing sample, upload one complete scene or chapter from the draft of the book. Please do not upload an unedited first draft; you should take several editing passes so that you can put your best work forward. Generally, this will be 1000-3000 words. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

Application Fee

Charlotte Lit requires a $20 application fee to offset the cost of reading and evaluating applications and writing samples. If this fee presents a financial burden that would prevent you from applying to Authors Lab, please email us to request an application fee waiver.


COME TO AN ONLINE INFO SESSION! One hour, led by Authors Lab program leads, covering everything you need to know. Six sessions to choose from: 12 noon or 6 pm, September 10, 16 or 22. Register here. Note: Attending an info session is REQUIRED for application acceptance.