Writing a book that captivates readers is hard.

Our next Story Genius Workshop will happen in 2020.


"I was a student in the second offering of this class. It is almost a year later, and it was the best thing I have done for myself and my writing life." – Peggy McFarland

Story Genius will take you step-by-step from the first glimmer of an idea to an evolving, multi-layered cause-and-effect story blueprint. This work will lead you to a first draft that has the authority, richness, and command of a fully realized sixth or seventh draft.

By mastering the Story Genius method, you will:

  • Experience a profound and empowering shift in the way you conceive, write, and develop a novel

  • Understand what a reader’s brain is looking for in every story it encounters – and learn how to give it to them

  • Gain the skills and confidence you need to succeed as a fiction writer, no matter where you are in your writing career

  • Take a novel idea from vague and fuzzy to crystal clear so that you can write forward with confidence

Go deep with Story Genius

The Story Genius Method 13-Week Novel-Writing Workshop will teach you to write a novel that captivates, delivering what your reader’s brain is wired to crave and respond to in every story it hears. Forget guessing where to start, where to end, or how to navigate the long road in between. Through weekly video and audio lessons, and action-oriented assignments with personalized editorial feedback from a dedicated book coach, we will teach you how to write a book people want to read.


Space is limited

Space in our Story Genius Workshop is limited because this isn’t a “watch the videos on your own time” course that can be blasted out to thousands of writers. You get weekly personalized feedback from trained pros dedicated to making your story the best it can be.


This is the only authorized online workshop where you can learn Lisa Cron's method and get feedback from coaches she has personally trained.


What Story Genius covers

  • Learn – The workshop includes weekly video (or audio) lessons from Lisa Cron and Jennie Nash.

  • Think + Reflect + Plan – Our Story Genius workbook gives you the chance to dig deeper into your story than you’ve ever gone before.

  • Revise – Get weekly email feedback on your work from a book coach trained in the Story Genius method.

  • Take Action – Each week includes assignments to move you forward in the creation of your novel.

  • Prepare for Success – Once the workshop is complete, we invite you to join our Manuscript Accelerator program, with the goal of completing a strong rough draft.

  • Week 1: What Is a Story?

  • Week 2: Whose Story Is It?

  • Week 3: Where Does Your Story Start?

  • Week 4: Catch Up and Revise

  • Week 5: Where Does Your Novel Start?

  • Week 6: The Story Genius Scene Card System + Developing Your Opening Scene Card

  • Week 7: Write Your Opening Scene

  • Week 8: Understanding the "Aha Moment" Scene + Developing Your "Aha Moment" Scene Card

  • Week 9: Write Your “Aha Moment” Scene + Learn How to Keep Track of Your Scenes and Cards

  • Week 10: Developing Your Story Genius Blueprint

  • Week 11: Secondary Characters

  • Week 12: Subplots

  • Week 13: Flashbacks

About the Story Genius Workshop application

We review each Story Genius application personally to determine fit for the program and to match you with one of our certified book coaches. It’s not about the quality of your writing or your story idea; it’s about your fit within this rigorous program.

What our Story Genius students say

You [Lisa and Jennie] have this wealth of knowledge to share, even at the expense of your own creative work. You are right there with us: the full-time workers with day jobs and three kids who might never see their dreams of being a full-time writer actualized. You get it, and that makes me appreciate what you do even more. Thank you for sacrificing so that we can learn.
— Kacey Vanderkarr


In April 2018, Kacey Vanderkarr signed with Ali Herring at Spencerhill Associates.

Read about Kacey's journey on her web site.



Teri's novel, Tiger Drive, won Best New Fiction for the 2018 American Fiction Awards.


Interview with Story Genius alum, author Teri Case
Watch the full interview

“I’ve used more than one of Author Accelerator’s programs and will again. For Tiger Drive, my coach extraordinaire, Lizette Clarke, at Author Accelerator did an evaluation and was able to tell me what still needed to be fixed — issues that were keeping Tiger Drive from being published. Lizette and Author Accelerator are part of the village that made Tiger Drive a reality.” — Teri Case, author of Tiger Drive

You are the right fit for
the Story Genius workshop if...

You are a new writer.

You need structure, feedback, and support to get moving on your book.

You have a work-in-progress, but you are willing to set it aside to work on your story fundamentals.

You are working on a fiction story.

*We don't have the expertise to assist with the screenwriting process. We encourage you to purchase Lisa's book.

Your instructors



Lisa is an author, speaker, and private story coach whose TEDx Talk, Wired for Story, opened Furman University’s 2014 TEDx conference, Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity. She has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer on shows for Showtime and CourtTV, and as a story consultant for Warner Bros. and the William Morris Agency. Since 2006, she has been an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, and she is on the faculty of UCLA's School of Visual Arts MFA program in Visual Narrative. She is the author of Wired for Story and Story Genius. She has taught portions of the Story Genius Method Novel-Writing Workshop at universities, events, and writing conferences across the country, including:

  • Novelists Inc.

  • Writer Unboxed UnConference

  • Romance Writers of America Conference

  • The Writer’s Digest Conference, Los Angeles and New York

  • SCBWI Wild, Wild Midwest Conference

  • Willamette Writers Conference

  • The Alaska Writer’s Guild Conference

  • UCLA Extension Writers' Program

  • PEN, a two-day workshop

  • Story Expo



In this workshop, you get the benefit of two writing pros, because the workshop is co-taught by Jennie Nash, who developed her most recent novel using the Story Genius method within the pages of the Story Genius book.

Jennie is the founder and chief creative officer of Author Accelerator, a program that brings professional book coaching to writers in all genres. She is a private book coach whose authors regularly land top New York agents and book deals with publishers including Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Hazeldon, Norton, and Random House. Several of her writers have also recently won national self-publishing awards.

Jennie is the author of four novels, three memoirs, and counting:


Your next steps

  1. Join the Story Genius Interest List.

  2. Purchase and read Lisa Cron's Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel.

  3. Complete the Story Genius Q&A promptly when you are notified the Story Genius Workshop is open for enrollment.

Our next steps

  1. Review your Story Genius application to determine whether you are a good fit for the workshop. You will be notified of your acceptance status shortly after the application closes.

  2. Send you a payment link upon your acceptance.

  3. Once your payment has been received, we will match you with your personal book coach, who you will meet during the first week of the workshop.

We believe in Story Genius

We strongly believe that the Story Genius method will change the way your approach your next book. This unique approach to the book-writing process gives you the chance to actively work on your book using the Story Genius method AND receive weekly feedback from one of our certified book coaches. 

We believe in you

Once the workshop is over you will continue to have access to the online course materials, and you will have the option of signing up for our Manuscript Accelerator program to continue making progress on your book and receiving feedback. Our goal is for you to finish your rough draft – and finish strong.

+ Is the workshop appropriate for newer writers?

It’s the perfect time to come in, because you don’t have much to unlearn. Writing is often taught wrong, with a focus on plot and words instead of story. So what we’re doing is pulling apart things that people have been taught forever and bringing them back together so they can write a story that is really engaging. It’s much easier to learn something when you’re learning from scratch than it is to unlearn something.

+ Will it help me with a work-in-progress?

Yes, but ONLY IF YOU ARE WILLING TO SET ASIDE WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN FOR THE DURATION OF THE WORKSHOP. We are shouting this from the mountaintops because in our beta-tests of the workshop, we found that the most frustrated writers were the ones trying to retrofit an already-existing manuscript into the lessons. We want to emphasize that if somebody comes into this workshop and thinks that in 13 weeks they’re going to fix their novel, that’s not happening, and they’ll be frustrated. Those who are willing to ACTUALLY set aside their work in progress and dig into their story's fundamentals will do really well. But you have to make sure you are not dragging old work through this new process. You can take what you learn in the Story Genius Workshop and apply it to all your work AFTER the workshop is over. Please click here to watch a video that will give you a good idea of why we suggest setting your previously written material aside for this workshop.

Of course, on the flip side, we've found that many of our writers who have taken a work in progress through the workshop have used the concepts as a diagnostic tool for assessing why their current manuscript isn't working. By utilizing the Story Genius method, they were able to pull out what wasn't working and revise so that it did work. If you have a work in progress and know that it's not working, Story Genius could be the answer.

+ Can I take the workshop if I'm writing a memoir?

No, but we promise there's a good reason for it. Story is story regardless of genre or format, and the Story Genius method CAN be applied to memoir. However, we've found that the workshop format does not work well for developing a memoir. Writers of memoir often move through the method at a different pace than fiction writers, and it can make the workshop feel both restrictive and alternatively slow and too fast. We would encourage you to read the "Story Genius" book and enroll in our Bring Your Book to Life course through Creative Live. Upon purchase, you will have access to over 6 hours of video instruction and 13 instructional handouts. After completing the course, you can submit your assignments for feedback from one of our book coaches.

+ Can I take the workshop if I'm working on a screenplay?

No, unfortunately we don't have coaching expertise in screenwriting – yet. We're hoping to add this to our wheelhouse soon. The Story Genius method CAN, however, be applied to screenplays; just like memoir, many of the same principles apply. We encourage you to use Lisa's book as a guide until we can accept screenwriters into the workshop.

+ If I've read the book and/or completed the prompts for the book, will I get anything from this workshop?

You'll get so much more than if you just read the book. When you’re in the workshop, you get one-on-one feedback from a coach devoted to helping you tell your story. You also get accountability: We're waiting each week for your submission, and that is a powerful motivator. Reading the book is great, but doing the workshop will take you and your writing to the next level. By the way, we strongly suggest that you read Lisa Cron’s Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel prior to the start of the workshop. It will give you a deep foundation in Lisa’s method and philosophy, Jennie’s story, and the Story Genius vocabulary. It will help you take even more out of the workshop than you would without it. Purchase the book by clicking here.

+ My novel is {INSERT FICTION GENRE} – is this workshop for me?

Absolutely. The workshop works best for fiction writers, and it is not restrictive of particular sub-genres of fiction. We come to every story hard-wired to ask the same questions and the same things of the narrative. The workshop is for any fiction writer. Unfortunately, we do not currently accept memoir or screenplays.

+ Is it possible to work on more than one project at a time?

Look at how ambitious you are! Unfortunately, the answer is no. After running this workshop several times and having a couple of students try to take more than one project through, we realized it doesn't work. It was a disaster for them and very frustrating! This is an intensive workshop and a big commitment. You really need to dig in and commit to your story and your learning, coach, and feedback, which we estimate takes between 5-10 hours per week.

+ What kind of feedback will I get from my book coach?

Great question! Your book coaches will look over the pages you submit each week and offer both developmental (big-picture) feedback and detailed suggestions right on the page. Your coach will be giving feedback based on the Story Genius method and helping you "get" the method.

Click here to see a submission from a writer and the coach's feedback.

+ Can I ask my coach additional questions about my feedback?

We've structured this workshop to be both affordable and streamlined so that each writer gets 1:1 attention from their coach. Because of this, excessive back and forth with your coach is not permitted. This is more in line with private 1:1 coaching. You may ask for clarification from your coach, but the reserve the right to respond during your next submission.