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Matt Bell

Refuse to Be Done: Planning for Success in Writing and Rewriting the Novel or Memoir

Matt Bell, photo by Jessica Bell
Matt Bell, photo by Jessica Bell
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This workshop is for writers who have completed at least one full draft of a novel or memoir and are seeking to polish their work in terms of plot arc, character development, dialogue, and themes. Drawing from the strategies found in his craft book, Refuse to Be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts, the instructor will share a practical and straightforward approach to the hard work of writing and re-writing.

This class will combine lecture, discussion, and in-class sharing of work to provide the scaffolding necessary to complete a revision that takes your draft to the next level. We will focus on action-oriented ways to approach revising dialogue, making characters more vivid, punching up your prose, and more. During the workshop, you will be generating materials (such as loglines, synopses, and outlines) that will be useful in the revision process, but are also critical when crafting pitches to agents and editors.

Come curious and bring your questions! By the time the workshop ends, you’ll have a better understanding of how to address your manuscript’s needs, a practical plan for next steps, and (at least!) a revised or rewritten first chapter. No submissions or advanced readings are required.



  • This is an all-levels workshop.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted, you have the option of attending the Keynote on Thursday, January 11, at a reduced price of $150 (we will send you a link upon confirmation). If you wish, you may of also purchase a ticket to attend the Seminar in full, as it runs after the workshops (January 11 – 14).
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award. (Do not submit a regular application if you are requesting financial aid.)
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.



Matt Bell is the author, most recently, of the novel Appleseed, a New York Times Notable Book, and the craft book Refuse to Be Done, a guide to novel writing, rewriting, and revision. He is also the author of the novels Scrapper and In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods, as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Wall, a nonfiction book about the classic video game Baldur’s Gate II, and several other titles.

His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, Orion, and many other publications. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.