The Time Is Now.


Have you dreamed of writing a novel for years? Have you already started a novel, but don't quite have the confidence that you will finish it?

We have helped fiction and memoir writers of all experience levels and have completed our own novels and non-fiction books, so we know what that is like. We have been able to help writers secure top literary agents, get their books written and published, and make it onto the New York Times and other bestseller lists.

This work has enabled us to live out our dream of living on beautiful Orcas Island, known as the gem of the San Juan Islands, in the Pacific Northwest. Now, we want to give back to our community. We are conducting writing workshops in our home and other locations for small groups of writers who are passionate about wanting to write and want the kind of help and support we can offer. 

We will...

We will meet with our group of writers once a week for 2 hours a session at Main Street Works (formerly 376) in Eastsound. We will share our unique story structure guides, writing tips, critical feedback and resources to help you create a story so powerful and so well-structured that it will make the writing process easier and increase your chances of securing an agent or publisher. We will also foster every writer inspiring their fellow writers. 

Get Updates

Email us to receive information on upcoming workshops. Have a promo code from the Orcas Island Lit Festival, you can use the promo code any time in any future class. If you'd like to use it on our online course, email us for more information.

January/February 2018
Writing Workshop

Workshop on Story Structure - Begins mid-January, 2018
This 6-week workshop will take place on Wednesdays in Eastsound from 11a to 1p and focus on story structure and writing style. It is limited to 8 writers. We will guide you in each weekly session, share writing, give feedback, and provide resources. Cost: $275* for the entire workshop—includes access to a free online video course ($65 value) by Ayn & Sam.

This class is for beginner and intermediate students who are new to structuring and plotting a novel or historical fiction or need a refresher course.  Instructors will assume workshop attendees will come in with a premise and a developed character. Instructors will provide attendees with Free Access To A Character Development Video Course ($65 value) to help them with this. This class may not be suitable if you already have a MFA in writing or are an author who has already published a book with positive critical reviews.

*The Scholarship position has been filled for this workshop, however if you would like to apply for future scholarship or sliding scale, please click on the "Love Some Help" button at the bottom of this web page to fill out an application.

To join our Orcas Island workshop, please fill out and send the form below. We will contact you within 48 hours of receiving it. 


Fall Writing Workshop 2017
(sold out)


Workshop on Character Development - Begins October 18, 2017
This 4-week workshop (Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 1, Nov. 8) will take place on Wednesdays from 11a to 12:45 and focus on character development. It is limited to 10 writers. We will guide you in each weekly session, share writing, give feedback, and provide resources. Cost: $250* for the entire workshop—includes access to a free video course ($65 value) by Ayn & Sam. *Scholarship/sliding scale available. (click on the "Love Some Help" button at the bottom of this web page to fill out an application).

The tips shared in this workshop are the same tips used by Ayn & Sam when writing their own critically-acclaimed books or coaching other best-selling writers, whom they've helped get on the New York Times Bestseller list.



  • How to create characters compelling enough to give you the momentum you need to write a commercially successful and publishable novel, screenplay, or graphic novel.
  • Gain an understanding of how conflict creates dynamic and memorable fiction characters.
  • Learn how to create characters and actions that resonate with your book's themes.
  • Learn how focusing on "want vs. need" can help build an emotional transformational arc for your characters.
  • How to write engaging dialogue.
  • And much more.


Novel Lab was just what I needed to move my writing project forward. I started the group with an unwieldy amount of raw material and by the end, I had a much better grasp on the story I wanted to tell and the tools to structure it. In their workshops and private sessions, Sam and Ayn listen deeply to each participant. . .while offering wise insights to help create engaging stories.
— Theresa H.
Novel Lab has helped me find my inner voice... With guidance from Ayn & Sam and encouragement from the other writers in our workshop, I am now writing my very first novel and enjoying the process.
— Brandon L.
Novel Lab has been instrumental in helping me understand how structure, character, and themes intersect to create a powerful story. Sam and Ayn are inspiring, motivating mentors... They have reawakened in me the deep, sleeping passion to start writing again and find my true spirit. I am forever grateful to them...
— Charles S.
Ayn and Sam created simple stepping stones as a way to approach the intimidating web of storytelling. They are delightful and invested mentors and their guidance provided a safe space for my creative ideas to flourish.
— Chelsea H.

Private Coaching Sessions

If a workshop or group setting is not quite right for you, we are available for private consultations. We, however, do not take more than 1-2 private clients per month. If you are interested in one-on-one help, please email us.


Ayn & Sam helped me find the heart of my story and guided me through the writing and publishing process with expertise, passion and a lot of patience. Without them, my book would not have made it onto the New York Times Bestseller list.
— Lenny Dykstra, Memoir of Life On The Edge (Harper Collins)
With Ayn’s guidance and editing help on my book proposal I was able to hone the concept for my book and sign with a top book agent. She’s an amazing editor and makes the process fun.
— Shannon Bindler, Stylist/Blogger

I'd Love Some Help

We want to make sure nobody gets left out because of affordability. If you are passionate about writing a novel but your circumstances warrant a reduced fee, please click on the "Love Some Help" button below to fill out an application. We receive a lot of applications, and may not get back to everyone quickly, but everyone will be notified within ten days of our start date.