Have a full-length novel draft and not sure where to take it next? Looking for a small, close-knit group of writers to read and workshop your draft, alongside an instructor who’s been through this process herself?
You’re in luck!
This class will help you creatively revise your manuscripts with an eye toward possibilities. How can we amplify the narrative stakes we’ve already created on the page, or even reimagine the structure of our books to more completely reflect the characters’ worlds? Revision can be a daunting process; this class will help alleviate the overwhelming nature of this important step in the writing process and provide writers with the tools they need to take their books to the next level.
This manuscript workshop is intended for writers who have a complete novel draft (90k words max; if longer, please contact Miah) by the start of our eight-class (twelve-week) session. It is designed to help them take their novels to the next level and beyond. Because of the intimate nature of its five (max) number of participants, each writer in the workshop will receive a level of attention deeper than the average prose workshop.
Nuts & bolts: Over the course of our time together, writers will 1) workshop complete drafts of novels or memoirs; 2) read and respond to fellow attendees’ drafts 3) receive written feedback on their draft from participants; 4) receive an extensive feedback letter from me; and 5) create and share a plan for revision to use beyond the workshop.
Week 1: Participating writers will attend the first workshop having read a novel I will assign in advance of the workshop. During the first session, we will establish as a group what the work’s values are as a form, examine how basic elements of craft (character, plot, structure, etc.) are working together, then define what techniques used in this novel we might each wish to explore or even interrogate as we revise our own.
This novel will function as our “class novel”—i.e., a novel common to our vocabulary as a group of thinking writers with drafts we are molding into their final forms. We can use this novel as a means to discuss observations we make about the novel drafts we share in participants’ individual workshops.
Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10: Every other week, for the next five meetings, a different writer will distribute work, all writers will read, and come prepared to the next workshop to discuss. Workshops will begin with a mini craft talk and writing “blast” / exercise – in service of both the craft topic being presented as well as in response to the one being workshopped.
Weeks 11-12: “Coming Up for Air”: The sixth and seventh meetings will be used to plan revision and look at others’ examples of published novels that might be used as blueprints for working toward the next draft.
By the end of the workshop, you will leave with a detailed letter from me about your novel, letters from fellow workshop participants about your draft, and a plan for revision so that, when the final class concludes, you have a clear idea of where to take your work.
A NOTE ON THE COST: I know this workshop seems expensive. But if you imagine than in most prose workshops, 10-40 of your pages might be read and responded to, and never more than two chapters, you can see that to respond to 90k words is at least quadruple the work for the teacher. If you took six regular workshops in a row, you’d get 12 chapter read, maybe. For this reason, the class is smaller, but the cost is just under taking two regular classes, which is a steal. We do have the paying in installments option to help make it easier,
Theodora Ziolkowski is the author of On the Rocks and Mother Tongues. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Writer’s Chronicle, Short Fiction (England), and Prairie Schooner, among many other publications. A three-time Pushcart Prize and two-time Best New Poets nominee, Theodora’s prose has been listed in Wigleaf’s Top 50 List of Very Short Fictions (2020). She has received support from the Vermont Studio Center, the National Alumni Association (University of Alabama), and Inprint (Houston, Texas).
Theodora is a recipient of the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing and a Next Generation Indie Book Award. Recently, she served as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast and Fiction Editor for Big Fiction. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.