Janet Zupan earned her M.F.A. from the University of Montana in 1996. Her work appears in the collection, MONTANA WOMEN WRITERS: A GEOGRAPHY OF THE HEART (Far Country) ... [more]
As a kid, A.L. Torres fell in love with fantastic stories of worlds beyond our own such as "Animal Farm," "On the Beach" and "Metamorphosis." More recently, he's added "The Giver," "The Road" and "Hunger Games" as some of his favorites, ... [more]
Robert Steedman is a proud native New Yorker, receiving his B.A. in Art History from State University of New York at Geneseo and an M.S. Ed. in Art Education from Nazareth College. His first YA manuscript, FALLING, took First Place ... [more]
Brittany Hughes graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing, and subsequently earned a Masters in Teaching. She recently spent two years living in the Midwest, a landscape that inspired the setting of her novel, "Breaking Clay." ... [more]
Will I Write the Breakout Novel Here? Can I Work At My Own Pace?
This novel writing program is a creation of the Algonkian Writer Conferences and Author Salon. It was brainstormed and tested by NYC publishing professionals for genre (YA, SF/F, mystery/thriller, WF, etc.) writers as well as upmarket literary writers who desire to become either career commercial authors or literary press authors. If you wish to begin or restart your novel, rewrite it with guidance, or just reality-check the progress or status with our faculty professionals, you've come to the right place.
The goal is to get you as close to the brass ring as possible, to make your novel as commercially competitive as it needs to be on all levels while avoiding critical missteps and bad advice. And it does not matter what stage the novel is currently in, or where you are in your writing life. The program steps and methodology, as well as the faculty, enable you to learn and grow as a writer together with your novel, and at your own pace. Once you accomplish the program, your work is reviewed by our professionals and together you set publication goals, discuss agent representation options, and engage in manuscript and project edits as needed and appropriate (see more below).
Step 1 - Premise, Plot, Character, Scene Sets, All Things Structural (author methodically writes/rewrites novel top to bottom) - syllabus) Step 2 - Prose Narrative and Style Enhancement (author methodically improves style, voice, and prose narrative - syllabus) Step 3 - Project Profile on Algonkian Author Salon and Full Member Benefits Step 4 - 25 Point Coverage Audit, First 100 Pages, Sell Sheet Outline of Entire Novel Step 5 - Market-position Analysis, Reviews With Faculty Mentor, Query Process--Editor/Agent Hunt
Keep in mind, at the conclusion of Step 5 of the program, and depending of course on necessary manuscript edits, we either help you find a professional agent, or consider your work for representation by one of our own literary agencies.
Step 6 ($2599.00 Option) - All steps above plus full MS read and editorial evaluation from Betsy Maury, Caitlin Alexander or Michelle Richter
What Will You Receive Besides a Far Better Novel Manuscript?
You approach the planning and writing of your novel in such a manner as to not only enable you to make it realistically competitive for a commercial market, but also prevent years of time wasting rewrites.
Working in partnership with consultants and the editor-agent faculty of
Algonkian's New York Pitch Conference, we have designed this program for aspiring authors in every stage of novel writing, from beginners to veterans, for the purpose of providing them with comprehensive, rigorous training in the art and science of writing commercial fiction.
At the conclusion of this novel writing program you will have:
1) A thorough, editor-approved outline of all your novel's plot beats and points.
2) 100 pages or more of your novel, or narrative non-f, in competitively polished shape.
3) An editor-supervised application of our advanced craft technique (see syllabus), resulting in a personalized and competitive narrative style.
4) Two to three (or more as needed) private phone consultations from program faculty regarding your story premise, prose narrative, and all major novel elements for purposes of determining your competitive status vs. other writers in your genre, and for making further edits and improvements as necessary prior to the representation or query stage. NOTE: all review is by professionals exclusively.
5) A realistic publication plan going forward based on your manuscript's current stage of development, as well as your skill set. 6) A review by our agent-faculty for possible representation to major publishers--not a guarantee, but this condition is what we strive for. If you succeed, we succeed by getting you published. And if we believe another agent should handle it, we'll either contact them on your behalf or supervise the creation of great query letter.
WRITER: Janet Zupan NOVEL TITLE: MISSING PARTS GENRE: Middle Grade COMPARABLES: ONE EYED CAT and FRIEND OF THE FAMILY WORD COUNT: 60,000+
Janet Zupan earned her M.F.A. from the University of Montana in 1996. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Apple Valley Review and Talking River Review and her work was included in the collection, MONTANA WOMEN WRITERS: A GEOGRAPHY OF THE HEART (Far Country Press, 2006). Her essay, Vertigo, is part of the collection, I THOUGHT MY FATHER WAS GOD, edited by Paul Auster (Henry Holt and Company, 2001). She presently divides her time between a novel-in-progress, entitled MISSING PARTS, and her job as an instructor at the University of Montana. Janet resides in Missoula with her husband and novelist, Kim Zupan.
I have a passion
for and belief in the importance of excellent middle grade literature,
having read many books as a child and, more recently, as a parent and
working writer. Ages nine through thirteen are most vivid in my memory
and I find an energy and excitement when I return to that life period
through the written word.
Nearly everyone has the potential to write a breakout novel and go on to become a successful commercial author, but precious few finally accomplish the task. Writer conferences, author workshops, books, MFA programs, and so forth, all play a part in a writer's evolution, and can be very helpful, but none provide the overall pragmatic means and method to finish the job (and quite often, not even to start it). If this were not the case, an imaginative and ambitious writer would only have to attend an MFA program at Iowa, for example, and become a published author in due course. But this rarely if ever happens, despite expenditures in the range of $30,000 to $80,000 (Iowa Grad Program for two full years). And aside from this lack of comprehensive and realistic training, many other factors come into play that hamper the aspiring commercial author, everything from prickly skin to incompetent writer groups to misunderstandings of market dynamics.
Consider. Would you try to build a livable and quite stylish home on your own without an architect and a professional home builder simply because you had the ability to hammer a few boards together with nails? Of course not. You would acquire the expertise and skills before you began. And yet, new writers approach the creation of a thing equally or more complex, such as the writing of a competitive commercial novel, in the belief they can do so because they have a story idea, can type words on a page, and have read a few magazines about writing. They consult with other new writers as ignorant as themselves and proceed to build a house called a novel, but one that will not risk their lives because fortunately for them, it is all on paper.
To address the above issues in all ways, Algonkian Writer Conferences, in conjunction with New York Pitch Conference faculty and affiliate Author Salon, have created this competitive novel writing program with one goal in mind: to provide you with the professional guidance and advanced writer skill set, necessary craft technique, practical application and online learning environment you must have if you truly desire a realistic opportunity to transform your current manuscript or work-in-progress, regardless of genre or stage, into a successful commercial project, i.e., a novel that major New York publishers will wish to publish and actually promote, and one that will launch your career.
The program consists of a two-course 16 module series of advanced technique and craft application, character sketching, plot outlining, and work-in-progress manuscript edits combined with separate skill-building exercises, as well as relevant reading assignments, all related to the art of writing commercial novel-length fiction and designed to enhance your novel manuscript step by step on every structural and narrative level. The point is to make your novel far more competitive from a standpoint of marketable story premise, plot line(s), dramatic complications, point-of-view dynamics, narrative style technique, theme application, character arcs, and more (see our program syllabus page).
And if you do not yet have a novel manuscript or a partial, the point is to cajole you into creating it and filling in the details as you go. Regardless of your stage, your work will be reviewed by our faculty who are teachers, writers, and business professionals. See our faculty page for more details and credentials.
What Type of Aspiring Authors Succeed in This Program?
Serious, self-starting writers willing to conceive, write and craft their novel in the due course of completing this program, and who are willing to accept critical guidance from professionals in the business. We emphasize "serious" because this program is rigorous and challenging, and not like a college extension cyber-class or a typical online workshop. Our program is more analogous to completing your doctoral dissertation. The more knowledge and skills you acquire, the more you apply, returning as necessary to edit until a review by market professionals takes place. See our Methods and Goals page for more details.
Aspiring authors, regardless of manuscript stage, benefit from this approach and editorial mentorship. It's about starting with the first sentence and proceeding to the denouement. The program methodically addresses all structural, premise, and narrative aspects of your novel, and in a manner beneficial to making it more competitive while also evolving your writer skill set, no matter your level at the start of the program. See our methods and approach for a better idea of how it all works.
If you can't benefit from this program, you must be ready for commercial publication. Please send us a query letter!
NOTE: unlike Author Salon, you do not form peer review groups. Review of work is by faculty only.
Our "model-and-context" and "cross-module method" approach to studying and applying proper technique on all vital levels (see our program page and a sample of our program) while your novel is being effectively developed and edited at the same time.
Our detailed 16 module syllabus that exhaustively covers all the major novel elements as well as the authors studied or referenced (see our syllabus page).
The array of fiction works studied and referenced in the program modules (see our works page).
The books and analytical fiction articles studied in the program (see our works page).
Our layer by layer approach to teaching you how to write multi-angled and unpredictable cinematic narrative, taking show-don't-tell to its ultimate expression.
Our program faculty which consists of a best selling author, a seasoned NYC editor, and several literary agents all very hungry and actively looking for new projects for both film and book purposes (see faculty page). If your novel manuscript is very close to being a publishable work, we will most certainly refer you to one of many literary agents known to us via our contacts on Author Salon, or else take on your project ourselves for representation to major commercial publishers (Random House, Harper Collins, etc.), but we cannot guarantee this by any means. Keep in mind, however, it is in our very best interest to get you an agent or book contract, since this is great publicity for our program.
The fact that advice and critique on all levels derives exclusively from faculty professionals. In our opinion, this approach is crucial. If you wish to learn how to build your own house, and then actually do so, or invest your money wisely and then actually invest it, you know better than to seek advice from inexperienced non-professionals. Why? Because the issues are important and the stakes are high.
Why should they be less high when you are writing a break out novel with the goal of becoming a career author?
How is it possible? The art of good storytelling never changes. The courses and modules approach the art of writing commercial fiction in a manner that applies to upmarket/literary and all commercial genres. See the Six Act Two-Goal Novel page to get an idea of what we're talking about. The courses accomplish three primary goals. They enable you to:
Learn and practice advanced premise-plot and character technique.
Learn and practice advanced narrative and prose style craft.
Learn and apply said technique, narrative craft, and knowledge to your own work-in-progress.
Come to a firm understanding of the role today's market plays in getting your novel published.
See our 16 Module Program page for more details. Genres we work with include upmarket/literary, general fiction, SF adult and YA/MG, fantasy adult and YA/MG (as well as New Adult), urban fantasy, mysteries of all types, detective/true crime, suspense/thrillers, women's fiction both serious and light, romance and paranormal romance.
The novel writing program modules and associated forum classrooms are online, and like other online courses, the module response mode is asynchronous, i.e., the writers post at such time their assignments, readings and rewrites are complete, and not before. There is no bell or timer. Here is the landing page for the various program forums, just so you can get an idea of appearance. Writers who apply and are accepted receive instructions and an online password into the private module forums.
There is no arbitrary start date. You begin the first module and proceed through the next 15 modules once you've entered the program, or at such time you decide to begin. In theory, you might wish to review a few modules first, take some notes and consider before starting the first assignment. Once you have begun, you progress through the program, writing or rewriting your novel a step at a time at your own pace, returning to prior modules as needed and editing further based on new skills developed and knowledge gained.
The amount of time it will take any particular writer to complete the entire novel writing program, receive professionals reviews, return to edit their work, and move on to the agent query process (or else to further project development), will depend entirely on each writer's background knowledge, skill set, and novel manuscript quality upon entering the program. Also, given the fact that most people work and have other lives, we estimate a minimum of 18 weeks to complete the program--though if it takes longer, so be it.
Additionally, our writers can also take whatever breaks or hiatus they need for whatever reason and will suffer no issues as a result.
At the conclusion of the novel writing program, you will receive a formal certificate; however, the following criteria must be met before a certificate is issued:
Final and successful completion of all 16 modules.
Application of work, editorial direction, and critical lessons learned to your novel-in-progress manuscript as evidenced by story development outlines, prose samples plus first 100 pages, and other criteria as deemed appropriate by program faculty.
Completion of the self-coverage novel scorebox (categories found here).
Completion of all extra assignments and readings related to the program.
Completion of faculty review and adoption of further edits as necessary.
Joint approval of your publication plan going forward.