Circle of Misse

A Writer Prepares

Participants listen as Annie Kirby delivers a seminar on narative structure
Participants listen as Annie Kirby delivers a seminar on narrative structure 

You have an idea for a novel, short story, nonfiction or some other longer piece. You may have some notes, maybe even a chapter. This week focuses on turning that idea into a plan, getting the basic elements of writing craft down and putting those to work on your material. Everything is focused on developing your manuscript. We will write scenes, explore character, plot, dialogue and structure culminating in a chapter or two, an outline and a plan for moving forward with your book-length work.

This strand is idea for those wishing to write a novel, memoir, narrative nonfiction, or stories, who want to learn the skills to get started and stuck into the process, leaving with a plan to see it through to completion.

You do not need to have written much of your project. All you need is an idea of what you want to write about. Give some thought to the characters and what you think happens. What are the main conflicts? We will develop these ideas into a plan and pieces of writing that will form the building blocks of your book or story. Also bring any notes or outlines you may have made. If you have written some scenes or even a couple of chapters, that’s fine. Bring them along as well.

As past participants will tell you, something special happens here and it truly becomes a creative cocoon where you can relax and explore your writing. This has a great deal to do with our limited course size of never more than six and the fact that we tailor the course to each participant, offering an individual holistic approach that meets you where you are and pushes you to the next level. Once you book we ask you about your writing experience and what you hope to get out of your time with us. Then we do everything we can to help you make that happen. Wayne Milstead and all our visiting writers-in-residence have extensive experience coaching writers of all skill levels and working with a variety of groups and individuals to cultivate creativity and storytelling.


What Will I leave with?   The confidence to continue writing, to make critical decisions and principles of writing craft to your own work, as well as the knowledge and skill to begin applying strategy and structure to your work. You’ll begin developing the skills to see your ideas in terms of ‘story’ and start to organically cultivate the sensibilities to transform what’s in your head into something that lives on the page. You’ll learn to read like a writer. You will also take home a project plan for your book created during the sessions which will provide a blueprint and strategy for helping see you through the writing process once you return home, along with some solid chunks of writing you can use to kick-start your book.

Advance submission of writing?   We will send you a questionnaire asking about your project, where you are with it, your writing goals and experience, and what you’d like to get out of your time at Misse. The course leaders will use this information to tailor the course content to your particular needs. There’s no need to send any work in advance, or to even have much of the project written. If you have written some of it, that’s brilliant, bring it along. There will be lots of opportunities for direct feedback during the course.

Course Length, Costs and Booking:   This course runs Wednesday-Sunday (4 nights). Your stay can be extended to a full week with a retreat top-up. See Dates and Costs for all details and booking information.

Writing in Pictures

  • Emma-Claire Sweeney leads a session in the Misse library

  • An autumnal sky

  • Working solo in the Misse garden

  • Enjoying potato and tomato flatbreads al fresco

  • A Misse bedroom

  • Pumpkin girasole (sunflower shaped pasta) with sage and beurre noisette

  • Sunshine streams into the Misse lounge