Circle of Misse

A Writer Revises

Manuscript revision at Misse
Manuscript revision at Misse 

This selective one-to-one intensive editing experience guides you through revising the completed draft of your book, resolving problems that weaken the story, amplifying its strengths, and devising a systematic plan for arriving at a polished ‘finished’ manuscript.

Who Attends?  Self-aware writers with a complete manuscript (usually a second or third-draft, occasionally a highly polished first draft) who are comfortable looking objectively and analytically at their manuscripts, and are open to new approaches, strategies and ideas, working at the text level and making tough decisions to strengthen the draft.

What do I need to have written beforehand?  A complete manuscript with a beginning, middle and end that successfully uses all the elements of the writer’s craft (character, voice, plot, tone, etc.) to convey a complex and compelling story. It is usually at the second or third-draft stage, but occasionally an extremely polished first draft is ready for the ‘Revises’ process.

‘Back in 2011, I worked with Elizabeth Silver, an American author and created the beginnings of my memoir. I went back this year for "A Writer Revises" with a completed draft of the memoir. In Misse’s beautiful atmosphere, and with master classes and guidance from Wayne, and author Emma Sweeney, I viewed my piece from different perspectives. As well as editing, I produced fresh, and I think, exciting, emotionally charged writing.’

- Margaret (Perth, W. Australia)

Do I need to write in a particular genre or format?  No. We work with writers of fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, and hybrids of those in all genres. However, if your manuscript is squarely directed at a specific genre or sub-genre with fairly rigid and established rules and expectations such as some specialised crime, sci-fi, fantasy and romance fiction sub-genres, you should find a course or service that specialises in those.

How does it work?  You work one-to-one with two of our writing coaches, Emma Sweeney and Wayne Milstead, (both of whom read your complete manuscript in advance) during carefully structured days that combine feedback sessions, writing sessions, and sometimes short master class sessions in applied writing craft to tackle the key problematic areas. The days are long and writing intensive. We will eat, drink and sleep your manuscript. We focus on making the best of what you’ve already written. There are always a few new scenes to write, but this course is not exploratory, manuscripts that we agree to work with will have already spent the time figuring out fundamental character, plot, story and other elements. This programme will help bring those into clear focus, make sure you’re getting the most through the text of all your previous hard work.

What Will I leave with?  This will vary depending on the current status of your manuscript and the particulars of the revision strategy, but generally a thorough analysis of your current manuscript, which we’ll use during your time at Misse to guide you through revisions, feedback on the revisions made at Misse, a detailed strategy and roadmap for implementing all those revisions, and feedback on the post-course implementation of those elements into the whole manuscript. Through the immersive nature of this process you will develop the skills to see your work objectively, to focus and revise with an editor’s eye as well as a writer’s, and motivate yourself through the harrowing and exhilarating phase of intense revision.

Practicalities

Course Length: 9 nights/8 days (Usually starts on Friday and ends on a Sunday, but can vary based on participant needs and Misse staff availability)

Schedule: Varies with the needs of the individual and their manuscripts, but generally a combination of multiple mentoring sessions with long stretches of writing time to revise and implement. This is an intensive course, though, in the Misse tradition, we still find time to relax and have some fun.

Course size: One.

Advance submission of writing? Because of the highly specialized, personal and unique nature of this experience, we can only work with manuscripts and writers that we feel we can truly help. So this is a selective course. You must complete an application form and submit the entire manuscript. Realistically, we can only work with manuscripts under 100,000 words. We will take a look and get back to you as quickly as possible as to whether we feel we can add value or not. Then we can discuss the possible dates to hold this one person course.

PLEASE NOTE: Non-acceptance of an application for the course in no way indicates the quality of the manuscript. It simply means that we don’t think we’re the best coaches/editors to help with it. When we can, we’ll recommend other courses/services you may want to consider.

Travel Details: Free pick-up and drop-off at Tours Airport and Tours Centre or St. Pierre des Corps (Tours) Rail Station. Or you can make your own way via train to Thouars (our local rail station) or drive to Misse (we will provide directions).

Accommodation:  The Circle of Misse comprises several beautiful properties, including, the Misse Farmhouse and River House in the Thouet River Valley, and the Old Post Office House in nearby Moncontour. All the properties have beautiful rooms with double beds, wardrobes and writing desks. Most share a bathroom. Due to the nature of how we schedule courses, we regret that we cannot take requests for particular properties or rooms. For the 2015 season, due to renovation work at the Misse Farmhouse, all courses and most accommodation will be held at The Old Post Office.

Meals & Drinks:  Breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, including wine & cocktails. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks and snacks available all the time.

Cost: £1895  (includes EVERYTHING except travel to France). Deposit and other information provided on application.

Available Dates: Dates are determined upon acceptance, based on availability of participant and Misse staff.

Booking: If this sounds right for you please get in touch. Please do not send manuscripts or any writing samples until we request them.

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