Written a few chapters, or more? This manuscript-based mentored experience will help you cultivate the skills to identify problems and solve them, effectively apply elements of writing craft to strengthen your story, and implement strategies to push yourself toward a solid draft.
Writers at all experience levels who have made a committed start (at least a few chapters) to a book-length writing project (novel, short story collection, memoir, narrative nonfiction.
What do I need to have written beforehand?
Anywhere from a few chapters to a full rough draft. It’s fine if it is very rough. That’s not important. What is important is that at least a small chunk of it exists on paper and not just in your head. A story can’t begin to live until it’s on paper. This course is project-focused, so it is important to have at least enough of a start on the project that there is something to work with, text that hints to the tone, character and direction you may want to take the work as a whole.
Do I need to be interested in or want to write in a particular genre or format?
No. All of our writers-in-residence/course leaders have extensive teaching, mentoring and editing experience working with writers in all forms (fiction/nonfiction) and genres. We cultivate skills that are applicable to all types of creative writing.
How does it work?
We create an environment of total immersion in the world of your work-in-progress. You will work half of each day with experienced writers and mentors in dynamic sessions focused on a specific area of writing craft and problem-solving techniques that you can apply directly to your writing project, enabling you to experiment, explore and strengthen your work while also developing new skills that can be applied to the project as a whole.
We combine teaching, discussions, the examination of excerpts from published work illustrating a craft element applicable to your own work, and writing exercises tailored specifically to your project to create an exciting environment that will get you motivated and stuck into your work. We will hold some of the sessions at area chateaus, farmer’s markets and areas of natural beauty, so we can truly allow our conscious minds and “inner critics” to get out the way as we have fun exploring and trying new approaches to our writing goals.
You will also join your course leaders for a daily one-to-one mentoring session to discuss your project, receive manuscript feedback and develop strategies to move you forward.
The other half of the day is yours to spend writing, applying the things you learned in the small group sessions directly to your work-in-progress, and accomplishing the goals you set during your daily one-to-ones with the course leader. A writer-in-residence is available during writing time to provide help if you get stuck or just want to bounce some ideas, or get clarification.
At the end of each day you will have the opportunity to submit the day’s work for feedback during the one-to-one the next day, if you like.
There is also time set-aside in the late afternoon for free-time, walks, reading, simply chilling out with a drink, or for continuing to write.
What Will I leave with?
More confidence and trust in your abilities as a writer that will help propel you on to the finish. A better understanding of techniques you can use to interject a sense of play and imagination into your work-in-progress and your writing practice in general. Methods for quietening the ‘inner critic’ and dealing with writer’s block and the other worries that often keep us from writing. You’ll leave with a better sense of your writing style and who you are as a writer. You will start to find, develop, and cultivate your own individual voice. You’ll learn to read, think and observe like a writer.
You’ll also develop a better understanding of the ‘world’ of your story. You’ll begin to learn to see your work objectively and cultivate the skills and judgment to effectively apply specific elements of writing craft to your work-in-progress. You will learn skills that will allow you to problem-solve your own way through your work, making the necessary critical judgments to take your work to the next level.
You will leave with substantial redrafts of problematic sections and new text where you’ve clarified, deepened, strengthened and solved problems that were weakening your work-in-progress or preventing you from moving forward. The new sections, along with the goal-setting and strategies you take away from the course can be applied to the project as a whole, providing a roadmap for a solid draft you can implement once you return home.
Course Length: Starts late afternoon Saturday, finishes early Saturday morning (7 nights)
Schedule: Morning teaching sessions and one-to-one feedback sessions each day. Sessions include excursions to markets, chateaus and other adventures. Writing/free time in late afternoon/early evening each day.
Free pick-up (Saturday) and drop-off (Saturday) at:
- Nantes Atlantique International Airport (You can arrive via plane or train). Full details here.
- Pick-up 17:15
- Drop-off 13:15
- You can also take the train to Thouars, our nearest town, and we’ll collect you
- You can also drive. We’ll send directions and GPS coordinates.
Meals & Drinks: Breakfast, lunch & dinner each day, including wine & cocktails. Coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks and snacks available all the time.
Accommodation: Misse guest rooms have been designed to be the perfect writer’s space year-round: you’ll have comfort, quiet, privacy and a wonderful view over your surroundings. All of our guest rooms have en suite bathrooms. For more details see our rooms page.
Cost: £895 (includes EVERYTHING except travel to France). To secure a place a deposit of £300 is due at the time of booking; the balance is due 45 days before the course starts.