Masterclass Retreat with Emma Claire Sweeney: Behind the Scenes of A Book

9-16 May 2020

If you’re working or planning to work on a book-length project, you can’t miss this week! We’re so lucky to have Emma Claire Sweeney here to give us a behind the scenes tour of what it takes to get a book from inside your head onto the page and then out into the world. Author of both a novel and a nonfiction book, Emma will guide us through a series of three Masterclass seminars. She will break down the process for us, sharing her progress from early draft, to improving it artistically, to making it work for the market, to copy-editing and finally proofreading. Along the way she will answer your questions and share her redrafting reports, agent and editor feedback and assist you in crafting your own novel roadmap. This document and process is invaluable in creating a mental picture for the book enabling you to hold the whole novel in your head through the entire process, allowing you to clearly speak to your vision and the text, and make sound decisions. This week combines expert guidance with plenty of writing time so you can get the best of both worlds. We highly recommend reading her novel Owl Song at Dawn or her nonfiction book A Secret Sisterhood in preparation for the Masterclass as it

An literary agent or book editor will join via video conference for one of the sessions.

You will have plenty of time to make significant progress on your book so come with your plan and Emma will help you refine it the first day. The three sessions on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday will culminate with a special one-to-one feedback session where Emma will comment on your section of your work, synopsis and Novel Map that you will have developed during the seminars.

This is an invaluable set of masterclasses wherever you are in the writing process. It demystifies the process by showing you exactly what happens as you develop your novel, helps you apply practical approaches and think about your work in a way that will enable you to work smarter and surmount hurdles and challenges that occur along the way. It will give you more confidence as you press forward to a final draft and approach agents.

About Your Masterclass Leader

Masterclass Retreat with Emma Claire Sweeney: Behind the Scenes of A Book
Emma Claire Sweeney
photo by Rosalind Hobley

Emma Claire Sweeney, co-founder of City University’s Novel Studio, has won Society of Authors, Arts Council and Royal Literary Fund awards, and has written for the likes of The Paris Review, TIME, and The Washington Post.

Emma was named as both an Amazon Rising Star and a Hive Rising Writer for her debut novel, Owl Song at Dawn (Legend, 2016). Inspired by Emma’s sister who has cerebral palsy and autism, it went on to win Nudge Literary Book of the Year. Stemming from Something Rhymed, the website on female literary friendship that Emma runs with her own friend (and fellow Missé writer) Emily Midorikawa, Emma and Emily co-wrote their debut non-fiction book, A Secret Sisterhood: The literary friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). In her foreword, Margaret Atwood described the work as a great ‘service to literary history’ and The Financial Times called it ‘an exceptional act of literary espionage’.


Masterclass Date: 9-16 May 2020

Course Length: Starts late Saturday afternoon, finishes Saturday morning (7 nights)

Schedule: Emma will run three seminars (one on Sunday, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday) and meet individually with each participant individually during the week to offer feedback on your first chapter, synopsis and Novel Mapping document (which Emma will help you develop during the seminars). Outside of these times, you have independent time to write and implement the tools of the masterclass into your own book.

Travel Details: Free pick-up (Saturday) by 11 a.m. and drop-off (Saturday) by 8:30 a.m. at Nantes Atlantique International Airport (You can arrive via plane or train) or pick-up at Saumur Rail station (Saturday) by 18:15. Full details here.

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. The total price (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.

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