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. Why?
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.
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 Algonkian 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 seasoned NYC professionals who have not only sold and developed major commercial projects, but who are also fiction writers themselves with publication records; and as a bonus, the faculty are literary agents actively looking for new projects for both film and book purposes (see faculty page). Keep in mind, it is always 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, as well as 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.
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.