The problem isn’t that you can’t write or that you don’t care, it’s that slogging by yourself month-in-month-out is hard. There’s a reason why a deadline is the writer’s best friend: you need something to force you to keep going when you’re 40,000 words through and everything you’ve worked for so far looks worthless (hello, wall).
Rather than moaning about how hard it is though, Amie and I started thinking about what we’d like to help us write our novels, what kind of support we needed, what kind of accountability would make it all actually happen, our ideal programme. We thought it would be amazing to be able to write our novels with a group of other people, to have structures in place to get help on the difficult bits and so that we know where we’re going all the time. We wanted workshopping and feedback and amazing people and hard accountability. With consequences.
What is it?
A structured six month programme that guides you month by month through what you need to do to get your novel written in six months.
March: Novel plotting bootcamp
May: Turning points, sub-plots and fleshing out your characters and story
June: The climax
August: First edits bootcamp
Personal monthly accountability
We all know that a deadline is the strongest motivational force in a writer’s world, so you will set your own word goals and submit them to us once a month. NB: we are now entering a no excuses zone! Submitting draft words is a condition of taking part. We won’t be doing feedback during the writing process (there are workshops for that), but we will chase you if you don’t submit and we won’t let people who don’t do the work continue.
A review of your one-page plot outline
This will come at the end of the plotting bootcamp to help make sure you’re on the right track before you go too far off-piste!
Comprehensive professional edit of your first chapter/s
You will submit an edited version of your first 5,000 words by the end of August for review by Amie (who is a professional editor in real life).
Two four-week bootcamps
The novel plotting bootcamp will get you past the hump of planning and make sure your story works before you start writing. Of course, if your writing takes you on another path that’s fine, but it’s good to have a map to come back to if you need it.
The editing bootcamp will take you through the first steps of editing. There’s more to this than we can cover in four weeks, but you’ll look over the top line of your story and identify what’s missing or needs doing. We’ll also go over publishing options and tips and tricks for editing.
You’ll also get:
- Monthly peer reviews of key sections of your work, including your 100 word synopsis, plot outline, first 1,000 words and climax
- A monthly web seminar or live office hours to answer your questions about different parts of the novel/writing process
- Monthly online writing retreats or Get It Done Days on specific areas of your novel to help you focus and, well, get it done
- A catch-up writing week at the end of July to make sure you’re ready for the final bootcamp
- Access to a private forum where your teammates will cheer you on and become your trusted sounding-boards
- Group of dedicated writers
- Personal support from Amie and me
You’ll need to have some sort of of idea in place before we start. We don’t expect you to know everything (that’s what the planning bootcamp is for) but we’ll ask you to submit a 100 word synopsis in your application just to show that you have a story in mind. This can, of course, change as we go!
If you want to write something like a historical novel that needs a lot of research, you’ll need to have done pretty much all of your research before we begin and be prepared to go back and fill in gaps later. To complete a rough draft in the time, you’ll need to be writing every day and not needing to spend all your time researching.
Commitment! We’re here to keep you on track, so one of the requirements is that you submit draft words each month (you will decide how many).
So. No big sales pitch. Amie and/or I know each of you. We have complete faith in you. You know if you want to join in or not, and while we think it’s going to be amazing and would love to have you along for the ride, we want you to make the right decision for you. The cost of the final programme will be around £995, and our spaces for this run are limited so that we can balance supporting you and learning.
There are only 10 spaces and we start on Monday 3rd March (finish date, when your edited first 5,000 words are due for review, is 31st August), and we’d like applications by Thursday 13th Feb, so that we can consider you before *whispers* outsiders. This means that you have a fortnight to decide. Although we know you, we’re still doing the application process to make sure that people are serious and because we need to test it out!
If you have any questions, just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org!