Temporarily Stairs: Developing and Refining Long-Form Fiction
5 October at 20:00 – 22:00 EDT
Ten Thursdays, Oct 5-Dec 7, 8-10pm
Open via application to those with a novel-in-progress
Limited to 10 participants
As Mitch Hedberg pointed out, escalators are never broken—if they stop running, they still work just fine as stairs. In the same way, a story of any length is never broken, even if it sometimes feels that way. If you’ve been working on a novel or novella and are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just plain lost, this workshop is here to help you look at your manuscript anew and get things moving again.
This workshop is intended for writers who are looking for resources and encouragement while working on a novel or novella already in progress. Ideally, you’ll have a significant portion (a minimum of about 30–50 pages) of your novel or novella already completed, as well as a solid grasp of the story you’re working on.
Writing long-form fiction on your own or with few readers can be exhilarating, but can also leave you with incomplete drafts, discarded chapters, and the feeling that things have stalled. If you have pages of text, a cast of fantabulous characters, an amazing idea, and a story no one else can tell, but you sometimes want to call it a day and throw the whole thing out the window—don’t! I’ve been there, and I’m here to help.
Gaining insight from unbiased readers—myself and the other members of the group—in a supportive, creative atmosphere will help you identify issues, clarify your intent, and find real ways to improve your manuscript. To this end, our focus will be on crafting outlines and workshopping sections of each participant’s novel or novella. You will be invited to submit pages from your work in progress to receive feedback and notes from your fellow writers (including me!). You’ll also be encouraged to include one or two questions about your work with each submission, and you will have the opportunity to engage in informal question-and-answer sessions in each workshop.
Workshopping will be combined with lectures, discussions, and writing exercises to help you gain new insight to constructing and completing your novel or novella. We’ll explore ways to reinforce the structure of your existing manuscript, gain deeper understanding of characters, fix plot holes, tie up storylines, and approach publishers and editors. We’ll also work on sharpening another skill invaluable to any writer: the ability to pinpoint what might not be working and cut or rework if need be. Because writing a novel or novella takes as long as it takes, this workshop is designed to help you stay motivated and focused through the difficult parts of writing a long piece, and aims to give you the tools to get things moving and finish your manuscript in your own time.
To apply for a spot in this workshop, please submit the following to Riley at QWF (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Wednesday, September 13 :
- A short summary of your novel or novella (about one or two lines).
- A maximum of 10 pages from your novel or novella, double-spaced (if these are not the opening pages, please include a brief note to let me know where we are in the story).
- One or two questions about your novel, the process of completing a long work, and/or what to do with it when you feel it’s finished.
Sextant (Conundrum Press), Maya Merrick’s first novel, was released to critical acclaim in 2005, followed by The Hole Show (Conundrum Press) in 2007. She works with the Quebec Writers’ Federation as a mentor and workshop/master class facilitator, was an instructor at Concordia University’s Centre for Continuing Education, and served as the editorial and administrative assistant at Conundrum Press. She is an active writing coach, mentor, editor, copyeditor, and manuscript consultant. Maya is currently completing The Ride, a collection of microfiction.