“The process of writing fiction begins with everything that is known and then, if it is successful, takes a leap forward into the unknown. You’re there in the unknown to serve the mysteries of your own creation, and your own end.” – Christopher Tilghman
The fiction workshops provide opportunity for the various aspects of craft (narrative technique, use of language, characterization, realization of theme/idea) to be reviewed and strengthened. Workshops meet two hours each day over five days. You will work exclusively with one faculty writer of your choice. He or she will lead a thorough discussion of your manuscript in workshop, and will also meet with you in a brief tutorial to discuss your work.
We are fortunate to have a gifted faculty again this year and hope that we will be able to schedule you with one of the workshop leaders you requested. If you are not matched with the faculty member who was your first choice, please remember that the informal nature of the conference lends itself to opportunities to meet and visit with the other faculty.
The schedule also includes talks by faculty writers, panels featuring visiting editors and agents, and readings by the faculty at Napa Valley wineries.
Manuscripts for the workshop are due May 31st. You may workshop the manuscript you sent with your application (with or without any revisions) or a different one. However, in order that all formatting issues are addressed, we ask that you submit a new document by email for your workshop ~ even if it’s the same manuscript you submitted with your application.
Please follow the guidelines below:
- All manuscripts should be in a 12-point, legible font, double-spaced, with standard one-inch margins all around.
- Page numbers, please!
- Your name must be on the first page, at least; it can be on all other pages if you wish (kind of a good idea, though).
- A manuscript of either a story or novel chapter may not exceed 7,500 words in length.
- Novel excerpts should be clearly identified as such. If the excerpt is the beginning of the novel, it is not necessary to include a synopsis. If the excerpt occurs later in the book, you may want to include a synopsis of approximately one page. The entire excerpt, including synopsis, may not exceed 7,500 words.
- Generally we discourage submissions of more than one story. Please contact Lakin Khan, Fiction Director, if you want to submit two short shorts (each 1,250 words or less).
Please email your manuscript as an attached PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) document. Direct one copy to Lakin Khan and a second copy to email@example.com. Note that these must be received by Friday, May 31st. Workshop manuscripts will be made available to participants during the first week of July. Participants are asked to print copies of the workshop manuscripts before coming to the Conference and to make comments on them for the writer.
All participants benefit — especially the writer — when the stories and novel excerpts under discussion have been carefully and thoughtfully prepared yet still have room for growth. Avoid the two extremes of workshop submission — the over-workshopped, ossified story on the one hand, and the draft that is barely a gleam in someone’s eye on the other.