This twelve-month course is for people who have completed our Third Draft Course and wish to finish their novel and get the manuscript to a publishable standard over twelve months.
By that, we mean:
- Your story, characters, setting and writing are clear and come alive on the page from the first sentence to the last.
- Your characters are engaging, well developed and motivated.
- Your reader is drawn into the world of your story and wants to keep turning the pages.
- They feel like they are being taken on a journey.
The course will also create accountability and inspiration to help you finish your novel in the twelve months. It is Roland’s experience that this is the point in the process where many stories start to fully realise their potential.
It goes without saying we only want to publish quality stories and we believe this course will help you achieve that end. And we're pleased to report the process of getting feedback from a professional editor, the group and Roland has produced outstanding results,
“I will be completely honest and come out of the closet and declare that I have been full of doubt that any of our stories would ever hit the shelves with any degree of success. But I was wrong. Everyone’s writing has taken off. The quantum leaps in sentence structure, pacing and vocabulary would be impressive enough. But more, the emotion, the subtlety of plot and the development character are an order of magnitude better. I now see that all are within a whisker of publication.” Gilbert Mane
"Everyone's work is now alive and much harder to put down." Clare Gillies
"The voice of each writer is much clearer and confident; there is a sense of finding and settling down with the voice. There is a shift from being a slave to language to owning it. This is really satisfying to see.” Wallace Lee
"I'd hate to think what my story would’ve looked like if I hadn’t learnt so much from this course. I’m so sorry it is over." Sonya Fearby, after completing our Pathway to Publishing Course
Important Note 1
If you haven't done the novel and script courses with us and are working on a novel, you can work through the pathway to publishing process with a personal editor/mentor.
If you are writing a film script, you can work through the process with a professional script editor who will help you get your script to a point where it is ready for you to submit it to funding bodies and producers.
Important Note 2
Whether you decide to send your work an agent, a traditional publisher or you choose to publish independently, this course will give you a process, tools, techniques, outside input and a support system to enable you to get your novel into very good shape.
The process works along similar lines to the third draft, using different templates and significantly longer word counts.
We also have professional editors working with Roland.
Towards the end of the course, your assigned professional editor will work on 20,000 words of your story and you will have a one-on-one consultation with her. Getting feedback on the extra length ensures you get the flow and pacing of your story working at a high level.
At the end of the course, you will have a clear idea of what you need to do before presenting your work to an editor, who will need to go through your work in detail before publication.
How the Course Works
Over the twelve months, we will meet six times for full day sessions.
You will receive feedback on larger chunks of your story than in the Third Draft Part 1 (3,200 to 5,000 and ultimately feedback from Kelly on 20,000 words before the last class).
The combination of more advanced feedback templates, the morning sessions, the more personalized and challenging feedback forces you to dig deep and find your voice, your character and your style, really takes your writing to another level.
The big jump in the quality of everyone’s writing usually comes half way through the course when everyone’s writing takes a qualitative leap forward. The feedback is more intense and demanding and the cumulative effect on everyone’s writing is profound
By the time everyone submits their 20,000 words, you will be amazed how far your own writing and that of your class mates has evolved as the below comments from graduate’s attests.
"As I was reading everyone's work for this session, I felt that the writing in general has reached a close-to-publishable standard, better than many of the printed books I read.” Wallace Lee
The feedback is also more tailored and personal to your story and pushes you to a far greater degree than in the Third Draft Part 1.
The Fourth Draft also includes High Powered Morning Sessions
You will do a series of exercises designed to add to depth to your story, dig deep into your character and story and bring your writing to life.
Fleshing out Subplots and Character Arcs
You will do a series of character exploration exercises that will help you layer your story, flesh out your characters and your novel added emotional weight and dramatic depth.
You will clarify and identify the inner journeys of your main characters. Stories, like life, are about change. Delineating the changes scene by scene gives a novel a sense of unfolding drama and its characters a feeling of progress over time.
You will explore and develop the subplots in your story. Most subplots are underdeveloped or nonexistent. Subplots can add a lot of drama and meaning to your story.
Developing and heightening the dramatic power of your main opponent
We are not accustomed to thinking of villains as being on an inner journey, but what human being is not? Humanise your villain. Motivate his actions with kindness. Let him/her be heroic, helpful, and principled. Hannah Ardent wrote of the “banality of evil.” For fiction writers, that means creating not passionless cruelty, but evil that wears a compassionate face.
One of the biggest challenges with the re-writing and editing process is that if the story isn't working, the writing won't work.
Without the outlining process - you can't really tell if the issue that is creating a problem for your reader is due to an issue with the writing, a problem with the characters or a structural story issue. This can waste an enormous amount of time.
The outlining process enables you to get the characters, their motivation and the story 90 per cent "right" before writing. Enabling you to move through the process of re-writing and editing your novel more efficient, enjoyable and effective.
Kelly Rigby is an editor and coach who is passionate about helping writers tell their stories and polish their words. Over the past 20 years she has developed a unique combination of writing, marketing and teaching experience, and holds qualifications in creative writing (UTS), business and TESOL.
Kelly has edited and assessed manuscripts from most genres, and mentored writers at all levels of ability, including two who went on to win Varuna Fellowships. She has also written two short films and numerous short stories, and been published in a Louise Hay book - Modern Day Miracles, as well as on the web.
Kelly first came to the Writers Studio in 2004, where she completed the Unlocking Creativity, First and Second Draft courses and discovered she had a natural instinct for story structure. Since then, she has continued to study writing and hone her craft, and is at the final edit stage of her first book in a new urban fantasy series. Kelly works as an editor and tutor in our Fourth Draft Course.
Session One – Five-page synopsis
Before embarking on the re-writing and editing of your story, you will:
Do a series of exercises to ensure your story has a tight dramatic spine.
Answer four key questions designed to help you find an extended logline of your story.
Write a three to five page synopsis. The goal is help you to refine the essence of your story.
Having a clear spine will give you confidence in your story and guide you through the whole process.
There will be a one month break between Session One and Session Two.
Session Two to Session Six
As well as looking at writing and story elements addressed in the third draft, we will be using a feedback template in order to go a step deeper into your writing.
This includes analysing:
- The flow and pacing
- The dramatic tension and development of your story
- The consistency, smoothness and authenticity of your voice
- Whether you are digging deep enough in your writing and expressing your unique vision through your story
- Believable and well-motivated character development
- Whether your story is working as a unified whole.
Often when you look at a longer section of a story you can see what is and isn’t working at a much clearer level.
Session Two - Opening 3,200 words
Two months between sessions two and three
Session Three - 4,300 words
Two months between sessions three and four
Session Four – 5,000 words
Two months between sessions four and five
Session Five – 5,000 words
Three months between sessions five and six so you can work on 20,000 words to present to the Editor and meet in an one-on-one consultation before the final class.
Session Six – 20,000 words and one-on-one consultation - Gearing up for publication
During the final session, you will look at:
- Your title
- Book description for back cover and Amazon
- Covering letter you can send to an agent or traditional publisher that captures the essence of your story and its appeal
- What you need to prepare for publication on Amazon to make sure its 180 million readers can find your book. This includes book categories, key words, etc
- What else you need to do to market your work
Vanessa Skye Fowler said, "I had finished several drafts of my first book, The Enemy Inside, but like many authors, I was having a terrible time with my synopsis and pitch, both pretty crucial documents if you want to attract a publisher! I felt like the book was good, but I wasn't getting it across very well to potential publishers or agents.
I sat down with Roland and in a two hour session we managed to completely redraft both my synopsis and my pitch. Once I sent these out, the reaction was far more positive. I had three agents interested in representing me almost immediately, and it all flowed well from there."