What does living a literary life mean? Each writer/artist will have his/her own answer. For Bethany Hegedus, the creator of the Write. Submit. Support. program, living a literary life means constantly creating challenges in her own writing world and for the writers she and The Writing Barn Supports. It means discovering new ways for those writers to develop their own voices, say yes to themselves in a world that often says no, and to embrace how vulnerable yet unwavering we must be in pursuit of capturing story and seeing it through to publication and beyond.
The Write. Submit. Support. format is designed to embrace all aspects of the literary life. This six-month course will offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions: whether that be submitting to agents or, if agented, weathering the submissions to editors. We will discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.
Write. Submit. Support. Mission: To empower writers, pre-published or published, as well as the instructor, to embrace the many joys and challenges of leading a literary life.
Hear more from Bethany Hegedus on the core values of Write. Submit. Support.
The typical monthly class entails:
- A writing exercise to ground participants in the work and to create an atmosphere of creative play.
- During the first class, a 45-minute lecture on a craft topic by the instructor.
- During classes 2-6, presentations by participants on craft topics that they are investigating on their own. These presentations should be twenty minutes in length and should provide fellow attendees with a handout of key points. (Topics previously presented: creating antagonists/villains, examining subplots, creating cathartic scenes that don’t rely on emotional clichés, successful openings, middles and endings of both picture books and novels, the emotional through-line of a picture book, word play, rhythm and rhyme, character desire and development in novels and picture books, setting, “spunkies” vs “sweeties”—MG female protagonists, the hero’s journey, etc.)
- Conversation on the process of submitting (participants share about passes/rejections that have come in, brainstorming on places to submit, discussion on knowing when work is ready to submit). This is where you share insights from your own career, and the class takes on a particular shape inspired by your personal experience. This conversation keeps in mind that submitting is part of the process, but not the whole of the literary life.
- Deadlines created for the creative and analysis work.
- Submit either 15 double spaced pages of a novel or two picture book manuscripts under 700 words (ideally 500 unless picture book nonfiction).
- Submit a process letter to the instructor each month sharing about process, time commitments/concerns, questions, discussion of revisions, etc.
- Complete a six-month goal sheet after session 1, and create a monthly goal sheet before each session 2-6.
- Write a short literary analysis of 1) a novel or five picture books, 2) a craft book, and 3) a literary experience, included but not limited to: a stage performance, movie, reading, gallery visit, something Julie Cameron would label an “artist’s date.”
- Participate in closed Facebook group with your fellow WSS attendees and instructor.
Once over the six-month session:
- Present on a craft topic of his/her choosing once during the six months in a 20-minute lecture.
One-on-One with your WSS Instructor:
- You will receive a detailed feedback letter outlining strengths and comments for growth on the specific pieces submitted, along with questions answered from the process letter, possible suggested novels, picture books or craft books to read to strengthen the work and add to the writer toolbox. Feedback letters end with requests for what to see on the next deadline: revisions or new material. A typical feedback letter is 2-4 pages.
- Creative work returned with comments included.
- Brief response to literary analysis work, craft book write-up, and literary experience essay/paragraph.
- In-class support on what it means to lead a literary life, sharing of struggles and obstacles, achievements and triumphs.
Who should apply:
- Active members of the SCBWI or other writing organizations looking for deep craft instruction.
- Writers looking for one-on-one feedback from a published mentor.
- Writers who are refining a body of work soon to be submitted to agents and editors.
- Writers wanting to submit but finding it hard to make the leap.
- Writers from around the country who can participate in real time online learning in our Zoom classrooms.
- Writers eager to make a commitment to their writing and to living a fully rounded literary life.
- Writers who are between agents and are looking to take their work in new directions.
- Writers who write with a passion but find the business side of publishing disheartening and a challenge.
- Writers who may be contemplating an MFA program but aren’t sure of the cost or the time away from family and other obligations.
Desired outcomes of WSS:
- A renewed sense of purpose for each individual writer and the class community.
- A deeper understanding of the work and each writer’s specific process in creating that work.
- Broader knowledge base of the industry and what it requires, as well as specific tools for each writer’s toolbox, furthering goals toward completion of a project, be it novel or picture book, a deeper understanding of processing rejection.
- The six-month commitment allows for high points and low points—writers can take what they’ve learned from the ebbs and flows and apply it to their own evolving literary lives.
Fees and Payment
Write. Submit. Support. is a 6 month-program and attendees must commit to the full six months. If an online or in-person class session is missed, there is the possibility of viewing a recording of the class. If a monthly class is missed, attendees are still expected to keep submission deadlines with their WSS instructor.
The program may be paid in one of two ways, in full, $1800 or in two payments of $900. If a monthly billing of $300 a month is needed, please request. If paying via credit card via PayPal there is a 3% fee added. If paying by check, payments must be received at The Writing Barn by the 1st of the month.
What previous Write. Submit. Support: Living a Literary Life attendees have said:
“When it comes to the one-on-one feedback from a published author, I would not be developing as a writer as I have been without it. The feedback on my work is absolutely what I need.”
“WSS has given me solid ways to integrate craft study into my writing routine.”
“The six-month structure really has helped me set long term goals and having monthly and weekly goals is helping me reach those larger goals. I plan to continue this from now own. It’s moving my work along in a big way.”
“WSS has shown me how important it is to be part of a writing community. We are learning much from each other through presentations and sharing. To have writers going through the same doubts, standstills and breakthroughs means so much. We celebrate together and we encourage each other.”
“I so appreciate being part of this group. The accountability, the community, the sense that I’m part of something bigger and real. Thank you.”
“My mentor’s feedback has helped me to deepen my novel, to remove those sticky pitfalls that I was blind to, over and again.”
Meet Your Instructors:
Carrie Jones is the The New York Times bestseller author of the Need series, Time Stoppers series, Flying series, Girl, Hero, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, and Love (and other uses for duct tape). She is also the coauthor, with Steve Wedel, of After Obsession and Summer Howl. She also writes picture books about unconventional spies. Her books have been published all around the world, been bestsellers in France (thank you, France), and have received numerous awards.
Carrie lives in Bar Harbor, Maine and launched the Bar Harbor Kids Book Festival, and is active in Rotary International as the Public Image Coordinator for much of Canada and a lot of the United States. She’s also part of the Rotary Campaign against Human Trafficking.
A former newspaper reporter, police dispatcher, city councilor, gymnastics coach, and volunteer firefighter, Carrie has won numerous press awards for newspaper writing and photography.
She is a big fan of rescue animals and currently has three, Spartacus, Gabby, and Marsie.
Dianne White is the award-winning author of BLUE ON BLUE (Beach Lane Books/ S&S), illustrated by Caldecott medalist, Beth Krommes. She holds an elementary bilingual teaching credential and a master’s degree in Language and Literacy. In 2007, she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
After 25 years teaching students of all ages, Dianne now writes full-time from her home in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. Two new picture books are forthcoming in 2018 – GOODBYE BRINGS HELLO, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and WHO EATS ORANGE?, illustrated by Robin Page (Beach Lane Books). Visit Dianne online at diannewrites.com.