Poetry at the Porches Pe le led by
MMMary Caroll-Hackett Mara
arary Carroll Hacket
ONE-ON-ONE NOVEL Workshop
DATES: Nancy & Novelist Coordinate
How long is the workshop?
2 1/2 days.
Am I the only writer you work with?
How do I apply?
Contact the Porches about your interest.
You'll then be directed to submit approximately 30 pages of your novel. If it seems to be something that will benefit from a collaborative analysis then you'll submit a hard copy of your novel to me. I'll have read through your novel thoroughly, more than once, by the time we meet.
How do the novel sessions work?
The sessions are one-on-one and they are intense and focused. We work and think hard!
Usually there are structural issues and so a lot of time is spent on charting and brainstorming and figuring out the novel. I usually do a brainstorming exercise outside the novel itself to get us going and to illuminate 1) how plot works, and 2) how plot can release literary writing and themes. Toward the end of the workshop we move toward editing individual chapters and evaluating sentence placement for most effective scene development.
You mention plot development in your answer. What if my plot is already quite elaborate but I'm thin on character?
If you don't have well-developed characters, then that's what we'll work on. Each novel has its strengths and weaknesses. We address what needs to be fixed. My experience is that weaknesses usually arise because of plot/forward movement issues or point of view inconsistencies or a miscued point of entry or troubles with chronological management. But I won't know for certain until I read your novel.
How long are the sessions?
We go from 9 to 12 for the morning session (10-12 the first day). Then there's an hour or two-hour break, and then we go again for at least 3 hours. Sessions are usually around 5 or 6 hours per day. We're pretty casual, but the thing you need to know is that I will do what it takes. If we have to spend 8 or 9 hours on the manuscript that day, that's what we'll do. On the third day, there is a 9-12 session to close out the one-on-one part of the workshop.
When should I arrive for the workshop?
The workshop begins at 10 a.m. on the first day (9 a.m. thereafter). You may arrive that morning, but keep in mind that The Porches is in secluded countryside. The closest city is Charlottesville, an hour away. We recommend that you arrive the evening before so that you'll be rested and ready.
How far along should my manuscript be?
You will get much more out of the workshop if you are well into your novel.
How polished should my manuscript be?
Keep in mind that you are doing this kind of workshop because you are already a good writer, a serious writer. You've probably written many stories and you may have published some of them. You may have already published a novel or another kind of book. We are workshopping this particular manuscript because you are having some kind of trouble with it. Trouble is fine. It's good, in fact. Your manuscript should be a good mess. And out of this mess will come somthing much better than if there hadn't been a mess--because true creativity is messy when it starts out.
Is there a page limit?
Yes. 350 pages.
Do you help me to get the novel published or find an agent?
Unfortunately, this workshop can't address that issue for you.
Will you reread the manuscript if I rewrite it according to what I've gained in the workshop?
The workshop does not include going over future revisions.
I still don't know if the workshop is right for me or I'm right for the workshop.
Feel free to call The Porches and talk it over.
Could you tell me a little bit about your qualifications as an editor and teacher?
Currently I am the series editor of the Flannery O'Connor award for short fiction. You can read more about this at http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/series/FOC
For nine years I was the fiction editor of The Kenyon Review. Each June I teach at The Kenyon Review Adult Summer Workshop for which I am also the associate coordinator. Many stories from the workshop I teach there have subsequently been published. I have taught at the University of Pittsburgh, The Ohio State University, Centre College, West Virginia University, and Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Rebuplic (where I was a Senior Fulbright Fellow). I've published over two dozen short stories. My books include The People I Know, acollection of short stories that won the Flannery O'Connor award for short fiction as well as the Ohioana Library Association award for best fiction; The Metal Shredders, a novel that was a New York Times notable book of the year; and another novel, Lucky Strike, that was a BookSense notable. I've won several awards and grants, including two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grants.
One-on-One Novel Workshop Cost (includes
accomodations at the Porches).
"I arrived at the Porches with a formless manuscript and left three days later with the draft of a novel. Nancy Zafris discoverd the form that I had been struggling to uncover and breathed life into it. Nancy is simply the best editor and teacher I know: challenging, supportive, creative beyond measure. To enjoy such indivdiual attention from an artist of her caliber is an experience I recommend without reservation to any writer. I have been to lots of writers' workshops--many very good workshops--but none can compare to my experience at the Porches."