What is Story Guild?
Story Guild is a national program designed to pair unpublished writers with professional “Host Authors.” There are already many mentor/workshop programs across the country. This program is unique in a few crucial ways:
★ Story Guild is FREE
★ Story Guild is specifically focused on helping experienced (but still unpublished) writers
Where did Story Guild come from?
In the summer between my first and second year of grad school (MFA playwriting), students had to write a complete draft of a full-length play. It could not be something they had previously worked on. When the fall semester started up, the program hosted a reading series: every evening one of the new plays was read aloud, and the rest of the class gave notes.
Publicly sharing a terrible/rushed draft with peers was potentially humiliating. The pressure to deliver good work was intense—but in the very best way. Writers had to abandon their long-tended passion projects, ignore writer's block, and create something NEW. This was easily the most valuable week of my entire MFA program.
Even though I’ve moved to writing fiction, I still host a reading of my first 60 pages of every new book. They continue to be enormously helpful. Novels are huge undertakings, and it’s incredibly helpful to get early input on a journey that can last years. Recently, I started wondering if this format could help other writers—especially those who already possess a baseline level of skill/experience but still need a breakthrough in their career.
This fall, I ran a pilot workshop in Pittsburgh, and it was a tremendous success! So now we’re going national!
How does it work?
Applicants agree to write 60 pages (15k words) of a brand new novel, which they will read aloud at a closed workshop session, run by a local Host Author. This novel cannot be something you’ve worked on before — part of the exercise involves “breaking up” with old manuscripts and trying something new. Applicants will agree to attend readings for the entire group.
That’s it! At the end of the series, you will have 60 pages of a brand new book and notes from peers and professionals in your town. The closest comparison to this experience might be NaNoWriMo, but with Story Guild you have a longer lead time and professional guidance. And the terror of having to read your book out loud!
Here are a few more things about the program …
★ Story Guild is 100% FREE - There is no application/registration fee. You don’t even need to pay to print out your pages because you’ll be reading them aloud. (Though writers are asked to bring light snacks on the night they present!)
★ Story Guild is CONTAINED - While there is something beautiful about traditional “mentorships,” many writers are too busy with work and family to commit to something long-term. Moreover, many can’t afford the time to travel to traditional writing retreats and workshops. Story Guild is local to you and confined to a handful of evenings. So long as you can make yourself available for the dates your group selects, you’re good!
★ Story Guild is for EXPERIENCED WRITERS - This program is not designed for novice writers. Applicants are expected to be self-motivated and able to produce pages without hand-holding. Our Host Authors are busy professionals, and part of the appeal of this program is that it lets them help emerging writers without getting too bogged down with a long-term commitment. Presently, Story Guild is looking for mg/ya novelists who are “querying,” newly agented, or hold an MFA (or have comparable experience in a workshop environment).
★ Story Guild is about ACTUAL WRITING - This program will not help you find an agent or editor or write a perfect query. There are plenty of resources to help with this part of your career. All we care about is getting you to put words on the page!
Awesome! How do I Sign Up?
Signing up for Story Guild is easy! All you need to do is live in one of the cities that is currently running a workshop and send a message to the Hosting Author by clicking one of the buttons below.
The goal is to run Story Guild workshops twice a year. If for whatever reason you aren’t selected this time, we’ll keep you on the list for the next round.
Current Cities for Spring 2018
Don’t see your city? Click the button below to let an author in your area know about the program! Make sure to tag them in your Tweet!
This is just the beginning!
The plan is to have Story Guild workshops running all across the country (with multiple authors sharing the load in each city). Are you a published author who wants to get involved? Send us a message and we’ll tell you more!