Home > Call for Submissions, Skill Building > Novel Manuscript Development Program

Novel Manuscript Development Program

This program is well worth considering expressing an interest for, due to it’s length (20 weeks) and its cost ($1,000)

A lot of Australian fiction writers want professional feedback on their writing.

A lot of Australian fiction writers aspire to be a commercially published novelist.


The Australian Literature Review is seeking expressions of interest for a 20 week novel manuscript development program beginning mid Feb 2012. (If there is enough demand for the program by mid Jan the program will go ahead in one or several Australian locations.)

There will be a 3.5 hour class each week, in a quality CBD boardroom or meeting room, with editor/publisher Steve Rossiter.

Each class will have the primary goal of helping each writer progress their novel manuscript and have a clear plan of action for the coming week’s writing. Every writer should leave every class with a detailed plan of action for the week ahead, plus the confidence that they know how to skilfully carry out that plan.

The program will have a practical, results based focus:

– The first 3 weeks will be dedicated to each writer developing a compelling and commercially viable story idea, outline and narrative style.

– The next 17 weeks will be dedicated to guiding each writer to complete a compelling and commercially viable novel manuscript.

Class size will be limited to 10-15 writers.

The program will have a flexible curriculum, adapting each week to meet the needs of the writers and their stories. The content will likely be drawn widely from the history of storytelling (from theatre and playwrighting to film/TV and screenwriting, graphic novels, classic novels, short stories, novellas and contemporary novels, including new releases) but always with a firm focus on what is directly relevant to the novel manuscripts being written and what appeals to the writers. Various aspects of the craft of writing may be touched upon, from grammar and stylistics, to narratology and the pragmatics of written fiction, psychology of characters and of readers, crafting scenes and chapters, interweaving plotlines, and so on.

Each class will be a combination of lecture/discussion content, individual activities designed to develop the next section of each writer’s novel manuscript, group activities also designed to develop the next section of each writer’s manuscript, professional feedback on the manuscripts, and analysis of other novels and stories.

The purpose of the classes is not present the writers with a new category of speculative theories and philosophical opinions to consider each week, as is standard in many university courses. Nor is the purpose to rehash an old framework and advice the writers could just get from reading a few books. The purpose of the classes is to focus each writer on their task ahead for the week and to help each writer refine how they choose to carry out that task to achieve the results they want for their manuscript.

The emphasis will always be on writing well-crafted and commercially viable novel manuscripts, while making the process fun.

While the focus of this program will be on writing a novel manuscript and the craft of writing fiction as it pertains to writing these manuscripts, writers will no doubt also learn about the publishing process and the business of publishing in a global context, as this will be relevant to writing a commercially viable story.

Published novelists with major publishers will be invited to at least several of the 20 classes to workshop story ideas, outlines and chapters (and maybe some international novelists will workshop via video conference). These could quite probably include New York Times bestselling novelists.

The recommended workload will be 68,000 words (4,000 words/week for 17 weeks), or 51,000 words (3,000/week), or 85,000 words (5,000/week), depending on the most appropriate length for each writer and their novel.

Every participant will share the goal of completing their novel manuscript during the 20 weeks of the program, ready for editing.

Participants will be encouraged to meet outside class in pairs or small groups for writing sessions, to help maintain motivation and so each participant has other writers to bounce ideas off.

The 20 week program will cost $1,000, payable by mid Jan 2012 (or half by mid Jan and half up to 8 weeks later, if finances are an issue).

This program is best suited to writers starting a new novel manuscript in Feb 2012, so all storytelling options are open for the story. However, it can also cater to writers with a work already in progress.


You can express your interest by emailing auslit@hotmail.com with Manuscript Development in the subject line.

Please express your interest only if you have taken the cost and time commitment into account and would be happy with both.

The most likely locations are big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, but other locations will be considered if there is demand.

  1. 23 November 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Since the initial post, Random House Australia have confirmed that they will allow outlines + samples from manuscripts written in the Novel Manuscript Development Program to be submitted directly to three of their publishers, guaranteeing they will bypass the slushpile and junior readers. 🙂
    These publishers span the spectrum from children’s and teen fiction, to adult fiction and literary fiction.

    This news is great for aspiring novelists who don’t have an agent.

    • 25 November 2011 at 7:34 am

      Thank you very much for the new information, that is great news 🙂

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