Frequently Asked Questions About Algonkian Events

Does Algonkian Run Workshops, or Conferences, or Both?
We schedule specific workshops during our conferences--daily interactive sessions with faculty wherein students study successive levels of craft and apply it to their novel manuscript (and short fiction, if appropriate).


Do You Have a Syllabus?
Yes, a complete syllabus and a list of authors studied can be found here. We believe that in order to stand a realistic chance of getting a novel manuscript published, the writer must first learn the fundamentals and complexities of craft employed by the best authors. Secondly, and just as important, the writer must understand the publishing market.


How is Algonkian Different From Other Conferences?
In several fundamental ways. First of all, the emphasis is not simply on hawking the ms, but on beginning the novel or working to improve the novel-in-progress. Second, the percentage of actual workshop time is far higher. Students spend an average of seven hours per day in workshops that address all the major conflict/complication, plot, theme, narrative/voice, dialogue, scene construction, and character arc-and-development issues. Third, students are prepped in advance for their interactive pitch sessions with literary agents; and the sessions are not rushed, the agents relaxed during the sessions and not bombarded by a hundred or more conference goers. Fourth, all interactions with faculty (including agents) are generally informal. This is because our workshops are limited to 15 students total. Fifth, Algonkian Writer Conferences require the student to complete writing exercises far more advanced and beneficial than those conducted at other conference workshops. In addition, amateur opinions do not factor in. Judgments on the writer's work are approved, filtered, and/or provided by a professional fiction editor. We believe this to be extremely important. Sixth, the goal of Algonkian is to get student manuscripts published in mainstream markets, and in keeping with that goal, we work with our students once the conference is over, following up and arranging for editorial assistance and agent connections as appropriate.


How Does Algonkian Differ From An MFA Approach?
Algonkian emphasizes writing-to-get-published, creation in the context of market. We teach writers to think pragmatically about the development of their ms while retaining their core values for the work. Our motto is "From the Heart, but Smart." College MFA programs typically do not prep a writer for the cold reality of the current publishing climate. Many of our most grateful students are graduates of MFA programs.


What Type of Writer is Algonkian Looking For?
Serious writers who either wish to begin the novel or workshop their current novel-in-progress with an aim towards preparing it for publication in a mainstream paying market. We work with beginners, of course, but we want writers who are willing to shelve the ego and acquire the craft and market knowledge they need to realistically approach the creation of a competitive novel manuscript.


What Genres Are You Willing to Work With?
We work successfully with genre writers (mystery/thriller, suspense, historical fiction, chick lit, SF/F, etc.) and literary mainstream (literary for indie press, general commercial fiction, and women's fiction). The agencies we interact with handle all genres.


How Do Students Interact With Agents?
Each student pitches his or her novel to the agent. The model for the pitch is a "book jacket" the student creates with the help of the workshop leader prior to the pitch session. The process is part of a longer evolution the student begins even before arriving at the conference. Once the pitch is accomplished, the agent interacts with the student in a Q&A session. The workshop leader then follows up with the student to create a plan for publication, i.e., a step-by-step post-conference process the writer must undertake in order to stand a realistic chance of getting his or her manuscript published.


Any Pre-Conference Work Involved?
Yes, and lots of it. Students are given written exercises, a pitch exercise, and several books to read. They are also required to conduct "protagonist sympathy analysis" on current literary sellers. All of this prepares the student before arrival.


What is a Typical Conference Schedule Like?
The first four days and nights of the conference are devoted to readings, discussions, and written exercises, as well as interactive meetings with faculty. Students have homework each night that must be complete by the following morning. The fifth day is dedicated to one-on-one ms consults and finalizing each student's publication plan. The conference begins the night of arrival, and then each day by 8:00 A.M. and on to 5 P.M. (or as necessary).


Algonkian Writer Conferences
2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Ste 443
Washington, DC 20006

Algonkian Home Office:
Phone: 1-800-250-8290

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