Everyone talks about writing a novel, but few people have the drive, determination, and commitment to complete a novel. If you have typed the words THE END, we’d like to offer you a huge congratulations … and the opportunity to take your manuscript to the next level!
Join us this fall for the Fresh Reader Program, where students with a completed draft of their novel or memoir swap manuscripts with fellow writers to gain a fresh perspective on their work.
We spoke with instructor Michele Prestininzi who co-leads the Fresh Reader Program with Allison Tevald to find out more about the class and why she’s so excited about it.
PWN: Why is having a fresh read on your manuscript so important?
Michele: For many writers, by the time you’ve completed a full draft, you are so close to your story that it’s hard to be objective. You know the intricacies of your story so well––the plot, the character arcs, the sub-plots–– that sometimes what you think is on the page may still be in your head. A fresh reader can help you close the gap between your vision of your story and what’s on the page. Writers can also be hard on themselves. Many focus on what’s wrong with their story, but a fresh reader focuses on what’s right. They see the story’s potential and offer insight on how to make it even stronger.
PWN: How is the program organized? Are you matched with writers who write in the same genre as you?
Michele: Students will be divided into three-person pods. They are not genre specific, so you may be placed with someone who has written a memoir or a YA fantasy novel. All participants in the pod will share their manuscripts and are expected to give detailed feedback on the strengths as well as their reader experience. The program will meet six times over the course of twelve weeks. During the first two sessions, students will be coached on how to give feedback and how to receive feedback. The next three sessions will be dedicated to individual manuscripts in the pod––each student will receive two-hours of detailed feedback on their drafts, which will be led by a facilitator. The last session will focus on revision strategies and goals.
PWN: What is your role in the program?
Michele: Allison and I will lead the coaching sessions and facilitate individual pods to ensure the discussion covers all aspects of the story from a craft perspective as well as addressing any questions/topics the writer may have about their manuscript.
PWN: How do you know if your manuscript is ready to submit to the Fresh Reader Program?
Michele: If you have a completed draft of a novel or memoir and feel you would benefit from having two objective readers give you feedback, then this program is for you! Please note that you must be willing to read and offer positive, helpful feedback on two manuscripts, as well. The program’s design is quite simple: you get what you give.
PWN: What can writers expect to walk away with after participating in the Fresh Reader Program?
Michele: Having gone through the Fresh Reader Program myself, I can honestly say that I walked away with tremendous insight about my novel. I gained clarity about what was working and what needed tweaking, and I learned about themes in the story that I hadn’t realized were there. Most important, though, I walked away excited about my story’s potential and had a plan to revise, which is our goal for all participants. Do we guarantee your book will be published? No. However, we do guarantee you’ll walk away with an in-depth, thoughtful review about your story, along with a revision plan to make it stronger. Every published book has been revised countless times––bar none. This program is designed to help you take your novel to the next level.
Join the Fresh Reader Program by applying no later than August 27, 2021. All guidelines for the application are posted here.