what

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Maybe you have an idea for a book. Maybe you have a whole draft. At The Fifth Semester, we put our collective writing and publishing expertise for you, giving you the guidance and tools you need to take your manuscript from inspiration…to publication. The Fifth Semester is like a writing workshop, book doctor, mini-MFA, and writing conference, all rolled into one.

This four-month course includes writing mentorship and full manuscript development by bestselling authors and professional teachers, two weekend residencies featuring more than 20 instructional hours on story development, craft, and the business of writing, a built-in writing community, and access to agents, editors, and other industry leaders.

So how does it work? You start with a weekend in Chicago, immersing yourself in discussions on the craft of writing. Then you return home, and for four months, work remotely with Ann, Erin, or one of the visiting writers (when appropriate) — or sometimes all of the above — on developing your idea or draft. At the end of those four months, each cohort meets for a long weekend in NYC to talk the business of writing, meet agents and editors, and further discuss your project with your mentor.

Tuition of $3,980 includes everything but travel:

  • A three-day residency in Chicago, focused on the craft of writing;
  • Four months of one-on-one mentorship which includes a monthly exchange of draft pages, a telephone conference with your mentor, and email check-ins. At the New York residency, mentors will provide a developmental critique of full manuscript up to 300 pages and individual conference to discuss future strategies and goals;
  • A three-day residency in New York, focused on the business of writing;
  • Access to agents and editors;
  • Room and board (breakfast, catered lunch, and nightly hors d’oeuvre and wine reception) for both residencies;
  • A program that adheres to Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) standards and is taught by university professors/published authors; and
  • A writing community, complete with a private Facebook page and private online forum (coming soon!)

Join us today!

Residency Workshop and Seminar Topics

CRAFT
Narrative structure
Concept and conflict
Pacing
Beginnings and endings
Persona and voice
Description and significant detail
Scene versus summary
Dialogue
BUSINESS
Synopsis and query writing
Social media strategies and techniques
Who to pitch: developing agent lists
Platform and promotion
Finances, taxes, and budgets
How the publishing world goes ’round: the structure of modern publishing
Write here, publish there…but where? Picking a publisher that’s right for you.