I wanted to talk to you a bit more about the Master Author Programme. At this writing, the programme for 2018 is still being worked out.
I’ve described it before as a set of training steps covering aspects of writing such as how to beat the Seven Communication Barriers which stop your writing from flourishing, how to attract, hold and guide your readers' attention through whole stories with minimal effort (simply by using the secret language of fiction) and much, much more. But many of you have asked for more information - hence this post, which might help to flesh out how this works.
Basically, the programme is structured around working closely with me and the greatest set of tools you can imagine (and even some that you can’t imagine!)
It’s designed around the method of tutoring used by Oxford University, in which the tutor (in this case, moi) regularly meets with the pupil to discuss forward progress. In that meeting, the central magic of the programme occurs, because I will use the time to coax out of you insights and ways forward to do with your own work that you probably wouldn’t have arrived at on your own. Plus it will be great fun.
But the programme also consists of a library of tools which will be available for you to use including:
• a lifestyle consultancy which means that you will find the time to write that right now you think is absorbed by Life and inaccessible to you
• the world’s most unique and wide-ranging set of writing prompts, which not only will help you to think as a writer, they’ll help you to think as a character and to see, smell, feel, taste and hear the worlds you’re creating
• confidence-boosting exercises and drills which will increase your certainty as a writer and artist
• a huge body of material from English literature available for analysis and comparison, including works by some of the best-known writers in the world, with all of their tools and ‘tricks’ exposed and laid out for you to use as you see fit
• stages of progression as a writer which will move you up through various levels of communication and ability until you emerge as a unique voice and an established identity, leaving anxieties and influences behind
• marketing expertise based on real marketing, not on wishful thinking or ‘shouting from the rooftops’, backed up by a personal marketing consultancy to move you forward in the real world
and a great deal more - so much more, in fact, that it’s taking me longer than expected to prepare it all.
How the programme works logistically:
1. If you’re interested, you’ll fill out an extensive application form which will enable me to see a) if the programme is right for you and b) what exact steps you’ll need to take to achieve your full potential. This application form will ask for a lot of detail about your goals as a writer, because the shape of the programme for you will be determined by what you want to accomplish.
2. I’ll then recommend to you the exact steps you’ll need to take, if you’re accepted. Due to the intensive and personal nature of the programme, I can only take 10 students each year. If you are one of them, we’ll then schedule in regular phone or Skype time as well as an email timetable. Your workload will be extensive, but tailor-made to suit your situation - and each step you accomplish will be moving you closer to your own goals.
3. I’ll then send you an invoice for the year’s proposed activities. In some cases, this can be broken down into part-payments. Some materials, individually tailored to suit your needs and aims, will also need to be purchased separately.
4. If all is agreed at this stage, we’ll begin. Each week from this point on will be an adventure into realms as yet only partly explored in your imagination, as you learn what you’re really capable of and how others have done similar things.
Most writing courses send you information and then expect you to work through it section by section on your own. Some assign someone to ‘mark’ your work and give you feedback, but from what I’ve seen the gradings are superficial and the feedback minimal. The emphasis in the Master Author Programme is the personal touch: working with me directly, regularly, persistently and creatively towards goals that you have set and which may evolve into even greater goals as progress is made.
There’s obviously a great deal more to the programme than I have room for here. Think of it as comparable to joining your own private writing university, in a way. I thought about calling it the ‘School for Gifted Writers’ at one point, but that’s a bit misleading: it conjures up pictures of school, which aren’t always positive for some, and in my book everyone is ‘gifted’ in unique ways, but the term may be misunderstood.
Anyway, hopefully that gives you more of an idea of what the Master Author Programme is. You might be worried about costs at this point. Costs vary according to a) what you want to achieve and b) the circumstances that you’re in. Of course, one-to-one tutoring with anyone is not going to be cheap. But there are ways of making this work for just about everyone.
I’ll try to let you know more as it comes together. In the meantime, if you are interested, please drop me a line at