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3-Month ONLINE Chapbook Mentorship: Write & Revise a Powerful Manuscript, Starts October 5, 2020
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3-Month ONLINE Chapbook Mentorship: Write & Revise a Powerful Manuscript, Starts October 5, 2020

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Click here to apply | Program Starts October 5, 2020

Apply by October 1, 2020

Open to Fiction & Nonfiction Writers

Led by Writing Workshops Founder & Executive Director, Blake Kimzey, winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition for his collection of short tales, Families Among Us. Blake's chapbook, an indie bestseller, was blurbed by Roxane Gay, Ramona Ausubel, and Matt Bell, and his work has been adapted for broadcast on NPR and published by Tin House, McSweeney's, VICE, and over 40 other literary journals.

Why a Chapbook?

Writing and publishing a chapbook can be an excellent way to attract the attention of editors and agents. It can be a big step along your path to publication and the start of a career. Just as publishing individual pieces can make you more findable to decision makers, so can publishing a chapbook. Blake was regularly contacted by agents who read his chapbook and sent emails inquiring about longer manuscripts and is now working on a first novel with his agent, Ryan Harbage. The process of writing and publishing a chapbook also provides valuable experience: you'll have to write, revise, submit and, upon acceptance, reach out for blurbs, interviews, and reviews. It is great practice for the career you hope to have after you publish your chapbook. Blake will share his roadmap with you and help you devise a path to publication tailored for your individual manuscript.

The Ideal Applicant may be at any stage in the process of putting together a short collection or drafting stories, but will have at least some stories already on the page. The ideal applicant will come to this mentorship program with the willingness and expectation to tackle substantial revision, on the micro-level (sentence structure, diction, punctuation) as well as the macro level (voice, momentum, theme). Applicants should have a draft of at least two shorter stories or flash pieces that they would like to build a chapbook around with the intention of writing at least four more pieces during the mentorship that are thematically linked.

Most chapbooks are between 20 - 40 pages in length, so we want enough stories to choose from in order to put together a strong manuscript. The goal of the three-month mentorship is to have 6 shorter stories or multiple flash pieces finished and a plan for submitting to chapbook competitions and also sending out stand alone pieces as well. At the end of the mentorship, each writer should also have developed a more distinct sense of their personal style and, hopefully, a clearer idea of how they would put together a chapbook and a plan to get it out into the world.

When putting together a chapbook manuscript, many questions can arise: How do I find the right voice and point of view for each story? How plotted do I want a story to feel? How much showing vs. telling should I engage in? How much formal experimentation? Concerns will arise of whether the stories should be linked by theme or recurring characters, whether the stories should share a consistent voice or tone, if they can diverge in length and form, and more. Together, we will discover the answers and methods that are right for you.

Our work is meant to be a collaborative process, to encourage and motivate you as well as give you the freedom to try new things, explore new modes, without worrying too much about outcome or judgment. That said, interested applicants will understand that growth requires critique, consistent work, and eagerness to learn. Revision is key, learning to really see your work throughout the process with fresh eyes, with as much objectivity as possible. Because revision is so crucial, it’s possible you may rework substantial portions of your manuscript during the program.

How It Works:

Upon acceptance into the mentorship program, you will schedule an initial one-on-one call or Zoom session with Blake to discuss where you are at with drafting stories for your manuscript and your goals, allowing him to get a sense of your previous experience and attitude toward feedback. Together, you’ll create a work plan for the next three months. In general, writers will be required to submit a new story every two weeks for the duration of the mentorship (six turn-in deadlines)

You will then meet with Blake, by phone or Zoom, at the end of every month until the end of the program. Prior to these meetings, you will be expected to send a process letter (1-3 pages) detailing the work you have accomplished as well as your successes and concerns for the month. Blake will provide line edits as well as a formal letter for each piece submitted. The specifics of this can be worked out in the initial conversation and as you go.

Regularly reading published fiction and nonfiction as well as essays on the craft of writing is essential to improvement, so Blake will assign reading on the craft of writing as well as published work. You will then discuss these in your monthly session, in addition to your process letter and submissions. Blake will also be available to answer questions, talk through any issues or blocks you may be having, or provide advice via email once a week during "office hours." By the end, you and Blake will collaborate to put together a list of publishers where you will send your chapbook manuscript (if ready) as well as suggestions of where you should send individual pieces.

The Three-Month Mentorship Consists of the Following:

  • One-on-one initial consultation via phone or Zoom to discuss your experience, specific needs, and aspirations
  • Accountability
  • E-mail access to mentor once a week for check-ins and/or office hours for three months
  • Monthly meeting between mentor and mentee via phone or Zoom to discuss latest submission and progress
  • Line edits (via Microsoft Word) and formal letter on submitted pages
  • Monthly assignments (stories/craft essays/art/films/etc.) tailored to your individual needs and interests
  • Plan for submitting at work to literary journals, publishers, and chapbook competitions

Mentor’s Monthly Input:

  • List of assignments
  • Guidance on goals and priorities
  • One-on-one phone or email check in
  • Manuscript critique
  • Personalized submissions plan as needed

Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:

  • Complete monthly assignments
  • Submit manuscripts for critique
  • Revise work based on critique
  • Do research per Mentor's guidance
  • Cooperate and work with Mentor in a respectful manner

Candidates who are passionate about writing will greatly benefit from this mentorship and the accountability, structure, support, guidance, and feedback it offers, provided they do the work and complete the entire program. The main focus of this 3-month mentorship will be to craft and polish a chapbook manuscript of high quality and come up with a submission plan for the book and/or individual pieces. 

Tuition Payment:

Full Tuition for the 3-month program is $1,200. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. Once accepted into the program, writers can pay the tuition in full or in two equal payments of $600 (1st Payment made by October 5th; 2nd Payment made by November 5th).

Additional Program Information:

  • Tuition is $1,200

  • Mentorship limited to 8 writers

  • Program Starts October 5, 2020

  • The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.

  • NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.  

Contact us HERE if you have any questions about this program.

Mentor Blake Kimzey founded and directs Writing Workshops & Writing Workshops Paris and is a co-founder of The Big Texas Read. Named one of D Magazine's Artists to Learn From, he is a graduate of the MFA Program at UC Irvine; Blake also sits on the Board of the Elizabeth George Foundation and received a generous Emerging Writer Grant from the Foundation. His fiction has been broadcast on NPR, performed on stage in Los Angeles, and published by Tin House, McSweeney’s, VICE, Longform, Redivider, D Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, Green Mountains Review, Short Fiction, FiveChapters, The Lifted Brow, Hobart, Puerto del Sol, The Los Angeles Review, The Masters Review, Booth, Faultline, FLAUNT Magazine, Malibu Magazine, Day One, PANK, Fiction Southeast, Surreal South '13, and selected by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions 2015. Blake’s collection of short tales, Families Among Us, an Indie Bestseller, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2014. He is working on his first novel and is represented by Ryan Harbage. Blake has been awarded fellowships to attend the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Vermont Studio Center and a generous grant from Americans for the Arts Foundation. He has taught in the Creative Writing Programs at SMU, UT-Dallas and UC-Irvine. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeKimzey, or contact him at

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