**Applications are Required**
Program Will Start September 27th, 2021
*Early Applications are encouraged, slots are limited, and are considered in order.
Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive a formal acceptance notification via email.
Click HERE to Apply by September 23rd. Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged.
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
Led by Morgan Talty. Named one of Narrative’s “30 Below 30,” his story collection Night of the Living Rez is forthcoming from Tin House Books (2022). His work was cited as Distinguished in Best American Short Stories 2020 & 2021 and has appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. A recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Morgan is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing where he teaches fiction and is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up.
Morgan's mentees have won Sarabande's Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction and published work in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Harvard Review Online, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, The Southampton Review, McSweeny’s, Smokelong Quarterly, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere.
The Ideal Participant is someone who is deeply committed to the writing process and the writing journey and will have a deep appreciation for criticism and feedback concerning voice, point of view, characterization, imagery, plot, theme, and any other elements unique to short fiction. Participants should have at least one draft of a long short story (5K+) or several shorter pieces. Messy, incomplete ramblings are also welcome! This mentorship is designed to offer critical tools to turn one’s mess into something with, in the very least, potential.
While this mentorship is focused on the writing and revising process (micro-level stuff such as sentence structure, diction, punctuation and macro-level such as plot, voice, tension, theme), you will also work toward getting at least one story in its strongest form for potential publication. Importantly, this mentorship is about giving writers the necessary tools and skills to be successful writers who may be working without a mentor in the future.
By the end of this 6-month mentorship, writers will have:
- 1 to 3 potentially publishable short stories (2K to 5K in length)
- A list of magazines/journals that are ideal places for their work
- A plan to submit stories to magazines/journals
- A clearer and stronger sense of their writing sensibilities and tendencies unique to their work and style
- A clearer sense of future writing goals
- The ability to self-critique their writing
- And, a deeper understanding that writing takes time, patience, discipline, and perseverance
This mentorship is not about writing a “perfect” story but discovering what you are trying to do as a writer, both within an individual story and in general, then working out how best you can accomplish your fictional vision. When a writer intensely sets their mind on creating short fiction, 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? Similarly, when putting together a collection, 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 (long stories interspersed with flash, etc.), 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 participants 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 spend the bulk of the mentorship on only one story (along with other exercises and your assigned reading).
How It Works:
Upon acceptance into the mentorship program, you will schedule an initial one-on-one call or Zoom session with Morgan to discuss where you are at with drafting stories and your goals, allowing her to get a sense of your previous experience and attitude toward feedback. Together, you’ll create a work plan for the next six months.
You will then meet with Morgan, by phone or Zoom, 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. Along with the letter, you will also submit up to 25 pages of fiction for direct feedback from Morgan (which he will provide in the form of line edits as well as a formal letter). The number of pages due is flexible per meeting and will depend on the person; the specifics of this can be worked out in the initial conversation and as you go.
Regularly reading fiction as well as essays on the craft of writing is essential to improvement, so every month Morgan will supply you will reading tailored to your interests in needs in the form of assigned stories, criticism, essays, talks, interviews, etc. You will then discuss these in your monthly session, in addition to your process letter and fiction submission. Morgan will also be available to answer questions, talk through any issues or blocks you may be having, or provide advice via email at any time for the duration of the six-month mentorship. By the end, you and Morgan will collaborate to put together a list of journals where you will send at least one polished story. If you are far enough along in the process of assembling collection that you plan to soon reach out to agents, Morgan is also willing to help you brainstorm how best to position your collection and assist you in drafting a query letter.
The Six-Month Mentorship Consists of the Following:
- One-on-one initial consultation via phone or Zoom to discuss your experience, specific needs, and aspirations
- Access to mentor via email for six 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 stories
- Monthly assignments (stories/craft essays/art/films/etc.) tailored to your individual needs and interests
- Plan for submitting at least one story (and possibly more) to literary journals; plan for querying agents, should the writer be at that stage of revising a collection
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
- Phone or Zoom conversations to discuss progress and submission
- Line edits and formal letter on stories
- Based on each month’s discussion, pages, and progress letter, mentor will assign new material (stories, essays, interviews, films, etc.) to aid in growth
- Available to answer questions/provide support at any time via email
Mentee’s Monthly Responsibilities:
- Send up to 25 pages every month to mentor for commentary and discussion
- Progress letter reflecting on successes, concerns, and goals
- Read/listen/watch assigned ancillary materials
- Participate in email conversations about progress
"I saw the announcement about Morgan Talty's mentorship at exactly the right time. I had been writing short stories for years, and even had some publishing success, but every short story I wrote felt like a shot in the dark and when I got it right, it felt like it was only due to luck. I wanted to understand the form better and have someone hold my hand yet challenge me through a few stories I was struggling with. My conversations with Morgan and his feedback on my stories have really improved my confidence, skill level, and understanding of this form. The mentorship was also very well-structured, giving me time to reflect on the feedback and show him a revision. Amazingly, in the middle of the mentorship I found out I won a major contest for my story collection. The fact that I was already improving some of these stories with Morgan reinforced for me that this was the best decision I'd made in a long time. I would gladly recommend a mentorship with Morgan to anyone who wants to write great stories". -Chaitali Sen, winner of the 2021 Mary McCarthy Prize for Short Fiction
"Working with Morgan is a fantastic experience. He's the kind of editor who helps you do what you want to do, while also helping you do what you need to do. By this I mean he is in total service to helping you get your story the best it can be. It also helps that he has a lot of experience writing and that he's such a nice guy, as this always makes suggested changes seem worthwhile and worth changing." -Rob Burke
“Morgan Talty, in addition to being one of the fiction writers I’ve had the most pleasure working with, is also an exceptionally talented instructor and editor. Rare is the writer who can give others the same wisdom, experience and dignity one brings to one’s own work. Any writer at any stage of development would be fortunate to work with him.” -Rick Bass, winner of the 2016 Story Prize
"I am so glad that I signed up with Morgan for this Mentorship program. His feedback is are detailed, insightful, and constructive. He has sharp eyes for the strengths and weaknesses of a piece, a clear head to point me to the direction of the revision, what to focus on and what not to worry about for now so I don't feel overwhelmed, and a gentle, reassuring manner that I feel that I am in good hands. I highly recommend him." -Ning Sullivan
“You couldn’t wish for a better instructor than Morgan Talty: smart, sensitive, thorough, the right combination of honesty and motivation. He’ll offer insights that will elevate your writing and inspire new ideas. I highly recommend him.” -Aaron Hamburger, author of Nirvana Is Here
"Morgan Talty has opened my eyes to the possibilities of writing. He has a gift for encouraging you to explore your writing abilities and to dig deeper in your work. His myriad of recommendations on writers and select pieces that reflect my voice is priceless. I highly recommend Morgan Talty as your guide in the world of writing." -Edward Bujans
“As a writer who has worked with numerous editors, I was struck by how conscientiously Morgan edited a short story of mine. With a keen eye for detail and an excellent sense of what to include in or leave out of a story, Morgan Talty caught several potentially embarrassing gaffes in a story I went on to publish. He was personable and professional in communications and always respectful delivering feedback. I am grateful for Morgan’s insights and would work with him again without hesitation.” –Alice H.
“Morgan has a unique gift as an editor. I’ve worked with plenty who have the impulse to make revisions based on how they believe a story should look, sound, and feel. Morgan took a refreshingly different approach, making an effort to really grasp the story I was telling and suggesting revisions that were true to my voice and the heart of the work. His edits pulled the piece together and made the language tighter in ways I hadn’t considered, and the piece was so much stronger for it. I would happily trust Morgan with any future writing.” -Jessica K.
"I have absolutely loved working with Morgan. His advice has helped me polish my short stories and given me confidence and motivation to continue writing." -Koleen Green
Application Process: Complete Application Questionnaire. Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive an acceptance notification via email.
Full Tuition for the 6-month program is $2,400. Accepted writers must commit to the full six months and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
Tuition is $2,400
Program Starts September 27th, 2021
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 Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. He received his BA in Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and his MFA in fiction from Stonecoast’s low-residency program. Named one of Narrative’s “30 Below 30,” his story collection Night of the Living Rez is forthcoming from Tin House Books (2022). His work was cited as Distinguished in Best American Short Stories 2020 & 2021 and has appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. A current Lit Event Fellow for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance as well as a recent recipient of a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Talty is a writing consultant and a college instructor who teaches courses in both English and Native American Studies. He lives in Levant, Maine.