Signed, Sealed, Delivered:
Secrets of the Final Draft
The final stages of writing a manuscript are wildly exciting – but also quite bewildering. That moment when you know something is off, but you’re not sure how to fix it, how to complete and how to let go.
Now that you’ve reached the final steps of getting your work published, the way ahead seems unclear.
You’re not alone.
This unique, one-off masterclass series gives you access to the insider knowledge on restructuring, editing, refining, polishing and pitching your
work to make it the best it can possibly be.
Over seven lively weeks, industry leaders will share the secrets of delivering the final draft.
Here's how it works:
Beginning on Tuesday October 31st, you will meet online for with Dr Kathryn Heyman and guests for a two-hour masterclass with an intimate group of 8 – 10 writers, culminating in an exciting pitch session and Q&A with a leading literary agent. Each masterclass runs from 10am - 12 midday Sydney/Melbourne time.
31st October – Structural secrets
We begin by looking at the process of ‘the big rewrite’. Where are you now with your project? We’ll check in with the specific structural problems and then acclaimed author and mentor Dr Kathryn Heyman will guide you in specific actions and solutions to solve your structural problems.
7th November – Transformational Secrets (with Ross Grayson Bell, producer of cult film Fight Club)
When producer Ross Grayson Bell pulled the novel, Fight Club out of the slush pile all those years ago, he restructured the story to create a narrative which led to that film becoming a cult hit which helped launch Brad Pitt’s career. Since then, Ross has worked with scores of memoirists and novelists to create the perfect structure for their stories. In this inspirational session, Ross will walk you through the questions you need to ask of your characters and your story in order to create the greatest possible transformational arc.
14th November– Character secrets
How do you create the edit which ensures that your characters do the work, that your balance of scenes and summary is working? How do you know if your pacing is right? At the end of this session you’ll have the tools to ensure your voice is singing on the page.
21st November - Publishing secrets (with Robert Watkins, Publishing Director at Ultimo Press)
What kind of edit do you need before you get your manuscript to a publisher? What work will the publisher do? How can you maximise your chances of getting a publisher to take your manuscript on? And what can you learn from the publisher’s editing process? Robert Watkins, Publishing Director for Ultimo Press, has published many of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary novelists, including Miles Franklin and Stella Prize-winners. In this exciting session, Robert will check in with you on your project, and give you insider knowledge on what to do next to make sure that your voice is getting through.
28th November – Editing secrets (with Ian See, Senior Editor at UQP)
Now we come to the scene-by-scene, page-by-page. We’ll share the skills for completing the fine edit. Drilling down into grammar, clarifying the language, checking the imagery and ensuring that every word is working to make your manuscript the best version of itself. Ian See is one of Australia’s most respected editors – he’s been a senior editor with Scribe, Text, and UQP. In this session, Ian will help you see exactly what you need to do to bring magic to each page, paragraph and line.
5th December – Presentation secrets
In the final stage of the final draft, there is still so much to consider. The synopsis, the strapline, the pitch email. The way the work looks on the page. The formatting. No fear – we’ll take the time this week to make sure everything is supporting the work. And then, crucially, how work on how to talk about your work whether it’s in pitch session or a tentative first meeting.
12th December – Pitching secrets (with Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Literary)
Literary agent Alex Adsett has worked in the publishing world in Australia and the UK for more than twenty years. Her client list includes Miles Franklin winner Melissa Lucashenko, bestselling commercial novelists Josephine Moon, internationally renowned speculative fiction writer Isabelle Carmody, and renowned philosopher Damon Young. In this very special final session, you will have the opportunity to talk to Alex about your work, to pitch to her and receive clear feedback in a warm and enthusiastic space.
Dr Kathryn Heyman is the award-winning author of six novels and the acclaimed memoir, Fury, now in development as a feature film. She's also written many radio plays for the BBC and for stage in Australia and the UK. Kathryn taught creative writing for the University of Oxford and was the Writing Fellow for the University of Glasgow and Royal Literary Writing Fellow for Westminster College, Oxford. Kathryn is the director of the Australian Writers Mentoring Program and has coached many writers from idea to publication.
“Kathryn Heyman is a revelatory teacher. I love her directness, her honesty, her clarity and her humour. There is always laughter, sometimes an epiphany — literally I feel like I’ve heard the slud and slide of pieces/words/stories falling into place. She is brilliant, and each time I have gone away with the confidence to know what to do.” - Miranda Doyle, A Book of Untruths (Faber)
Ross Grayson Bell
Ross Grayson Bell is a screenwriter, producer and story consultant with over twenty-five years of international experience in story development. Having worked his way up from a creative executive for legendary Hollywood producer Ray Stark, Ross developed and produced Fight Club for Twentieth Century Fox. He created his own production company in 1993 and formed producing partnerships with Winona Ryder, Jamie Foxx and Lawrence Bender. Ross was Head of Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where he guided five students to Australian Writers’ Guild Award nominations for the TV pilots they developed as part of their course work. He has been the Senior Judge of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and serves as an external script assessor for Screen Australia, and lectures on story internationally.
Publishing Director of Ultimo Press, Robert Watkins, has over 25 years experience in the Australian book industry having worked in book retail, sales, marketing, publicity, and publishing. His love for a good story well told has led to publishing some of Australia's most acclaimed contemporary authors including Shankari Chandran, Diana Reid, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Claire G. Coleman, Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Sulari Gentill, Victoria Hannan, Sarah Schmidt and Peter Polites, to name just a few. His particular passion is progressive, inclusive publishing that speaks to contemporary issues, whether that be in narrative non-fiction or literary and reading group fiction.
Ian See has worked in publishing for fifteen years. He has been a senior editor at Scribe Publications and Text, taught in RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course and was the Saturday Paper’s production editor. He is now a senior and commissioning editor for the University of Queensland Press.
Alex Adsett is a literary agent and publishing consultant, who has been working in the publishing and bookselling industry for almost twenty-five years. She has managed Alex Adsett Literary since 2008. She is proud to represent an outstanding stable of authors, including Melissa Lucashenko, Isobelle Carmody, Hugh Breakey, Ruby Hamad, and Sasha Wasley.
As a consultant, Alex provides commercial and strategic advice to authors and independent publishers, particularly regarding publishing contracts. She has worked with many independent publishers and thousands of authors including Mirandi Riwoe, Sarah Malik, Graeme Simsion, Barry Humphries, and Kylie Chan. She regularly delivers seminars on copyright and publishing contracts around Australia and has served on various NFP literary boards including Small Press Network and Queensland Writers Centre.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Secrets of the Final Draft
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