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How the Fiction Program Works

Students need an approach that enables them to consistently write high-quality projects on deadline & maintain a successful career. That’s why we’re rethinking the way professional skills are taught.

Not A “One-Size-Fits-All” Teaching Style

The Conservatory is more like an intensive apprenticeship program than a traditional college format. While books and lectures are helpful, we believe the most effective way to learn a skill is to get personal coaching & feedback from professionals who know what they’re doing. That’s why, while we do have books and lectures for students to go through, most of students’ learning will come through sitting down (virtually) one-on-one with professionals.

This also means that we structure our program around goals, not courses. Our goal is to help students achieve practical, tangible outcomes each year of the program in both of our tracks, and to give them the personal coaching they need to meet those expectations.

Our Curriculum

THE WRITING TRACK

Graduation Objectives

Our goal is for graduating students to have mastered the fundamentals of storycraft, drafted 2-4 full-length novels, launched a short story in an exclusive Conservatory anthology, worked with professional editors, learned to meet publishing-level deadlines, and gained the experience needed to pitch agents & publishers.

Year One Objectives

By the end of Year One, students will be able to:

  • Develop a high-concept story premise.
  • Craft a compelling story synopsis.
  • Outline a full-length novel using the Three-Act Story Structure.
  • Build compelling and memorable characters that stick with readers long after they finish.
  • Possess a deep understanding of pacing and building narrative stakes.
  • Learn how to reverse outline their novel to hone in on the problems.
  • Draft a 50K – 100K word novel from a comprehensive outline.
  • Receive and incorporate professional critique on their projects.
Year Two Objectives

By the end of Year Two, students will be able to:

  • Know how to do a comprehensive content and line edit on their novel, as well as receive and incorporate feedback from professionals.
  • Develop their unique writing voice and style.
  • Give and receive effective peer feedback with other writers.
  • Craft and polish a moving short story that they’ll publish in Year Three in one of our exclusive Author Conservatory anthologies.
    Year Three Objectives

    By the end of Year Three, students will be able to:

    • Have a professional query to pitch to agents and publishers that will stand out from the crowd.
    • Write a killer book proposal and practice pitching to agents.
    • Understand the ins-and-outs of working with an agent, editor, and publisher.
    • Navigate book contracts and learn the key elements of a fair deal.

    “I’ve seen my storytelling skills begin to sharpen, and myself beginning to become the writer I’ve always known I could be. My stories are starting to take shape, in all the complexity and depth that I always wanted but could never find.”

    James Noller

    THE BUSINESS TRACK

    Graduation Objectives

    Our goal is for graduating students to have put together a full financial strategy to support themselves as they write, and to already have a business they grew during their time in the program that they can use as a part of that strategy.

    Year One Objectives

    By the end of Year One, students will be able to:

    • Understand the value of entrepreneurship within the author business model and develop a solid career strategy.
    • Brainstorm viable business ideas, pick the right pricing strategy, and develop compelling key distinctions and an elevator pitch.
    • Perform professional market research and confirm market-demand for a product/service before launching a business.
    • Start a pop up business and actually get paid for their products and services.
    • Develop a marketing strategy and generate positive customer reviews/testimonials.
    Year Two Objectives

    By the end of Year Two, students will be able to:

    • Grow their pop-up business, implement good practices and manage both their money and customers with ease.
    • Implement a scalable marketing system that will double their business income from Year One.
    • Translate their business skills to book marketing skills and start building their author platform.
    • Learn the networking skills they’ll need for their writing career.
    Year Three Objectives

    By the end of Year Three, students will be able to:

    • Create and implement a high-level marketing plan as part of their Author Conservatory Anthology launch.
    • Understand key business models that can support a long term writing career.
    • Double, triple, even quadruple the revenue each book produces.
    • Build out low and high ticket offers and services to compliment their author business.
    • Implement nonfiction strategies to grow their author platform exponentially.
    • Grow their business into a full time income and take on a team to free up their time.
    • Build a kingdom business through generosity and a heart-centered vision.

    I made enough money from my cleaning business to allow me to take the time I need to get a book ready to publish. Without your coaching, I would have given up a long time ago, probably after the first rejection. I truly can’t believe this is the life I’m living!”

    Juliet Artman

    The Average Week

    If we don’t structure the Conservatory like a traditional college program, what does the average week look like?

    Each week’s schedule will depend on how much time students can invest in the program and what specific goals they’re working on, but the list on the right describes what they can generally expect.

    Students are expected to spend at least 15 hours a week on the program & their personal writing. However, the more time students invest in the program, the more we can help them hone their skills and set them up for future success.

    First, you’ll watch a pre-recorded training to learn how to accomplish the action steps you’re on.

    You’ll then spend some time working on your corresponding writing step (we recommend students spend at least 10 hours a week on their personal writing.)

    …and some time working on your latest stage in the business track (time commitment depends on a student’s financial goals).

    Then, after you’ve worked on these steps solo, you’ll bring your work to our writing and business coaches to get their professional feedback on your work.

    You’ll also be able to attend Office Hours calls to get additional coaching and support on your work from one of our own instructors, or from outside experts we bring in!

    Finally, you’ll spend some time engaging with the other students in the program, building lifelong friendships, and sharpening each other as storytellers.

    Peruse Our Full Curriculum

    Download our syllabus for more details on what we teach.