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CLASS LIMIT: 24 students
APPLICATION PERIOD: January 1 – June 15, 2017.
Viable Paradise is a workshop designed to bring your writing to the next level. To provide the most value, we limit each year’s class to only 24 students. Our goal is for every class year to provide a mix of instructors, students, manuscripts, styles, strengths, and weaknesses to provide the biggest impact for your craft. Obviously, we receive far more quality applications than we can possibly accept – therefore, our staff and faculty carefully review each application both in terms of its content and its fit with the rest of this year’s applicants.
If you are not accepted this year, please don’t get discouraged! In the past, we have had students who have applied three or four times before being accepted to the workshop.
Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter should describe your background and your reasons for wishing to attend the workshop. Please include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number.
If you are accepted to the workshop, the manuscript you submit will be the manuscript that your instructors and classmates critique. Submit work that you are proud of and that you are prepared to receive constructive criticism about. Your manuscript should not currently be on submission to a professional publisher.
Your manuscript may consist of one or two short stories, a novelette, or a novel portion with a synopsis. The total length of your manuscript, including any synopsis, should be no more than 8,000 words, although it may be shorter if it serves the purpose.
For a novel, submit entire chapters, starting with the first chapter. Count the words in the synopsis, the words in Chapter One, the words in Chapter Two, etc., until you get to the limit of 8,000 words. If you find that the end of a chapter falls just a bit over the word limit, please send us the complete chapter — don’t leave us hanging!
The synopsis is typically between 250 and 750 words. It is a concise present-tense telling of the events in the entire novel, including what happens in the chapters you submit. It shows the general shape of the whole plot, so that the instructors can compare what you want the novel to be with what you’ve put in the chapters. Don’t separate the events in the synopsis into chapters. Don’t use Roman numerals, or points and sub-points.
Your manuscript should follow these formatting instructions:
- Save your electronic manuscript as a .docx (MS Word format) file. Do not use .txt, .wpd, .rtf, .pdf, or anything else – we will not be able to open your file.
- Name your file with your surname followed by a keyword from your story’s title. Dragons Over Detroit by Bugs Bunny might be saved as bunny_dragons.docx. (Calling your submission “submission.docx” is right out.)
- Type your manuscript in a monospaced 12-point serif font, such as Courier.
- Double-space your manuscript, with approximately 1” margins.
- On the first page of each piece of fiction, put your surname/address/email/phone in the upper left corner, and an approximate word count in the upper right corner. The title should be centered about a third of the way down the page, with the byline two lines below the title.
- On each subsequent page, in the upper right corner, put your surname, an identifiable keyword from the title, and the page number.
- Don’t skip lines between paragraphs. Indent the start of each paragraph using your word processor’s ruler.
- If submitting a novel, use one file for all chapters and a separate file for your synopsis. If submitting more than one short story, use a separate file for each story.
The application fee changes based on when in the application period your application is submitted:
- For applications submitted from January 1 to March 31: $25 (USD).
- For applications submitted from April 1 to May 15: $35 (USD).
- For applications submitted from May 16 to June 15: $50 (USD).
The application fee is non-refundable and is separate from the tuition cost for applicants accepted to the workshop.
For those applicants we accept as students, the non-refundable tuition cost is $1300 (USD) and is due on August 1st. The acceptance letter will include instructions about how to submit your tuition payment. At our discretion, acceptances may be revoked if the tuition is not received by August 1st.
Your tuition payment includes the cost of course materials and one communal meal each day of the workshop, Sunday through Friday. We are experienced in accommodating mild food allergies and dietary restrictions — just ask our alumni! — but if your allergies or dietary restrictions are severe, you may need to make your own arrangements. We will ask about your food allergies and dietary restrictions after your acceptance.
Your tuition payment does not include the cost of lodging (see below), travel to and from the island of Martha’s Vineyard, or food for meals other than the one communal meal each day. If you have questions, please contact us.
$170.00 / night + tax
One-story units with a bedroom, a living-room, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. Depending on the particular room, there may be additional sleeping capacities (typically, twin beds in a low-partitioned space adjacent to the living-room, a convertible couch, etc.).
Please ask for specifics when you call to book a room.
$190.00 / night + tax
Two-story units with a master bedroom and half bath (or bath with shower) on the upper floor, and a bedroom, bathroom, living-room, and kitchen on the lower floor. These also vary, so some may not have full kitchens, upstairs showers, etc.
Again, please ask for specifics when you call to book a room.
Students typically make arrangements to share rooms on the VP Student Slack Group.
The phone number for the Island Inn is 1-800-462-0269. Please mention that you will be a student at the Viable Paradise Writers’ Workshop to get these special rates, and to be sure that you are placed in Building G.
If there are any problems let us know; we can help work things out.
In the meantime, we encourage you to sign up for our Application Period Updates for us to email you when the application period opens, or when app fees are about to change, or before the application period closes for the year.