Thursday, February 14, 2008

FAQ - What is Misque worth?

A lot of people are interested in attending Misque but want to know it's worth the investment of their time and money. As writers, we don't necessarily have a lot of funds to spare -- or time either. What is Misque worth?

If you come to Misque, your entire manuscript will be read and critiqued by one of us. Normally, this service alone costs between $0.04 and $0.08 per word -- that means $4,000 - $8,000 for a 100,000 word manuscript. Plus, even if you pay to have your manuscript professionally copy edited, you don't usually have the chance to sit down in person with the editor and ask for more feedback on how to trim or add words, save a weak section or vamp up a slow beginning. At Misque, you can.

In addition to the professional critique, you will also find excellent critique partners in the other Misque participants. You will work in small groups on the crucial parts of your manuscripts -- the opening chapters, the difficult scenes you're worried don't work, the endings. And you'll find you learn as much from helping others strengthen their weak scenes as you do working on your own manuscript.

Misque is held in a luxurious environment -- a 5 star resort hotel, on the beach, with gorgeous swimming pools, a gym, internet, and access to snorkeling, sailing, and fine dining. Why? Well, we could have held Misque in a drafty basement in Chicago, but we're can't stand the cold!

Seriously, most of the time, you are so distracted by the day-to-day hassles of your regular life, you probably find it hard to devote as much time as you'd like to writing. No doubt you have a day job, and maybe you're also trying to care for a family. Normally, everything else comes between you and your writing.

Not at Misque. For one glorious week, you have a chance to put your writing first. No distractions. No excuses. Delicious meals are delivered to you as you work. At some writer's conferences, you have to worry about booking your own hotel, and if the main hotel is full, you have worry about commuting to and from the conference. At Misque, we didn't want our participants to have that hassle, so your room, like your working meals, are all included. I admit, we stole this idea from cruise ships. I went on a cruise to Alaska once, and one of the great things about it was the yummy buffets.

Think of Misque like a cruise -- without the seasickness. A week long excursion in a beautiful, exotic location, but in this case, with a creative focus. An excursion for your imagination, if you will.

Our goal is to help you ready the draft of your novel to be sent out to a publisher the day after you leave.

We start working with you the day you sign up. By then, one of us will already have read your application submission, chapter one of your manuscript, to make sure you can benefit from Misque. (Although we would love to accept everyone who applies, some people need more help, for instance with English grammar, than we can provide in one week.) Now you will email us the rest of your manuscript, which will be read and critiqued. The comments will be emailed back to you before the retreat begins, and you will also have a chance to discuss it at the retreat.

At the retreat itself, we split our time between intensive, small group work focused on examining "problem sections" of your manuscript and time spent on crafting a synopsis, query letter and one line description of your novel. We'll go over agents, editors and publishers, and tailor a list to fit your book's genre and word length. We'll discuss the latest deals in the publishing world, what you can expect to be offered in an advance and royalties and how to go from writing as a hobby to writing as a career.

Be warned. Our schedule is not for slackers. Expect to work about 10 hours each day! We usually have a morning session and an evening session, so you can take a nap or a swim or a walk along the beach in the afternoon. So it's not too brutal. It is, however, very exhilarating.

By the time the week is over, you should have a good idea of whether your manuscript is ready to send out, and if it is, to whom to send it. You'll have names and contact information. I'll be honest with you, and warn you now that a few of you will conclude by the week's end that your manuscript needs a little more work before you send it out -- but you'll have a much better idea of the weak spots, how to fix them, and, hopefully, the fire in your belly to do it!

Oh, and, this year we have one other goody to offer our participants -- professional head-shots! A professional photographer will be taking head-shots of each participant who wishes to have them, and we hope you'll all take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. We want to see those pictures in the "About the Author" section of the inside flap of your published book one day.

If you have any questions, or think you would like to apply, email the Misque co-ordinator at

For scheduling information and specific submission guidelines, check out the website:

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