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What’s the difference between an apprenticeship and an MA?

 “The apprenticeship focused on my novel as a whole and included a number of redrafts. The MA gave me a wider exposure to different writing genres and styles but only offered input on short (3000 word) sections of my novel.

 Jennifer Burkinshaw
Apprenticeships in Fiction
ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND

APPRENTICESHIPS – Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Apprenticeships in Fiction and other courses?
Apprenticeships in Fiction is a professional development programme. We will treat you like a serious aspiring writer from the outset, with the high level of expectations this implies. Our primary focus is on a close reading of your manuscript and its component parts. We aim to set out guidelines, to lead by example, to inspire and to mentor you into developing your own inner resources.

Are the Apprenticeships open to non-UK residents?
The sole criteria for application is that you must have completed or almost completed a first draft of a novel. Non-UK residents should however bear in mind that the scheme is aimed at writers who will ultimately be seeking publication within the UK (and related) markets. One-to-ones are also based in the UK. (Though phone and Skype consultations are an option.) Previous apprentices have been based in the US, Germany and Thailand. (Adventures in Fiction’s regular clients include writers living in India, Australia, Singapore, Yemen, France, Spain, Ireland, Finland and Sweden.)

So presumably the scheme is open to writers based in Scotland/Northern Ireland/Wales?
It certainly is. We would positively encourage these writers to apply.

What about Ireland?
Ditto. We have strong links with Ireland and the Irish publishing industry.

Where do the apprenticeships take place?
Most of the time you will be working on your manuscript at home with email contact with your mentor. The format for consultations with mentors is negotiable, depending on where you and your mentor lives – and may take the form of meetings, phone or Skype one-to-ones.

I want to apply in the category for children’s fiction. Please could you offer some guidelines? Do you accept picture books for example?
We accept novels aimed at children and young people from aged nine to teenage. Writers who will most benefit are those working on longer manuscripts. (Over 100 pages or 30,000 words)

We do not accept picture books. (Though writers may submit illustrations to supplement their novel if they wish, the selection will primarily be made on the text.)

Can you advise me on funding possibilities?
We are unable to advise on funding, as the terms and conditions regularly change. We do however provide information about past successes here on the website. Arts Council England awarded grants to Ruth Dugdall in 2009 and David Thorley in 2007. In 2009, Noreen Rees was supported by the SY Killingley Memorial Trust and the Rotary Club of Monkseaton Centenary. In 2008 Jo Reed obtained a grant from the Oppenheimer John-Downes Memorial Trust and Wendy Storer received funding from her local rotary club.

To find out about funding possibilities in your area go to www.guidestar.org.uk.

For information about a Career Development Loan go to: www.lifelonglearning.co.uk

I have only half finished the first draft of my novel. Can I apply?
The scheme is aimed at writers who have already completed (or almost completed) a first draft and would now like some input as they aim towards publication. Why not use next year’s deadline as an incentive to complete your first draft?

Are there any age restrictions?
No, there aren't, though given the level of competition we anticipate that most applicants will be over eighteen. Applicants are selected primarily on the basis of their submitted manuscript.

I have previously applied for an apprenticeship, but was unsuccessful. Does this exclude me from applying again? I have developed my novel since then.
We positively encourage submissions from previous applicants who have continued to improve their work.

What level of time-commitment does the scheme require?
We treat apprentices as aspiring professionals who are prepared to make time to get their work to a publishable standard. As a guideline, you will need to be prepared to redraft your novel more than once.

In our experience writers who benefit most from the scheme are able to commit at least a few days a week to their writing. (Though periods of redrafting may vary throughout the year.) Apprentices always wish they had more time. Basically, the more time you put in, the more you’ll get out of it..

Frequently asked questions for
PROSPECTIVE APPRENTICES

Can you explain the application process?
Once we receive your application we will choose a suitable prospective mentor. In some cases, this may mean taking on a new mentor. There are a number of factors involved here. Even within genre, there are significant variants. If you have a particular mentor in mind, do let us know in your application.

We will then contact you with our recommendation.

Before I confirm my place, can we reach an agreement about the appointment of my mentor?
Yes, once you have provisionally accepted your place we will contact you and explain our choice. You can discuss this with us before final agreement. We will then contact the prospective mentor to check their availability.

Before I confirm my place, can I meet my proposed mentor first? We do not meet clients or apprentices except as part of an ongoing programme. Any meetings we have with you will be informed by an initial reading of your work.

If you have any questions about the scheme, we will be happy to try and answer them.

Before I confirm my place, can I talk to a previous apprentice first?
We offer a range of feedback on the website, including completely independent accounts of the scheme from former apprentices, Andrew Theophilou and Sheila Bugler. See News page.

And finally, how do I secure my place?
Please send a formal acceptance letter along with either the full fee or the first instalment.

Then what happens?
We will send you the full programme, agree a timetable with you and make arrangements for manuscript delivery. Once your mentor has read your full manuscript and made their initial appraisal, they will contact you to arrange the first meeting. This will normally take place about a month after you sign up.

 

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A one-year professional development programme
FAQ