Fiction Workshops

July 11 – 17 , 2021 in the Virtual Valley

The summer Fiction workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. This session in July offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences. The daily workshops are led by staff writer-teachers. Six separate morning workshops sections will meet daily.  In addition to the workshop, participants may have the same manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in individual conferences. Travel, self-help, how-to, or scholarly works will not be considered.

This program is directed by Lisa D. Alvarez and Louis B. Jones.

This year the Community of Writers will meet again in the “Virtual Valley” (not in-person) for an intensive six-day online gathering of our community, due to the COVID-19. We are delighted to offer this opportunity to participants during this difficult time. This year, the Fiction Workshop will admit just 60 participants, and will offer a full week for reduced tuition Fees. Financial aid available.

We will endeavor to create again a workshop week with the same intensity, intimacy, and productivity as our usual week in the Valley. Please note that time will be an issue in the virtual valley. The workshop sessions will meet at 8:30 am for writers on the West Coast and at 11:30 am for those on the East Coast. Before you decide whether to proceed, you would have to plan for it and make a schedule that frees up hours in which to be reading manuscripts, preparing critiques, and attending our online sessions.

For participants, carving out a full week’s space and time at home for this experience will be essential. Time to write, time to gather for craft talks, individual conferences, staff readings, and small group social hours — all online.

This workshop is for Fiction only. Nonfiction and memoir writers, please see our 2021 Nonfiction & Memoir Workshop page.

A Message to our Community About our Community.

Although we will miss gathering physically together this summer, we’re excited that the breadth of online options might allow us to come together year-round in ways that are otherwise impossible to imagine. In addition to our summer workshops, we’ve been hard at work putting together online offerings that allow isolated writers to come together in all seasons for learning, camaraderie, and inspiration.

Special Guests

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Fiction Workshops Teaching Staff


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Literary Agents & Editors

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Important Details

  • 60 writers attend through Zoom
  • Participants’ manuscripts are critiqued in daily morning workshops
  • Afternoon & evening craft talks, panels on craft, staff readings, panel discussions on editing & publishing
  • Individual one-on-one conferences
  • Readings by prominent staff writers and special guests
  • Open Workshop led by Sands Hall
  • Festival Day with additional craft talks, panels, as well as staff readings. This event will feature an event with two leading creative lights Anna Deavere Smith & Amy Tan.

Tuition is discounted to $880, which includes our Festival Day. See Fees & Deadlines, below. Financial aid is available. Admissions are based on submitted manuscripts.

Dates: July 11 – 17 (July 17 is Festival Day)
Registration/Opening Meeting Sunday, July 11, 2021
Workshops 8:30 am – 11:30 am (Pacific) M – F
Individual Conferences 20 minutes. Wednesday afternoon.
Craft Discussions M-T-T-F at 3:30 – 4:30 pm PST
Gatherings M-T-T-F at 5:00 pm PST
Staff Readings M-T-T at 6:30 pm PST
Festival Day  Saturday, July 17 9 am – 9 pm (Pacific)
Hours of Instruction/Discussion 28.5 plus 6-8 hours on Festival Day

Application Deadline: April 1, 2021
The Application Form link is at the bottom of the page. Please make sure to read all the information here before applying.

We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated.

Daily Schedule

Morning workshops meet daily from 8:30-11:30 am (Pacific) starting on Monday. Each workshop consists of 10 participants and has a different workshop leader each day. In each session, the group discusses two participant manuscripts. During the course of the week, one manuscript by each participant is critiqued.  Our directors will assign each participant to the most appropriate staff workshop leader.

To avert online fatigue, our afternoon and evening schedules are lighter than our in-person workshop.  Participants may attend lectures, panel discussions, staff readings, and other presentations. Participants need to set aside time for the reading and evaluation of workshop manuscripts.

Individual Conferences

Each participant is assigned a brief one-on-one conference with a staff member appropriate to his or her manuscript. These conferences are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the participant and the assigned staff member and usually run no longer than twenty minutes. In most cases, the manuscript to be discussed will be the one submitted with the application.

Open Workshop
A special afternoon workshop led by Sands Hall

Several afternoons during the week, Sands Hall leads the optional Open Workshop, which provides another opportunity for participants to share their writing with their conference peers. Work is read aloud and discussed in a spontaneous and productive format. No additional fee.

Fees & Deadlines

Program DatesJuly 11-17, 2021
Deadline to ApplyApril 1, 2021
(before midnight PST)
Application Fee$40
Acceptance NotificationOn or before May 10, 2021
Deposit - NonrefundableA deposit of $440 will be due upon acceptance. (Awards of financial aid may reduce this amount.)
Deposit DeadlineMay 20, 2021
Registration/First Day of ConferenceSunday, July 11, 2021
ReturneesNormal rules for returnees are suspended for these online workshops.
Financial Aid & ScholarshipsView Financial Aid Information
Application FormWriters Workshops Application Form

Application Guidelines

  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: before midnight PST, April 1, 2021
  • Applicants, including past participants, should submit a sample of their best, unpublished prose.
  • Writing sample submission manuscript may consist of a story (or stories), essay(s) or chapter(s). Book chapters must include a one-page synopsis of the whole book. (Add to the end of ms.) 
  • If you have previously applied to our workshop, please do not apply or bring for consideration the exact same material. You may use previously submitted material that has been revised.
  • Please do not submit previously published material (print or online). It is acceptable, however, to send work currently under submission.
  • Submission ms. must be typed, double-spaced and 12 pt. On the first page of the manuscript, applicants must provide the following:
    • Top left side of page: Indicate application program (Fiction), and indicate what you are submitting (novel chapter(s), or story or stories.)
    • Top center of page: Word count for submitted manuscript. (Submission ms., excluding synopsis, must be less than 5,000 words.)
    • Top right side of page: Your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page. (Please use your actual name, not the name you write under.)
  • Attach a digital file (Word.doc or PDF) of your submission ms. to the online application form. Digital files will be deleted after workshops.
  • Those who require financial aid to attend should request it in the application form. Please see our Financial Aid page for more information.
  • A $40 reading fee will be due with submission.
    • Pay online with a credit card or PayPal. (Online payments subject to a 3.25% service fee.)
    • Or pay with a check payable to Community of Writers.

Mail to: Community of Writers – Fiction
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

  • Once you complete the online form, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • Notification of acceptance by May 10, 2021
  • Please note: Once you have submitted your application online, you will immediately receive an email confirmation. If you don’t get that confirmation, we didn’t receive your application. If that is the case, contact us immediately.
Apply Now

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