Writers in Progress Manuscript Intensive Series, with Dori Ostermiller

“Dori and my fellow manuscript members provided a welcoming and environment to become a more skillful storyteller. Through the support, guidance, and structure of this remarkable group, I completed a first draft of my manuscript! Thank you Studio 359!”
Cristian Escalona, 2017
“I never would have completed my manuscript without the structure of this group and Dori’s loving guidance. She holds an incredibly safe, nurturing yet critically honest space for creativity and the pages to emerge. It’s impossible to measure the value of this program!”
Carla Savetsky, 2018
“Signing up for the manuscript intensive workshop was one of the best decisions of my life. …It offered the structure, direction and support I needed to finish my memoir. A remarkable opportunity for anyone engaged in writing a book.” author of Headstrong
JoAnne Jones, 2016, author of Headstrong

Application Deadline, December 1st, 2023!

Writing a book in isolation can feel like climbing Mt. Everest with no oxygen and no guide.  In order to support and guide writers through this daunting task, we offer the Manuscript Intensive Series, an intensive, year-long program for writers with prose manuscripts in progress that call for critical response and new writing.  Writers can be working on novels, short story collections, memoirs or essay collections.  This group will provide the structure, support, inspiration and critical feedback to help writers complete a book-length manuscript.

Program Guidelines:  Participants are writers who have made some headway in a writing project (at least 50 draft pages), and are seeking support, structure and editorial guidance in order to complete it.  Writers agree to meet the deadlines for manuscript submission, to read and critique in advance the manuscripts of other group members, and to discuss them at the Friday evening/Saturday intensives.

The basic structure of the group includes seven deadlines with extensive feedback, five Friday evening/Saturday craft and critique intensives and two email deadlines.  The critique intensives will run every five-six weeks or so, on a Friday night (6:00 – 9:00) and the following Saturday (9:30 – 4:00) (See dates below) either online or hybrid, in our lovely studio at the historic Arts & Industry Building, 221 Pine Street, Florence, MA.  We hybrid technology at the studio, so long-distance applicants are welcome and can attend via Zoom.  

Admission to the group also includes three private conferences with Dori.  These conferences serve to help writers envision the overall shape of their manuscripts, address specific challenges and provide individualized support for issues of craft, process or time management, as needed.   

Manuscript group members are given the opportunity to use the WIP studio to write together one morning a week, and receive a special 20% discount on any additional WIP workshops and retreats during the year.  Additionally, manuscript group members receive a special discount on editing/consulting services with Dori for a full year after the group’s culmination.

Unlike other area groups, this manuscript series is limited to just 6 writers, who will make a commitment for the full year.  Participants will receive the invaluable benefit of having all group members, and the leader, reading and responding to their work in progress. Intensives take place at Writers in Progress studio (and/or online) and include manuscript critiques, writing prompts, take-home exercises, handouts, and discussions on craft and process.  We will also spend some time at the end of the series discussing agents and queries. Saturday intensives at the studio are brown bag, so participants can either bring their own lunches or can dine at one of the many cafés and eateries within walking distance of the studio.

Manuscript submissions for each intensive include up to 43 pages of double-spaced prose (up to 301 pages total for the year) and are sent to all group members 2 weeks ahead of each scheduled intensive.  Members are responsible for getting their manuscripts to all participants by the dates indicated on the calendar and attending all intensives. The series will culminate with a celebration and public reading (Date TBD).  Accommodations are not included, but Dori will be happy to help locate nearby lodging for Friday night/Saturday intensives.

This is amazing and deep work that gets books written! Dozens of finished manuscripts have emerged from this process, and many have gone on to publication, including Dinah Mack’s Pirates of Cologne, Dusty Miller’s Alice Ott Mystery Series, Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill, JoAnne Jones’s Headstrong, Steve Bernstein’s Stories from the Stoop, Megan Tady’s Superbloom, and Dori’s Outside the Ordinary World, among others.

Cost: $3,500. includes all tuition and materials (handouts, over 50 hours of instruction, writing exercises and prompts, many pages of detailed professional critique on installments, individual consultations, publishing advice, studio time and light refreshments during in-person intensives).  A $500 deposit is due at the time of registration.  While you are obligated to pay the entire tuition if you are accepted into the program, you may arrange to pay the tuition in installments to fit your needs.  Apply Now – spots are competitive and space is limited! 

Write a 1 page letter to Dori, describing your project, your progress to date, your short and long term goals, and why you believe the Manuscript Series is a good fit for you.  Send the letter, along with 10 -15 pages of your manuscript, by mail or email, before December 1st to:

Dori Ostermiller
Writers in Progress
c/o 17 Norwood Ave.
Florence, MA 01062

When applying, please mail your deposit as well.  If you are accepted, the deposit is non-refundable.  If you are not accepted, it will be refunded in full.

Manuscript Intensive 2024/25 Calendar

Application Deadline – December 1, 2023

Applicants will be notified by Jan 1, 2024

Feb 24 –  1st Manuscript Group Deadline

March 8/9  – Manuscript Intensive

April 27  –   2nd Manuscript Group Deadline

May 10/11 –  Manuscript Intensive

June 29 –   3rd Manuscript Group Deadline

July 13   –  email feedback due

Aug 24, 2024  –  4th Manuscript Group Deadline

Sept 6/7  –  Manuscript Intensive

Oct 19   –  5th Manuscript Group Deadline

Nov 1/2   –  Manuscript Intensive

Dec 14   –  6th Manuscript Deadline

Jan 5  –  email feedback due

Feb 22  –  Final Manuscript Deadline

March 7/8 – Final Manuscript Intensive

Manuscript Intensive 2022/23 Calendar

Application Deadline – June 15, 2022

Applicants will be notified by July 1, 2022

Sept 10 –  1st Manuscript Group Deadline

Sept 23/24 – Manuscript Intensive

Nov  5 –   2nd Manuscript Group Deadline

Nov 18/19 –  Manuscript Intensive

Jan 14, 2023 –   3rd Manuscript Group Deadline

Jan 28  –  email feedback due

March 11, 2023 –  4th Manuscript Group Deadline

March 24/25  –  Manuscript Intensive

May 6, 2023  –  5th Manuscript Group Deadline

May 19/20  –  Manuscript Intensive

July 8, 2023  –  Manuscript Group Deadline

July 22  –  email feedback due

Sept 9  –  Final Manuscript Group Deadline

Sept 22/23 – Final Manuscript Intensive