FAQs

What is the Adventure Writing Academy?

The Adventure Writing Academy is an online creative writing program that utilizes the Story Workshop Method to help students find their voice and improve their writing. Writer and teacher Maggie Ritchie, along with freelance writer Keith Ryan Kappel jointly developed the curriculum by taking the very successful Story Workshop Method of writing instruction developed by John Schultz and Betty Shifflett, and applying it to developing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Tabletop Role Playing Game material. We offer a mandatory beginner’s course, and have a growing number of specialty program tracks available upon completion.

What is the Story Workshop Method?

John Schultz developed the Story Workshop Method in 1965 as a response to the more traditional “trade and grade” system of writing instruction known as the “Iowa Method”. Instead of giving three classmates a red pen to point out areas of your work they deem “bad”, the Story Workshop Method does the opposite, focusing areas of strong writing and voice through a practice known as recall. It also helps writers find their voice through a number of exercises that teach students to connect their oral communication skills with their writing, building a bridge that allows for rapid growth in the strength of student work. Finally, the Story Workshop Method breaks downs writing into several “forms”, which are sort of like tools or bricks, which writers can use to build a story.

What are the Classes Like?

A single class meets once a month for four hours, and takes place over the internet via Skype. During class, students engage in a variety of activities, and can expect to write, read aloud, discuss pieces read aloud, play word games, and perform other pre-writing visualization exercises. It may not be what you are used to, but students who trust in the process and program see major leaps in the strength of their writing. Class sizes are capped at ten students, and each student is expected to attend and participate in discussions and classroom activities. Each class meeting also features an industry insider guest student to participate in the day’s activities. After the course ends, the guest will be available for a brief time to answer questions related to the business of writing.

Who are the Guest Students?

Guest Students are individuals with professional writing or editing experience in the real publishing world. They might have sold a few short stories, published a few novels, or work as an editor with other writers. Students get a valuable opportunity to network with these guest students over the course of the four hour class, and get unique access to their insight regarding how the writing industry works right now. They can tell you, because they’re working as writers or editors today.

Is There Homework?

Yes. Completing assigned work is vital to getting the most out of the program. Students are assigned a number of readings between class meetings, which are necessary to participate in class discussion. There is also an expectation of writing fiction and tabletop game content, as well as some journaling. Most classes end with students creating a significant chunk of new writing, and generally, they are expected to expand on that piece and revise it over the course of the month between sessions.

Are There Grades?

Sort of. Yes, we will give you grades. We are not accredited, so they don’t mean much outside of this program. But you must complete 67% of the work in order to move on to specialty courses. However, you may repeat the course for free until you pass. Enrollment in more advanced courses may be withheld until work is completed.

Who Teaches the Class?

To learn about our teachers, administrators, guest students, and guest lecturers, visit our Staff Page.

What Other Benefits Are There?

In addition to developing stronger writing at a fraction of the cost of a college creative writing degree, students are able to network with each other and numerous industry insiders visiting as guest students. This sort of networking is invaluable to learning of paid writing opportunities in the future. Further, we email a variety of writing opportunities within the Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and RPG publishing world to both current students and alumni on a regular basis.

How Much Does It Cost?

Full enrollment in the Adventure Writing Academy costs $1,188 USD, made in twelve monthly payments of $99 USD. Alternately, students can pay for the entire year up front, for only $1,099 USD. Eleven payments cover the actual class sessions, while the twelfth pays for student books and technology. While not accredited, the Adventure Writing Academy costs a fraction of an equivalent creative writing course or program at a university, and while not guaranteed, provides a clear path toward becoming a published writer. Students who enroll are making a commitment to attending and paying for an entire year.

What is your refund policy?

We like to keep our class sizes small so that students can get a high degree of personal attention. Because of these registration limits, we are forced to take a hard stance on refunds. Partial refunds for dropping out of a class is an available option within 60 days of the first session, should you decide AWA is just not a good fit for you, or something unforeseen occurs with your schedule. You will still be charged 99 dollars per session held prior to dropping. Beyond 60 days, there are no refunds. In the event of some kind of emergency, AWA will consider a request to refund beyond 60 days on a case by case basis.

What Do I Need to Start?

Students need a computer and webcam/headset mic capable of working with Skype. Students will need a notebook to write in, along with pens or pencils, and their textbooks (textbooks provided and shipped by the school). Perhaps the most important thing to bring to class is an open attitude, imagination, and your participation.

When Do Classes Start?

Classes begin in September and October for our year-long programs, though other specialized courses smaller in scope may begin at different times of the year. You can find the full dates for each section of each class on our enrollment page.

Where Do Classes Meet?

Adventure Writing Academy uses Skype to create a virtual classroom. You can download Skype here.

What dates are classes?

Visit the Enroll Now page to see when classes meet.

What if I can’t make it to class?

Dates for the entire year are given in advance. We expect students to make it to class on time. However, if you know in advance that you can’t attend a specific date, and you’re in a course that has multiple sections, it may be possible to attend the session in a different section. Email your instructor at least a month in advance if this is the case to make arrangements. Emergencies will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Ultimately, if three or more of the ten classroom sessions are missed, AWA will not feel confident allowing a student to enroll in more advanced courses in the program until missed sessions are made up.

What if I don’t do the homework?

The assigned readings, writing demands, and journaling demands are an important part of the AWA program. If you don’t do the work, you will be unable to fully participate in class. At a certain threshold, incomplete homework may result in AWA barring a student from enrolling in more advanced courses in the program until missed work is completed.

What is the Harassment and/or Bullying Policy?

We want everyone to feel safe, included, and supported at AWA, and create a pleasant learning environment. We do not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying. This includes in-class activities as well as documented correspondence between students, or students and teachers. You can read our full policy here.