Monday, September 17, 2012

Deb: Why Apprentice?

It might be said – I’m painting with a very broad brush here – that there are two kinds of writers: those who have the utmost confidence in their work and can only scratch their heads over why publishers have yet to  appreciate its awesomeness, and those who believe that their writing can always improve because there is always more to be learned.

If you’re aligned with the first group, you may as well stop reading now – an apprenticeship isn’t for you.

Apprenticeships began with the very earliest skilled trades. In the Renaissance, artists apprenticed with masters in studios. They studied and learned as experienced artists critiqued their work and helped launch their careers. While study is good, the holistic approach of an apprenticeship is invaluable.

The first 49 Writers apprenticeship launched last spring. The idea was to make apprenticeships available at an affordable cost through a selective process to writers throughout the state and beyond. In addition to critiquing a body of work, instructors would coach and mentor their students via email and phone conversations, assisting with particular projects and guiding their apprentices with personalized suggestions for additional readings, areas for further study, publishing opportunities, and career-building strategies.

“For what I paid I got a lot more in return than I expected,” said one of the participants in the Spring 2012 program. “If I had any friends who were budding writers I would highly recommend this apprenticeship."

This fall, you can apply for an apprenticeship in fiction with Martha Amore or in children’s literature with me, Deb Vanasse. Martha is an MFA graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she is also an adjunct instructor. She has published both fiction and nonfiction. As for me – well, if you’ve been reading here awhile you probably know that I’m the co-founder of 49 Writers and a former instructor with the University of Alaska. I’m the author of eleven books, eight of which are for children, including Junior Literary Guild and Battle Books titles. My work in children’s literature has been for all age levels, from pre-readers through young adults.

If you want to apply for a 49 Writers apprenticeship, don’t delay: your writing sample must be emailed by September 30 to 

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