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Athabasca University

Athabasca Writer in Residence Guidelines & Expectations

Submissions for critique are limited to one per person. A brief introduction describing your previous writing experience, your future writing goals, and the type of feedback you are seeking will be very helpful.

I will be reading your work carefully, and I expect submissions to reflect the same care in terms of spelling, grammar, punctuation and attention to sentence structure. My ultimate goal in writing is to communicate powerfully and efficiently about things that matter, and this is what I look for in the writing of others. This doesn’t mean the writing can’t be funny or playful or dreamy or beautiful, it means the writing (and the writer) should have a clear objective. To this end, I am hoping to see writing from anyone who cares about the craft and who is trying to improve. I will do my best to meet you where you are, regardless of your level of experience or expertise.

Some questions to ask yourself as you write, and before you submit:

  • What am I trying to say?
  • Who am I trying to say it to?
  • With what feeling, information, or experience am I hoping to leave my readers?
  • Is this the best way, or the only way, to accomplish what I’ve set out to do? (Experiment!)
  • If you are submitting dialogue, I strongly recommend reading it aloud to yourself or a friend, paying close attention to how it sounds to hear if it rings true. This is a helpful practice for all kinds of writing.

Submissions should be no more than 2,000 words, double-spaced, paginated, in 12-point font, sent as a Word document. Please email them as an attachment, along with your introductory note, to: jvaillant@aol.com. The subject heading should include your name followed by “Athabasca”.

Feedback will be given using the Track Changes function in Word, and/or in an email note.

I will respond as quickly as possible, contingent upon the volume of submissions and my work schedule.

**Please note that all communications between the Writer-in-Residence and the author are private and may not be used in any other contexts such as query letters or social media.**

I look forward to hearing from you!

Updated October 18 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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