The New York Seminar serves as a culmination of the The Writer's Path at SMU, and as such, carries several prerequisites: five required courses before Revision, a complete original novel, and our selection process. These requirements help our students move from course to course within the program along pre-determined paths that contribute to their success and help them gain specific skills and reach certain benchmarks before moving on to the next level. Following these prerequisites ensures the highest quality and the greatest readiness for the New York Seminar applicants.

New York alum from any year may submit with a NEW book. New York Process alum (who went through the experience, but did not get selected) may enter with a NEW book at the Polish stage. New York Process alum who want to submit the same book must start again with Revision and submit a manuscript.

Novel Track prerequisites change, given the shifts in the industry and the opportunity we see to better prepare you for New York (or other publishing options). Starting with the NY 2019 group they are: Creative Writing Foundation, Story, Plot, Heroic Chapters, Chapters, and Revision — which requires a complete manuscript and approval before class. REVISION deadline is March 18, 2019. This is followed by:

  • Polish, April 2019: Scrutinize and perfect, word by word, line by line, your first 15 pages. 
  • Pro-edit First 15, May 2019: A professional editor will review your proposed first 15, so you can see what the standard is and where you are in relationship to it. 
  • Rewrite/Personalized Accountability groups, June-August 2019: All summer long, managed by the same writing "type" instructor as you are, learn how to rewrite the best, most productive way for YOU.
  • New York Judging: Deadline is August 20, 2019, noon. After completing the prerequisites and perfecting your book, you must be selected by our panel in a double-blind judging, first. They — a published author, an editor, and an avid reader — read the first 15 pages plus synopsis and rate them based on this rubric. Scores rank from 1-4. We calculate the final numbers, take the highest and invite those writers to participate in the NY Seminar

If you started Creative Writing Foundation from 2015 to 2017, these are your prerequisites for NY Seminar.

    • Creative Writing Foundation
    • Story

    • Plot

    • Heroic Chapters

    • Chapters
    • Revision
    • Polish

    • New York Editorial

    • ReWrite

    • Final Polish

  1. Narrative Nonfiction Track

    • Creative Writing Foundation

    • The Proposal

For students who began the program before the fall of 2009, former prerequisites apply (though we suggest the newer, more robust plan):

  1. Novel Track

    • Creative Writing Introduction

    • The Novel: Story

    • The Novel: Plot

    • Novel/Narrative Nonfiction III: Polish

  1. Narrative Nonfiction Track

    • Creative Writing Introduction

    • Narrative Nonfiction I: Ideas & Elements

    • Narrative Nonfiction II: Organize & Implement

    • Novel/Narrative Nonfiction III: Polish