Making Magic: Writing and Refining Fantastical and Otherworldly Stories 2021

April 22 - 25, 2021

Please note: this course is full. Please click here to be placed on our waiting list.

A special workshop with Anna-Marie McLemore and Nova Ren Suma.

Join Us To:

Deepen the magic in your middle grade or young adult novel with this generative writing workshop. Hear in-depth craft lectures from experienced faculty authors. Generate new writing with writing exercises and prompts. Meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals. Have an optional round-table critique of 20 pages from your manuscript.

What You’ll Learn:

Do you write fiction with a magical or fantastical bent? Young adult and middle grade fiction writers are welcome to join two acclaimed authors of otherworldly and magical novels–Anna-Marie McLemore and Nova Ren Suma–for a workshop meant to inspire and deepen the magic in your own stories. The focus will be on exploring craft questions and on offering opportunities and sparks to produce new work. You will have a one-to-one with Anna-Marie or Nova, and an optional roundtable critique of your work if you choose. You will:

  • Hear detailed craft talks from faculty, and special guest Emily X.R. Pan, about writing magical stories.
  • Get inspired by craft discussions and readings.
  • Generate new writing during magical writing exercises and prompts.
  • Participate in Q&As with authors who write fantastical works.
  • Hear editor Elise Howard provide a session on editing magical fiction with time for you to ask marketing and submission questions.
  • Have time to write and retreat according to your own goals.
  • Spend evenings and mealtimes with a magical community.
  • Meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals.
  • Have an optional round-table critique of 20 pages of your manuscript.

Attend If:

  • You write fiction with a magical or fantastical bent. Whether you’re exploring fantasy or magical realism, surrealism or paranormal fiction, or stories that defy labels, this generative writing workshop will help you strengthen your work.
  • You are a pre-published or published middle grade or young adult fiction writer. If your fiction holds magic in any of its numerous forms, writers of any experience level are welcome.
  • You’d like meaningful feedback on your work. You’ll meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals, and have the opportunity to have a round-table critique of 20 pages of your manuscript. You’ll participate in a Q&A with a guest editor, too.
  • You’d like to generate some fresh ideas–or begin working on something new. With craft discussions, readings, writing exercises and prompts, as well as free writing time, you’ll be filled with creative energy!


Our workshops typically include faculty presentations, hands-on exercises, specialty topic sessions, some level of feedback, and retreat time for working on your own projects. Although we don’t have a finished agenda for this course yet, see a sample agenda here to get an idea of what to expect.


On Writing the Dark and Twisted
5 Ways to Reclaim Your Creative Joy
Step Away From Your Manuscript & Shake Things Up With Writers’ Bingo
Breaking Through Those Creative Blocks
Write What Scares You
Without a Great Villain, There Are No Great Heroes
8 Articles to Help You Write a Kidlit Novel
Faculty Interview: Julie Dao and Anna-Marie McLemore


“Anna-Marie McLemore (my mentor) is the best writing mentor I’ve ever had. She understood the vision for my book and made it clear she wanted to help me move forward in the writing and publishing process.”

“Working with Nova is a gift. Her insight (always gently given) is so clear, encouraging, and focused, it motivates you to polish your story until you can practically see your reflection in it. She makes this step of the writing journey both a proud and awe-inspiring experience.”–Sunni Yuen

“Nova’s calm, thoughtful style of teaching kept the workshop comments constructive, encouraging, and enthusiastic.”–Susan Crispell

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop:
Application deadline is January 30, 2020. Scholarships will be announced February 29, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Nova Ren Suma

Nova Ren Suma (she/her) is a New York Times bestselling author of strange, magical young adult novels and a two-time…
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Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore (she/they) was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear…
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Emily X.R. Pan

Special Guest Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, which won…
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Elise Howard

Special Guest Elise Howard is the founding publisher of Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books.  The Algonquin Young Readers…
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Meera Trehan

Teaching Assistant Meera Trehan read as much as she could as a child, memorized poems, and ate enough cookies to…
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Rajani LaRocca

Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family…
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All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Begins with dinner on Thursday, April 22, with dinner; ends with lunch on Sunday, April 25, with lunch.