Odyssey Into Writing Middle Grade Science Fiction 2020

September 20 - 23, 2020

Join Us To:

Explore, revise and polish your middle grade sci-fi work-in-progress. Learn how to approach the genre for the middle grade audience and how to navigate the intricacies of introducing young readers to science fiction. Receive one-on-one synopsis consultation with a faculty mentor. Hear lectures from faculty that help you get past plot, theme, world-building and character issues in the sci-fi realm. Have free time on Highlights campus to write and revise.

Note: Before the workshop, you will be asked to submit a brief synopsis or story description.

What You’ll Learn:

Three seasoned authors and teaching professionals will go over the finer distinctions of types of sci-fi and how to introduce the middle grade reader to the genre. We will discuss world-building, character, plot, theme, the use of humor, and generating wonder and awe.

Attend If:

  • You love both sci-fi and middle grade literature. This course will help you explore the intersection of both.
  • You’ve written a middle grade novel you suspect borders on sci-fi and fantasy. We’ll provide the guidance you need to venture into this territory!
  • You’ve written most of a middle grade novel. Lectures, hands-on activities and faculty feedback will provide advice on your story structure.
  • You have solid ideas for a sci-fi novel but haven’t started writing it. This course will help you get started, and give you some craft tips for moving forward.

Still not sure if this is the right course for you? Watch a video where Program Director Alison Green Myers shares details about the differences between our genre and format-focused workshops for 2020.


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.


“The staff at Highlights is what consistently continues to impress me. They go above and beyond in everything they do. When I’m there, I don’t have to worry about anything but learning, nurturing my creativity, and writing.”

“The faculty/conferee ratio and the availability of the faculty are two of the best and unique features of these small workshops.”

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop:
Application deadline is July 2, 2020. Scholarships will be announced August 1, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Nicole Valentine

Nicole Valentine ( is an author of middle grade fiction. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young…
Learn more

Fran Wilde

Fran Wilde’s novels and short stories have been finalists for four Nebula Awards, a World Fantasy Award, and two Hugo…
Learn more

Lamar Giles

Special Guest Lamar Giles writes novels and short stories for teens and adults. He is the author of the 2015 Edgar® Award Nominee Fake ID, the…
Learn more

All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,199.00

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.

Do you want help finding a workshop or resources that will fit your needs?
Talk to one of our ambassadors.

workshop information

Begins with dinner on Sunday, September 20 and ends Wednesday, September 23 after lunch.