Programs

Online Summer Camp in Fiction: Explore, Play, and Inspire

July 8 - 11, 2021

TYPE & LENGTH:

A four day, online intensive (Thursday, July 8 through Sunday, July 11) centered on mentorship, inspiration, and community with:

  • opportunities for learning, feedback, and interaction (detailed agenda below)
  • ample self-paced time to make progress on a project, or play with your creativity
  • Submit your work for 1:1 feedback from your faculty reader
  • Submit your work for facilitated peer discussions.

PARTICIPANT CAP:

35

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Dedicate four days to our Online Summer Camp in Fiction for inspiration, guidance, mentorship, community, creativity, and growth.

Guidance and mentorship will be offered in two ways, both through our faculty and in your facilitated peer group. The goal of our feedback sessions is to offer you support, as well as ask questions to help you problem-solve, brainstorm new ideas, and work through challenges.

You will:

  • Hear inspirational and educational keynotes by our faculty. These will refresh your passion for the craft of writing for children and teens, and motivate you to keep going.
  • Work one-to-one with faculty on a project of your choice. Faculty reader/attendee pairings will be made thoughtfully according to your work and your goals. Picture book writers will work through one full manuscript; novelists and longer fiction writers will have an opportunity to share up to 2,500 words. Both picture book authors and those writing longer fiction will be able to review feedback and consult with faculty readers in the workshop’s first 1:1 meetings, and then informally share revisions made during the workshop (if any) at the second 1:1 meeting.
  • Participate in small group critique/feedback with a thoughtfully chosen group of fellow attendees. This small group style is designed to help you lead a discussion of your work and needs in community with other writers, with the help of a facilitator. Picture book writers can share the same project they are using with their faculty reader, or a new project. Longer fiction writers can share the same sample from the same project, or another sample from the same project, or a new project sample of 2,500 words.
  • Participate in breakout sessions focused on creating rich characters, developing voice, constructing settings, structuring plot, and more.
  • Attend open, interactive Office Hours for themed informal talks in small groups with a focus on your needs and questions that have come up throughout the program.
  • Do hands-on exercises and writing prompts to help you grow as a writer and/or make progress on your project.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You are a fiction writer of picture books, chapter books, or novels. With a large faculty that publishes across genres, there is a little something for everyone at Camp.
  • You’ve always wanted to write or illustrate a children’s book. This workshop provides an immersive start in the world of children’s literature, including a panel on revision and submission.
  • You have an in-progress or finished manuscript and would like feedback. Your faculty mentor will give you feedback, answer questions, and support you in setting goals. Your peer group can help you consider your revision goals and plans.
  • You need a jolt of creativity or a reminder of purpose. Summer Camp can be about getting work done if you want it to be, but it can also be about renewing your spark and purpose in writing for kids and teens.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

  • This intensive is best if you attend and engage in all the live sessions. Participants are encouraged to leave open/schedule blocks of time for themselves to work on prompts, projects, and reflections throughout.
  • On days 2 & 3, you will choose a live breakout session to attend, but all breakouts will be recorded and you’ll be able to view them all in the online classroom which you will have access to for 30 days following the close of Camp.
  • If you can’t attend live, lectures and writing prompts will also be recorded each day and placed in the virtual classroom to watch (or re-watch) for up to 30 days after the close of Camp.
  • Novelists, or those writing longer fiction, will submit up to 2,500 words from a current work in progress prior to the start of camp for faculty critique. This submission should also contain a cover letter and one-page synopsis. (After registration, you will receive comprehensive submission details.)
  • Picture book authors, or author/illustrators, will submit one full picture book manuscript of up to 1,200 words with a cover letter at least 3 weeks prior to Camp for faculty critique. (After registration, you will receive comprehensive submission details.)
  • In addition to submitting to your faculty reader, you will submit pages for your peer groups. These submissions can be from the same work-in-progress as given to your faculty reader, or a new project. (After registration, you will receive comprehensive submission details for your peer groups.)
  • After online Summer Camp, you could choose to come to campus on a personal writing retreat to explore your feedback and make progress on your project with other attendees who choose to do the same. Dates will be announced as they become available.

AGENDA:

We are now accepting submissions for feedback! Register now to submit your work and give everyone (including yourself) ample time for thoughtful response.

Week of June 27:
Virtual classroom opens with pre-conference materials and opportunities to connect with fellow writers. You will also meet via Zoom with your peer small group and facilitator prior to discuss:

  • Questions and what to expect
  • Information and guidelines for participating in our version of small group feedback/critique sessions

Intensive Day One: Thursday, July 8 (Approximately 2.5 hours of programming.)
Throughout the day:

  • 1:1s via Zoom with your Faculty Reader (scheduled at mutually convenient times)

Evening: Formal Kickoff via Zoom

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • Opening Lecture
  • Breakout into small groups after to check in and ask questions

Intensive Day Two: Friday, July 9 (Approximately 5.5 hours of programming; additional time may be spent writing/revising/revisiting.)
Throughout the day:

  • Writing and/or revision sprints (live sessions and recordings released into the virtual classroom)
  • Small group feedback/critique sessions and check-in via Zoom
  • Hands-on Breakout Sessions available via Zoom (you choose the topic/time to attend; all will be recorded and made available in the classroom)
  • Informal Office Hours via Zoom to connect in small groups, ask questions, and explore topics informally

Evening:

  • Lecture via Zoom, followed by Q & A

Intensive Day Three: Saturday July 10 (Approximately 5.5 hours of programming; additional time may be spent writing/revising/revisiting.)
Throughout the day:

  • Writing and/or revision sprints (live sessions and recordings released into the virtual classroom)
  • Small group feedback/critique sessions and check-in via Zoom
  • Hands-on Breakout Sessions available via Zoom (you choose the topic/time to attend; all will be recorded and made available in the classroom)
  • Informal Office Hours via Zoom to connect in small groups, ask questions, and explore topics informally

Evening:

  • Lecture via Zoom, followed by Q & A

Intensive Day Four: Sunday, July 11 (Approximately 4 hours of programming; additional time may be spent writing/revising/revisiting.)
Throughout the day:

  • 1:1s via Zoom with your Faculty Reader to revisit and discuss the progress and/or reflections you’ve made (scheduled at mutually convenient times)
  • Writing and/or revision sprints (live sessions and recordings released into the virtual classroom)
  • Panel: Submissions, Revisions, Next Steps (via Zoom)

Evening:

  • Closing Lecture via Zoom
  • Farewells

Note: Hands-On Breakout topics and Lecture themes are still being developed by faculty. Past Summer Camp session topics have included:

  • Waking the Inner Voice: It’s Time
  • Creating Convincing Characters
  • Plot Like a Film
  • Attention, Image, Language: Developing Narrative Voice
  • Got Query? How to Craft a Pitch for Query Letters
  • Picture Book Idea Generator
  • Propulsive Language: Making Stories MOVE
  • Creating a Sense of Place
  • Minor Characters and Transitional Scenes
  • Writing is Re-writing: Maximizing Revision
  • Dialogue Busters: Crafting Conversation in Fiction
  • Have You Scene This: Scene Writing Exercises
  • The Importance of the Page Turn
  • What I Really Want to Write About: Finding Stories That Matter

Note: Later in the summer/fall we will announce personal writing retreat dates at our Retreat Center that are opened first to attendees of our online Summer Camps. That could be an ideal time to make progress on your projects and spend time in community with fellow attendees in person. Dates will be announced as they become available.

HOW THIS PROGRAM IMPACTS KIDS:

Writing for children and teens is often referred to as a labor of love. It is rewarding work because your stories can have a big impact on the lives of children, but it is hard work. Get support, motivation, reassurance, and sense of community from fellow creators who share your passion.

HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION RESOURCES AND FAQS FOR WORKSHOPS:

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“My mentor was a great match for me. She had important suggestions but also was positive about what was working. She hit the nail on the head about where I needed to head with the mss.”

“As always, this Highlights experience was amazing. I met wonderful writers and created new friendships. I loved the open mic, it gave me the courage I needed to make my own voice heard.”

“Everyone…and I mean EVERYONE was so incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring and encouraging and humble and helpful and considerate. It was indeed a pleasure to have been a participant.”

“I’ve never found a more supportive or knowledgeable faculty at any other workshop or conference.”

“The mentoring staff members were amazing. All were open, honest, and encouraging. They didn’t just tell us what we wanted to hear – they told us things to make our writing sizzle.”

Faculty

David Bowles

David Bowles is a Mexican-American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley.…
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Lesléa Newman

Lesléa Newman is the author of 75 books for readers of all ages including the children’s classic, Heather Has Two…
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Laura Sibson

After a career in undergraduate counseling, Laura Sibson pursued an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not…
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I.W. Gregorio

IW Gregorio is a practicing urologist by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. She is author of the Schneider…
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Sona Charaipotra

The author of the YA doc dramedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra is not a doctor — much to…
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Brittany J. Thurman

Special Guest Brittany J. Thurman has always listened in on the stories told by her grandmother. These same stories hold…
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Alexandra Villasante

Special Guest Alexandra Villasante has always loved telling stories–though not always with words. She has a BFA in Painting and…
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Alison Green Myers

Special Guest Alison Green Myers is the program director for the non-profit Highlights Foundation, which supports children’s book writers and…
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$499.00