Programs

The Whole Novel Workshop: Historical Fiction

August 8 - October 9, 2021

TYPE & LENGTH:

  • Pre-retreat live Zoom Office Hours on 4 Sundays in August and 1 in September (7pm Eastern)
  • Online; one-week intensive workshop (October 3-9) with feedback and mentorship
  • Online Preparation activities are noted in the agenda, with firm deadlines
  • Post-workshop: an optional in-person retreat weekend to meet fellow writers from the program (extra cost)

You will find a more detailed agenda with deadlines and dates below.

PRICE:

$1,799.00 for the workshop
$500.00 to attend the post-course retreat in-person at our Retreat Center 11/4 -11/7 (3 days, 4 nights)

PARTICIPANT CAP:

8

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

The Whole Novel Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel read with written feedback provided. This online program focuses on the Historical Novel, with sessions dedicated to:

  • Research tips and take-aways
  • Making a plan for revision
  • Looking at the HISTORY of Historical Novels
  • Developing a creative practice
  • Submissions, and
  • Building a supportive network of writers

With this workshop, you will get:

  • An editorial letter providing feedback on your entire novel.
  • One-to-one meetings with your reader to discuss feedback, revisions, and next steps.
  • Writing prompts.
  • Small group discussion and open space to process your revision ideas.
  • Craft and industry lectures, panels, and activities.
  • Connection opportunities with fellow writers.

You will be thoughtfully paired with a faculty reader who can offer insights and questions about your drafted novel, and help you prioritize goals. In addition, you will spend time with peers in small groups discussing the heart of your novel, as well as questions you have about revising and rewriting to make your novel stronger.

Please note:
Acceptance into the program requires a brief application including the first 10-15 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop and a one-page synopsis by July 23, 2021. You will be notified of acceptance by August 1, 2021, with your full novel draft due between August 15-31, 2021. (For a detailed timeline of submissions, please see below.)

Click here to submit your application.

Click here to submit your application if you are also applying for a scholarship.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You are writing a historical novel for middle grade or young adult readers. This workshop is specifically built to support novelists working on historical fiction. Your historical novel can be any format or structure you wish–epistolary, multiple POV, verse, graphic novel, or other. (For information about our general middle grade and young adult Whole Novel program, please click here.)
  • You have a complete or near-complete draft of a middle grade or young adult novel. You must have a completed draft by the submission window of August 15-31, 2021.
  • You would benefit from receiving multiple feedback perspectives. In addition to a whole-novel review by your faculty reader, you will also meet with fellow writers in small groups to process feedback and discuss your plans for revision.
  • You’re willing to work! This program is best for those who will dedicate time and attention to processing feedback, revising, writing exercises, and group sessions.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

In addition to the pre-retreat deadlines (see below), participants will be asked to reserve time during the retreat week for 1:1 sessions, small group sessions, informal gatherings, and lectures. We also hope that you will block, as best you can, portions of time during the program days for your revision work, and space to rest and reflect on the discussions of the week. This is not mandatory, but it will help enable ample time to process feedback and participate in your sessions.

Aside from the 1:1 sessions and the small groups sessions, we will make every effort to record and post gatherings in the virtual classroom within 24-hours from the end of their live session. You will have access to all recordings in the virtual classroom until November 30, 2021.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:

Application Deadline: July 23, 2021
To apply, you will need to submit:

  • The first 10-15 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop
  • A one-page synopsis

Click here to submit your application.

Click here to submit your application if you are also applying for a scholarship.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting immediately. You will be notified of your acceptance status as your application is reviewed.

Upon acceptance, you will receive a link to register for the workshop.

By August 1: Applicants notified of acceptance.

August 15-31: Full novel draft due.

Pre-retreat live Zoom Office Hours:

  • Sunday, August 8, 7-8pm Eastern (Final Work on Manuscripts)
  • Sunday, August 15, 7-8pm Eastern (How to use the virtual classroom and open Q & A)
  • Sunday, August 22, 7-8pm Eastern (Let’s Write Together!)
  • Sunday, August 29, 7-8pm Eastern (Full submissions due soon! Let’s Write Together!)
  • Sunday, September 26, 7-8pm Eastern (Checking in before virtual retreat, and questions about feedback letter)

October 1: Whole Novel Written Feedback Letter from Faculty Readers Sent to Participants


The Online Retreat for Historical Novels
All times Eastern

Day 1: Sunday, October 3

  • 6:30pm Eastern: Optional Informal Meet & Greet (Hello, Friends!)
  • 7:30pm Eastern: Opening Session, Reimagine Your Novel with Ashley Hope Perez
  • Optional Post lecture JAM SESSION: Reflection page and Q & A

Day 2: Monday, October 4

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (Today’s Theme: How Do You Prioritize Revision?)
  • 11am Eastern: Writing prompt
  • 12pm Eastern – 4pm Eastern: Meetings with reader to discuss your feedback letter and prioritize the week ahead
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Optional First day Zoom check-in and social hour

Day 3: Tuesday, October 5

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (Examining Historical Novels: resources and discussion)
  • 12pm Eastern – 2pm Eastern: Group A Meets for Small Group Discussion and Reflections
  • 12pm Eastern: Optional Writing Prompt for Group B
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Social Hour, un-themed!

Day 4: Wednesday October 6

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (How do you honor a creative practice?)
  • 12pm Eastern – 2pm Eastern: Group B Meets for Small Group Discussion and Reflections
  • 12pm Eastern: Optional Writing Prompt for Group A
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Social Hour, un-themed!

Day 5: Thursday, October 7

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (How do we talk about our work?)
  • 11am Eastern: Writing prompt
  • 12pm – 4pm Eastern: Group A and Group B meet; peer to peer, no facilitator.
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Faculty Presentation with Shannon Gibney

Day 6: Friday, October 8

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (Ways to organize drafts?)
  • 11am Eastern: Writing prompt
  • 12pm Eastern – 4pm Eastern: Meetings with reader to discuss next steps and week’s progress
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Social Hour, un-themed!

Day 7: Saturday, October 9

  • 10am Eastern: Morning Gather (Theme To Come)
  • 11am Eastern: Writing prompt
  • 6pm – 8pm Eastern: Open Mic and Sharing
  • 8pm Eastern: Closing Panel

Optional Whole Novel Historical Personal Retreat:
There will be a special retreat for a small group of alums of this course on the Highlights Foundation campus from November 4 – 7, 2021. This will be a time to work at your own pace, and on your own projects. There will be delicious food, snacks, and creative companionship. In the evenings, gather at the fireplace, weather permitting, to share ideas, discuss your inspiration, and relax. There is no expectation for lecture. The cost for this 4-day/3-night retreat is $500.

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE:

Scholarships are available for this workshop–the application deadline is July 23, 2021.
Please note:
Acceptance into the program requires a brief application including the first 10-15 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop and a one-page synopsis by July 23, 2021. You will be notified of acceptance by August 1, 2021, with your full novel draft due between August 15-31, 2021.

Click here to submit your application if you are also applying for a scholarship.

HOW THIS WORKSHOP IMPACTS KIDS:

Your novel can make a big impact on a child’s life. This workshop helps you take steps toward bringing it to market in a way that is authentic to your voice and your story, because that is just what your reader needs.

HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION RESOURCES AND FAQS FOR WORKSHOPS:

RELATED RESOURCES:

Ashley Hope Pérez: Tips to Create Unforgettable Historical Fiction

Shannon Gibney’s website with essays and articles 

Faculty Interview: Ashley Hope Pérez and Alisa Alering in Conversation

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“The faculty was amazing! Each and every one willingly shared their knowledge and showed so much support to all of the workshop participants. They offered great suggestions to make our novels stronger and showed genuine care for our entire group. Fantastic experience!”

“The faculty were warm, inspiring, wise, encouraging, helpful, and funny. The workshops were as inspiring and as helpful as the presenters. I couldn’t have asked for more!”

“The faculty were awesome. I’ve been through an MFA program in creative writing, so I know top-notch writing instructors when I see them. Learned some very valuable things about my writing at Highlights.”

“Everyone gave of their time, expertise, and passion. Everyone was enthusiastic about writing in general, writing for kids, and the students’ work. I’m not generally one for writing exercises but the ones I did—some were insightful, others just let me stretch some muscles, others just freed me up mentally (so, it was like mind yoga!).”

 

Faculty

Ashley Hope Pérez

Ashley Hope Pérez is the author of three novels: Out of Darkness (2015), The Knife and the Butterfly (2012), and What Can’t Wait (2011). Out of Darkness was…
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Shannon Gibney

Special Guest Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), and…
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Alisa Alering

Alisa Alering is a writer and editor living in southern Indiana. She writes fiction for children and adults and non-fiction…
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Krystal Song

Special Guest K. X. Song is a Highlights Foundation Diversity fellow and a HG Wells Turnill Prize honoree. Her picture…
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$1,799.00