Programs

Shape Your Story: A 6-Week Novel Intensive with Author & Agent Linda Epstein

November 3 - December 15, 2022

Multi-Week Online Course Overview:

Mold your novel into the story only you can tell with senior agent, writer, and poet Linda Epstein.

  • Live sessions Thursday evenings (November 3, 10, 17; December 1, 8, & 15) *Please note NO LIVE Class on November 24
  • Pre-recorded content released on Monday, November 7
  • 1:1, 20-minute Consultation with Linda Epstein to discuss goals at beginning of course (November 3 – November 10, exact time TBD)
  • 1:1, 20-minute Consultation with Linda Epstein to discuss progress at end of course (December 8 – 15, exact time TBD)
  • Optional (but encouraged) peer-to-peer community hours will be offered at 12pm Eastern on Mondays (November 7 – December 19) to meet with fellow creatives and share work, and/or discuss responses to weekly assignments. No faculty will be present during the peer-to-peer hours.
  • Optional post-course critiques are available (details below).
  • 18 participants max

 

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • A 1:1, 20-minute consultation at the start of the course to discuss your work-in-progress (or preliminary ideas), any challenges you are having, and your goals you have for the 6-week course. (No written feedback is provided.)
  • A 1:1, 20-minute consultation at the end of the course to discuss your progress and remaining questions. (No written feedback is provided.)
  • Informal feedback in the virtual classroom and during weekly meetings.
  • OPTIONAL written critique of up to 10 pages of your work-in-progress (from anywhere in your novel). Submissions are due the last week of class, and written feedback will be returned within 4 – 6 weeks. The cost of this optional critique is $125.
  • OPTIONAL written critique of your query letter. Submissions are due the last week of class, and written feedback will be returned within 4 – 6 weeks. The cost of this optional query critique is $100.

 

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Shape your story into a middle grade or young adult novel with a focus on craft, community, and support in this intensive online environment.

This six-week course will explore how we shape stories into novels through pre-recorded sessions on theme, voice, outlining, arcs, and much more. Your pre-recorded lectures are paired with writing exercises to encourage you to examine the shape of your story, and explore ways to “reshape” your work, too.

Linda will host weekly sessions to engage in your questions from the pre-recorded material. These weekly sessions will include discussion and one hands-on writing exercise. When applicable, the live session will also include time for sharing. (Please note that weekly sessions with Linda take place on Thursdays between November 3 – December 15. No live class will take place on Thursday, November 24.)

When you register for the workshop, you will be asked to submit a short survey of your writing goals and works in progress so that Linda may review them prior to your first consultation. The 1:1 consultations are just one way that Linda will get to know your stories, and center your needs and questions.

Shape Your Story: A 6-Week Novel Intensive with Author & Agent Linda Epstein (with Linda's photo on a yellow background with purple, blue and green accents and the Highlights Foundation logo)

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You’re a novelist of middle grade or young adult books looking to acquire comprehensive tools and guidance to help you craft your novel.
  • You’re pre-published, or just starting out. This program will help get you on a path to completing your first draft. Please know that having some idea of your work in progress (and ideally some pages drafted) will give you the maximum benefit in this program.
  • You’re a published novelist who wants support and accountability. We all begin again with each new project. Experience  encouragement from Linda and fellow novelists in this supportive environment.
  • You’d like a high level of engagement with fellow writers and faculty so that you can explore new ideas.

 

DETAILED AGENDA:

Suggested reading list to come.

Pre-workshop: You will submit a brief survey of your goals, and a summary of the project that you plan to work on during the course.

On October 27, you will be invited to join the virtual classroom where you will find the Highlights Foundation Community Standards, your course syllabus, and the opportunity to schedule your first 1:1 consultation with Linda.

Week One

Thursday, November 3 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Introductions
  • What to expect in the course (recordings, live sessions, optional peer-to-peer meetings)
  • How to use the virtual classroom features: discussions, submissions, signing up for 1:1 consultations, and content
  • An open discussion about Responsible Representation in Children’s Literature

November 3 – November 10: Consultations with Linda

1:1 consultations will be scheduled with Linda at mutually convenient times. These will be 20 minute sessions to discuss goals and ideas.

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Sign up for your 1:1 consultation
  • Preview Highlights Foundation Community Standards
  • Familiarize yourself with the discussion board
  • Recording from Week One live session posted within 24 hours

Week Two

Monday, November 7 at 9am Eastern: Pre-recorded content releases in the Virtual Classroom

  • Story Arc and Outlines
  • Character Building & Character Arcs
  • World Building & Setting
  • Theme & Voice

Thursday, November 10 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Review questions from discussion board
  • Write together!

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Mondays at 12pm Eastern (Faculty not present during peer-to-peer sessions.)

 

Week Three

Thursday, November 17 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Review questions from discussion board
  • Write together!

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Mondays at 12pm Eastern (Faculty not present during peer-to-peer sessions.)

 

Week Four

*Please note that there is NO LIVE CLASS on Thursday, November 24*

Thursday, December 1 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Review questions from discussion board
  • Write together!

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Mondays at 12pm Eastern (Faculty not present during peer-to-peer sessions.)

 

Week Five

Monday, December 5 at 9am Eastern: Pre-recorded content releases in the Virtual Classroom

  • How to Write a Query Letter
  • Sign up for your 1:1 consultation

Thursday, December 8 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Review questions from discussion board
  • Write together!
  • What to bring to next week’s live session
  • What to expect from our closing consultations

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Mondays at 12pm Eastern (Faculty not present during peer-to-peer sessions.)

 

Week Six

December 8 – 15: Final Consultations with Linda

Final 1:1 consultations will be scheduled with Linda at mutually convenient times during this week. These will be 20 minute sessions to discuss progress, and answer remaining questions.

Thursday, December 15 at 7 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Open Read!
  • Overview of optional critique opportunities: query letters & manuscript pages.

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Mondays at 12pm Eastern (Faculty not present during peer-to-peer sessions.)

*You are invited to continue peer-to-peer office hours on Mondays until the end of 2022 Office Hours (December 19).

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve.

 

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

This multi-week online program is best if you can view at least one pre-recorded video per week of the course, and attend the weekly live sessions with Linda Epstein. (Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend all live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings with closed captioning. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through January 31, 2023.)

We also stress the importance of meeting with Linda during your private consultations at the opening and closing of the course.

Suggested reading list to come.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Trying to figure out how this course fits into your schedule? Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment.

 

HOW IT IMPACTS KIDS:

The story only you can tell can make a big impact on a child or young adult’s life. This workshop helps you take steps toward shaping it into the best novel it can be.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission.

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Linda was generous, as well as setting clear boundaries. She expressed her intent for the workshop and had clearly been very thoughtful and deliberate in her design. She was warm, funny, inclusive and prepared. Really excellent.”

“Linda Epstein was fabulous. She really created an inclusive and warm atmosphere, while always also focusing on professionalism. She is eloquent and insightful and open minded.”

Faculty & Special Guests

Linda Epstein

Linda Epstein is the author of the middle grade novel Repairing the World (Simon & Schuster, 2022) and an agent at…
Learn more

$699.00