Programs

Whole Novel Historical: A Virtual Course for Historical Novelists

April 24 - June 16, 2022

OVERVIEW:

This program is full, but will be offered again next year. If you would like to be notified when it is available, please add your name to the waitlist.

Multi-Month Online Course, $1799
The Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft (up to 80,000 words) of a novel read by faculty, with detailed written feedback and two private consultations provided. This online program in particular is for writers of Historical Fiction novels.

  • Application deadline: on or before April 9 (acceptance will be made on a rolling basis, with final notifications on or before April 16)
  • Online preparatory and community building activities (via live Zoom Office Hours): April 24, May 1, May 15, May 22 (all Sundays at 4pm Eastern)
  • Complete manuscript and peer group submissions: by May 12
  • Five-day online intensive workshop: June 12 – 16, with feedback and mentorship
  • Post-online retreat: Optional in-person retreat to meet fellow writers from the program at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center (June 26 – June 29; extra cost)
  • 12 participants max

Application Deadline: on or before April 9, 2022
To apply, you will need to submit:

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, starting immediately. You will be notified of your acceptance status as your application is reviewed (by no later than April 16, 2022). Upon acceptance, you will receive a link to register for the workshop.

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • You will be thoughtfully paired with a faculty reader who will offer written insights and questions about your drafted novel (up to 80,000 words), and help you prioritize goals. You will receive this written feedback along with two private consultations to discuss feedback and goals.
  • 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. You will be expected to read short submissions (cover letters, synopses, and ten pages of narrative) from up to 6 participants in your group.
  • Informal feedback will occur throughout the preparatory office hours, and with writing exercises during the intensive.
Whole Novel Historical

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

The Whole Novel Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel (up to 80,000 words) read with written feedback provided. This online program focuses on the Historical Novel, with sessions dedicated to:

  • Planning for revision
  • Writing history as a contemporary author
  • Confronting writer’s block
  • Submissions
  • Building a supportive network of writers

With this workshop, you get:

  • An editorial letter offering written insights and questions about your drafted novel (up to 80,000 words) to help you prioritize goals.
  • Two private consultations with your reader to discuss feedback, revisions, and next steps.
  • Daily writing prompts during the online intensive.
  • Small group discussion and open space to process your revision ideas.
  • Connection opportunities with fellow writers.

Please note:

  • Acceptance into the program requires a brief application, including the first 10 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop + a one-page synopsis (due on or before April 9, 2022)
  • Acceptance is made on a rolling basis; you will be notified of acceptance no later than April 16, 2022.
  • Your full novel draft (up to 80,000 words) is due on or before May 12.  If your work-in-progress is over 80,000 words and you would still like to apply, please note the current length in your application.
  • Peer group submissions are also due on or before May 12 (cover letter, synopsis, and ten pages of narrative).

Faculty Ashley Hope Pérez and Alisa Alering share their top 5 reasons for taking the course:

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.
  • You have a complete or near-complete draft of a middle grade or young adult novel. You must have a completed draft by May 12 to participate.
  • 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.
  • You enjoy online learning. The Whole Novel Workshop for Historical Fiction takes place on Zoom with preparatory meetings and a five-day intensive.

DETAILED AGENDA:

Required reading: TBD
Suggested reading: TBD

Application Deadline: on or before April 9, 2022
To apply, you will need to submit:

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, starting immediately. You will be notified of your acceptance status as your application is reviewed (by no later than April 16, 2022).  Upon acceptance, you will receive a link to register for the workshop.

Submission Deadlines:

  • No later than May 12: Full novel draft due (Up to 80,000 words)
  • No later than May 12: Peer group submission due (cover letter, synopsis, and ten pages of narrative)

Preparatory Live Zoom Office Hours:

  • Sunday, April 24, 4 – 5pm Eastern (Introductions and Welcome to the Class)
  • Sunday, May 1, 4 – 5pm Eastern (Let’s Write Together! + Questions about submissions)
  • Sunday, May 15, 4 – 5pm Eastern (Let’s Write Together! + Answers about peer groups)
  • Sunday, May 22, 4 – 5pm Eastern (Checking in before virtual retreat, and questions about feedback letter)

Feedback Received:

  • No later than June 10: Participants will receive their Whole Novel Written Feedback Letter from Faculty Readers

Online Intensive: (All times Eastern)
Day 1: Sunday, June 12

  • 12pm – 4pm EST: Meetings with reader to discuss feedback and prioritize your week (you will receive your slot in advance of the date)
  • 5pm – 6:00pm EST: Optional Meet & Greet
  • 6pm – 7:30pm EST: Reimagining Your Revision

Day 2: Monday, June 13

  • 11am EST: Morning Gather
  • 12pm EST: Small Group Meetings with Alisa (you will receive your group assignment in advance of the date)
    • 12:30pm – 2pm EST: Group A meets with Alisa
    • 2:30pm – 4pm EST: Group B meets with Alisa
  • 7:30-8:30pm EST: Optional Writing Prompt with Krystal

Day 3: Tuesday, June 14

  • 11am EST: Morning Gather
  • 12pm EST: Small Group Meetings with Alisa (you will receive your group assignment in advance of the date)
    • 12:30pm – 2pm EST: Group A meets with Alisa
    • 2:30pm – 4pm EST: Group B meets with Alisa
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm EST: Presentation (Topic TBD)

Day 4: Wednesday, June 15

  • 11am EST: Morning Gather
  • 12pm EST: Prepare for group meetings
  • 12:30pm – 3pm EST: Small groups meet without facilitator
  • 7:30-8:30pm EST: Optional Writing Prompt with Krystal

Day 5: Thursday, June 16

  • 11am EST: Morning Gather
  • 12pm – 4pm EST: Meetings with reader to discuss next steps (you will receive your slot in advance of the date; those not in meetings can write in community with optional prompts or write independently)
  • 5:30 – 6:30pm EST: Panel discussion with faculty
  • 6:30 – 8pm EST: Closing with open mic and sharing from all writers

Optional Whole Novel Historical Personal Retreat:
There will be a special retreat for alums of this course on the Highlights Foundation campus from June 26 – June 29. 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 3-night retreat is $500.

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

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

In addition to the pre-retreat deadlines (see above), 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 July 31, 2022.

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:

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.

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

SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE:

Scholarships are available for this workshop outside of our traditional scholarship process. To apply for a scholarship with your application to the workshop, click here. Your scholarship application must be received by April 9, 2022.

Please note:
Acceptance into the program requires a brief application, including the first 10 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop and a one-page synopsis due on or before April 9, 2022.

RESOURCES:

Required reading: TK
Suggested reading: TK
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

TESTIMONIALS:

“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.”

“I loved that we had pre-events months in advance. I’m a shy person, naturally, so instead of being shy and introverted, I was just introverted. I could speak freely when I wanted to and bow out when I wanted to bow out.”

Faculty

Shannon Gibney

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), and Dream Country…
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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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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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K.X. Song

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

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