Programs

Revision Retreat with Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown

August 3 - September 16, 2022

OVERVIEW:

A 3-Part Online Course, with Optional In-Person Retreat

Join editors Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson for this 3-part online course that offers the skills and space you need to revise, rebuild, and enliven your story.

You’ll make real progress in weekly online sessions + a 1:1 consultation with faculty (Part 1), faculty-supported independent revision planning + a second 1:1 consultation (Part 2), and a week-long culminating intensive in revision (Part 3).

All storytellers and story types are welcome: picture books through young adult novels and graphic novels, authors or author/illustrators, and fiction or nonfiction!

  • This is an online course, but for an extra cost you can choose to spend Part 3 (your one-week intensive) in-person at the Highlights Foundation retreat center (see details here).
  • Online learning features presentations, writing exercises, faculty consultations/feedback, and encouraged peer-to-peer critiques.  This includes:
    • 4 weekly live online sessions, Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern (August 3, 10, 17, 24)
    • A 1:1 session with Harold or Eileen to discuss ideas, goals, and needs (August 12 – 18 at a mutually agreed upon time)
    • Independent working and revision planning time with faculty available for email check ins (August 27 – September 10)
    • A second 1:1 session with Harold or Eileen to discuss next steps for your revisions (September 7 – 10 at a mutually agreed upon times)
    • A 5-day revision intensive (September 11-16). You can attend the intensive online from home or, for an extra cost, attend in-person at our Retreat Center. (For more details about the retreat center experience, click here.)
  • Submission details: Writers of picture books (and similar short works) may submit up to two manuscripts, provided they total no more than 10 pages. Writers of longer works should submit up to 50 pages from one manuscript.  All writers are also asked to submit a cover letter describing where they are in their project, questions they have regarding drafting and/or revisions, and any pertinent biographical information.  This should be done by August 6 to allow time for Harold and Eileen to familiarize themselves with your work.
  • Discussion with peers both in the virtual classroom and during optional Community Office Hours is available for peer-to-peer connection.  The optional office hours will take place on Thursdays at 7pm during the course.
  • 16 participants max

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • Informal feedback will be available from peers in live sessions with faculty and during the optional (but encouraged) peer-to-peer office hours.
  • A 20-minute private consultation with Harold or Eileen to discuss ideas, goals, and needs during Part 1 (no written feedback expected)
  • A 20-minute private consultation with Harold or Eileen to discuss next steps for your revisions during Part 2 (no written feedback expected)
    • Note: Writers of picture books (and similar short works) may submit up to two manuscripts, provided they total no more than 10 pages. Writers of longer works should submit up to 50 pages from one manuscript.  All writers are also asked to submit a cover letter describing where they are in their project, questions they have regarding drafting and/or revisions, and any pertinent biographical information.  This should be done by August 6 to allow time for Harold and Eileen to familiarize themselves with your work.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Are you ready to make compelling changes to your manuscript?
Revision Retreat
This program offers you time to learn a wide range of revision tools in support of your goals. Then it offers you time to plan, and then time to put those tools to use in your own revision, with extended support as you begin, develop, or complete a revision, and generate new material.

Editors Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown will help you explore revision strategies that will pinpoint problems and opportunities in your picture book, chapter book, novel, or narrative nonfiction manuscript.  They’ll meet you wherever you are in the revision process (beginning, mid-draft, or near the end), and help you move along purposefully.  All the while, you’ll learn tools and techniques that can be used now and in the future.

The faculty will meet with you 1:1 on two occasions: first to talk about your manuscript and its current status, and to help you set goals for the workshop; and then again to discuss progress, offer ideas, and make plans for what you will do next.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You are working on a manuscript or have completed a draft of a manuscript, and want to take the next step. If you want help with your picture book, novel, graphic novel, or nonfiction work, this course can help you make it stronger.
  • You’re ready to clean up your manuscript. We’ll help you get it ready for submission!
  • You’re just starting to write for children. All writers need to revise! This course will give you powerful revision techniques.
  • You’re published or an experienced beginner, and need a refresher. You may have your favorite revision techniques, but you’ll benefit from learning new ones.
  • You’re looking for a community of writers to build skills alongside. This course offers weeks of online sessions, an intensive week with multiple opportunities for connection, and optional (but encouraged) peer-to-peer weekly meet-ups.

DETAILED AGENDA:

Pre-workshop: You will receive a link to our virtual platform where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers and illustrators, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), keep up to date on the schedule, and view submission details related to this course.

Live-streaming: All sessions will be live streamed using Zoom. No matter where you are, the link will be the same for the entire course.

Submissions: Writers of picture books (and similar short works) may submit up to two manuscripts, provided they total no more than 10 pages. Writers of longer works should submit up to 50 pages from one manuscript.  All writers are also asked to submit a cover letter describing where they are in their project, questions they have regarding drafting and/or revisions, and any pertinent biographical information.  This should be done by August 6 to allow time for Harold and Eileen to familiarize themselves with your work.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. They’re usually posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through 10/31/2022.


Part One: Weekly Online Sessions + First 1:1 Consultation (August 3-August 24)

Week 1:

  • Wednesday, August 3 at 8pm Eastern: Live Zoom session
    • Introductions, Faculty and Writers: Who are you; what do you write; and what are your favorite children’s books?
    • Overview of submissions for the course
  • Thursday, August 4: Optional Community Peer-to-Peer Office Hour (no faculty in attendance)

Week 2:

  • Wednesday, August 10 at 8pm Eastern: Live Zoom session
    • Interactive Presentation: Reading Like an Editor
  • Initial 1:1 meetings begin 8/11 with Harold and Eileen (scheduled at mutually convenient times)
  • Thursday, August 11: Optional Community Peer-to-Peer Office Hour (no faculty in attendance)

Week 3:

  • Wednesday, August 17 at 8pm Eastern: Live Zoom session
    • Interactive Presentation: Getting Feedback from Others
  • Thursday, August 18, 7pm EST: Optional Community Peer-to-Peer Office Hour (no faculty in attendance)

Week 4:

  • Wednesday, August 24 at 8pm Eastern: Live Zoom session
    • Interactive Presentation: Big Picture Revision
    • How to prepare for your independent work and September intensive!

Part Two: Independent Work with Faculty Support + Second 1:1 Consultation (August 24-September 10)

August 24 – September 10

  • Independent work to identify problems in your manuscript and think about what you want to do to resolve them.
  • Faculty will be available via email to provide support.

September 7 – 10

  • Second 1:1 meeting with Eileen or Harold, scheduled at mutually convenient times

Thursdays at 7pm EST

  • Optional Community Peer-to-Peer Office Hours (no faculty in attendance)

Part Three: A Week-long Intensive in Revision (September 11 – 16)

  • This week-long intensive offers you time and space for you to start the next stage of your revision (whether it’s rewriting, using your new-found revision tools, or getting feedback from faculty or peers).
  • The revision retreat is an online program, but for an additional cost you can choose to attend the revision retreat while you are in-person at our Retreat Center. You will have private accommodations, three meals a day, unlimited snacks and beautiful surroundings. (More details here.)
  • All sessions will be live streamed using Zoom. The link will be the same whether you are online or on-campus.

 

Sunday, September 11

  • 7pm EST: Getting the most out of our time together (Live Zoom Session)

 

Monday, September 12

Morning

  • 10am EST: Interactive Presentation: Revision at the Word and Sentence Level (Live Zoom Session)
  • 11am-12pm EST: Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

Afternoon

  • 1:30pm EST: Creative exercise: Writing with Eileen Robinson (Live Zoom Session)
  • 4:30pm Eastern: Office Hours (All Questions Welcome!)

Evening

  •  Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

 

Tuesday, September 13

Morning:

  • 10am EST: Interactive Presentation (Live Zoom Session)
  • 11am-12pm EST: Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

Afternoon

  • 1:30pm EST: Creative exercise: Writing with Eileen Robinson (Live Zoom Session)
  • 4:30pm EST: Office Hours (All Questions Welcome!)

Evening

  •  Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

 

Wednesday, September 14

  • 10am – 12pm EST: Optional Zoom meetings with Harold or Eileen; independent writing time; or peer gathering

Afternoon

  • 1:30pm EST: Creative exercise: Writing with Eileen Robinson (Live Zoom Session)
  • 4:30pm EST: Office Hours (All Questions Welcome!)

Evening

  •  Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

 

Thursday, September 15

  • 10am – 12pm EST: Independent writing time (or peer gathering)

Afternoon

  • 1:30pm EST: Special session with guest editor (Live Zoom Session)
  • 4:30pm EST: Office Hours (All Questions Welcome!)

Evening

  •  7pm – 8:30pm EST: Open Mic Sharing (Live Zoom Session)

 

Friday, September 16

  • 10am EST: What comes next? (Live Zoom Session)
  • 11am EST: Final questions (Live Zoom Session)

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

  • Commit to attending the pre-intensive online live sessions or watch the recordings*.
  • Commit to the independent work time on your revision plan, so that you are ready to revise your manuscript before, during, and after the retreat.
  • Get your submission to your faculty by August 6 so that they can familiarize themselves with your work prior to meeting with you. They will look at your cover letter prior to get a sense of your idea before your first 1:1, and they will read your full submission (see specifications*), prior to your second 1:1. *Writers of picture books (and similar short works) may submit up to two manuscripts, provided they total no more than 10 pages. Writers of longer works should submit up to 50 pages from one manuscript. All writers are asked to submit a cover letter describing where they are in their project, questions they have regarding drafting and/or revisions, and any pertinent biographical information for the faculty.

(Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend all the 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 October 31, 2022.)

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:

Readers deserve the very best stories. Learning to deepen your stories through revision is one way to offer the very best to your readers.

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

RELATED RESOURCES:

Kid’s Book Revisions website
Using a Revision Grid to Break Down Your Story Into Elements
Top 10 Reasons You Need to Revise Your Manuscript
As Simple As Possible: Three Ways To Tighten Your Prose
Tools and Tips on Character Revision
Who, What, Where, and Usually Why: Revising Scenes
Seeing Your Manuscript by Listening
Shrink Your Manuscript
How to Start Revising That First Draft

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Harold and Eileen had so much wisdom and resources to share. Their presentations were informative and engaging. The prompts and other writing and reviewing activities encouraged us to think out of the box and also meet our fellow conference-goers. My idea of my own work radically changed a few times! I love that I was presented with new perspectives on how to see my writing. I was happy to receive 2 beautiful books to help me in revision, and I was very glad to talk to Ellen Cormier and Cherie Matthews and hear what they had to say about the industry.”

“Harold and Eileen were very knowledgeable and approachable. They were always willing to answer questions and give feedback as well as to spend time getting to know us. They gave helpful suggestions and the mentoring experience showed me what I needed to work on and what steps to take to do so. They did a great job!”

“The revisions retreat was really great. I have a number of solid and helpful revision tool takeaways, including some really strong, revised pieces. I met with my agent this morning, and he was impressed with where we got things and came up with a new submissions list.”

Are you looking for information about scholarships? Find out more about the Highlights Foundation scholarship program here.

Faculty

Eileen Robinson

Eileen Robinson has worked with children’s writers all over the world for over twenty years. Former Executive Editor at Scholastic…
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Harold Underdown

Harold is an executive editor at Kane Press. He is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s…
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$599.00