Start Now: Plotting Your 2024 Novel, An Online Intensive

Online | Novels, Business of Publishing
Join authors Sona Charaipotra, Dante Medema, and guest Trisha Tobias to set goals and build the roadmap to your finished draft, with an eye toward the business of publishing.  This online weekend intensive will include presentations, small group discussions, handouts, and more.

December 16 - December 17

Online

$299

Overview

Online Weekend Intensive

Gearing up to work on any genre of middle grade or young adult novel in 2024?

Then join authors Sona Charaipotra, Dante Medema, and guest Trisha Tobias to set goals and build the roadmap to your finished draft, with an eye toward the business of publishing.  This online weekend intensive will include presentations, small group discussions, handouts, and more.

  • Live Lectures (with closed captioning and recorded for those who cannot attend live)
    • Saturday, December 16 (12 – 4:30pm Eastern, with breaks)
    • Sunday, December 17 (12 – 4:30pm Eastern, with breaks)
  • Hands-on exercises to build your roadmap for your 2024 MG or YA Novel
  • Post-course feedback options (at an additional cost) to receive written feedback on your novel’s first chapter, and/or your pitch and query letter, and/or your novel’s outline. Registration for post-course critiques will open immediately following the last LIVE session.
  • 40 participants max

Please note: If you can’t attend live, no problem! You’ll have access to the recordings until January 31, 2024.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

If you want support as you outline your new novel for the new year, this is the course for you!

You’ll learn plotting techniques, engage in live lectures, participate in small-group discussions with peers, and apply the practices to your yet-to-come novel!

In addition, Sona, Dante, and Trisha want to share ideas about the business of publishing.  Sona says: “We’ll be talking about what you can control (the writing) and what you can’t necessarily control (publishing and the state of the entire world, so to speak).”

During our weekend together, you will:

  • Craft a vision for your yet-to-come novel’s purpose
  • Discover how your MG or YA novel fits into a 3-Act structure
  • Create loglines and pitches
  • Explore goal setting for 2024 that will help you draft your new novel

Throughout the workshop, you’ll receive:

  • Informal feedback on ideas and exercises.
  • Open and ongoing communication with your faculty.
  • Tools and tricks to explore strategies that best fit your needs with this project (and others!)

Feedback Expected:

  • Informal support and feedback during LIVE sessions, December 16 & 17.
  • Optional Post-Course Written Feedback Opportunities with Sona Charaipotra, and/or Dante Medema, and/or Trisha Tobias. Choose one for $100, two for $200, or three for $300.  Space is limited. Should you be interested in this opportunity, you will be invited to submit your work between January 8 – 12, 2024. Registration for post-course critiques will open immediately following the last LIVE session.
    • Dante Medema can review your pitch and query letter, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.
    • Sona Charaipotra can review the first chapter (up to 10 pages) of your work in progress, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.
    • Trisha Tobias can review your novel’s outline (up to 10 pages) for your work in progress, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.

It’s a Great Fit If:

  • You have an idea for a new novel. Prepare for your 2024 project with this intensive weekend.
  • You are a middle grade or young adult novelist, getting ready to work on a new project. Come learn strategies for building your plot for any genre and/or structure.
  • You quickly drafted a project, and are looking at a major revision. Maybe you drafted during the month of November, and now want to investigate the beats and outline of your project before digging into a major revision.
  • You write genre fiction, or contemporary. Story is story. Whatever you write, we can help.
  • You like the structure of a weekend intensive with all sessions taking place over the course of two days, with small group opportunities and large group lectures. Please note: If you cannot attend live, you will have access to the recordings until January 31, 2024.

Detailed Agenda

 

Part 1: Let's Start at the Beginning, What is a logline? (Saturday, December 16)

Saturday, December 16, 2023, 12 – 2pm Eastern (via Zoom)

Part 1: Let’s Start at the Beginning, What is a logline?

  • Welcome
  • Small Group Introductions: Share your name and a 2-3 sentence summary of your 2024 goals for this project
  • Session 1: “What’s a Logline and Pitch, and How to Nail It”
  • Offline work: Prepare your logline and pitch for our revision/expansion session

Break/Offline Work (2 – 3pm Eastern)

Part 2: 3-Act Structure (Saturday, December 16)

Saturday, December 16, 2023, 3-4:30pm Eastern (via Zoom)

Part 2: 3-Act Structure

  • Session 2: “Expanding Your Logline and Pitch Via 3 Act Structure”
  • Small group discussion: Using your homework, what do you see as revision or expansion of your 3-Act Structure (Dante, Sona, and Trisha will visit your small groups)
Part 3: Outlining & Your Goals (Sunday, December 17)

Sunday, December 17, 2023, 12 – 2pm Eastern (via Zoom)

Part 3: Outlining & Your Goals

  • In-Conversation: A Discussion on Outlining, facilitated by Trisha Tobias
  • Session 3: “Methods for Outlining and Creating a Roadmap for Plot”
  • Small group discussion: Character discovery as an engine for plot
  • Offline Work: Reflect on outlining and discoveries, what might work for you for this project?

Break/Offline Work  (2 – 3pm Eastern)

Part 4: Bringing it All Together (Sunday, December 17)

Sunday, December 17, 2023, 3 – 4:30pm Eastern (via Zoom)

Part 4: Bringing it All Together

  • Session 4: “Finalizing Your Roadmap for Your Book”
  • Session 5: “Writing as a Practice and Publishing as a Business”
  • Closing: Thank yous and guidelines for optional critiques

 

Optional: Post-Course Written Critique Opportunities (January 8 - 12, Submission; February 29 - March 16, Feedback)

Optional Post-Course Written Feedback Opportunities with Sona Charaipotra, and/or Dante Medema, and/or Trisha Tobias.

Registration for post-course critiques will open immediately following the last LIVE session.

Choose one for $100, two for $200, or three for $300.  Space is limited.

Should you be interested in this opportunity, you will be invited to submit your work between January 8 – 12, 2024.

  • Dante Medema can review your pitch and query letter, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.
  • Sona Charaipotra can review the first chapter (up to 10 pages) of your work in progress, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.
  • Trisha Tobias can review your novel’s outline (up to 10 pages) for your work in progress, providing written feedback on your submission. You will receive written feedback within 4-6 weeks of submission.
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

This intensive is best if you attend or watch all lectures. We recommend setting aside time to try the homework so that you can participate in the small group discussions during the program. (Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend 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 January 31, 2024.)

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.

How It Impacts Kids

Readers deserve the best! Take the time to prepare and plan your next novel so that you can bring the very best to your readers.

Testimonials from Our Community

“I have avoided outlining for years. These inspirational teachers taught me exciting ways to organize my novels.”

“I really appreciated their candid discussions and willingness to share so much about their writing process and the industry.”

“I love how well Dante, Sona, and Trisha complemented each other’s perspectives and styles. They also had such a warm rapport with each other, which set a friendly tone. Also, their expertise, and the usefulness of their instruction, was extraordinary. I found this workshop to be valuable and inspiring.”

“I appreciated how they went with the flow in order to answer all questions coming their way. And I enjoyed them jumping into small groups.”

“The intensity of the [format] left me feeling exhausted and empowered. Yes, it was a lot of information in a short amount of time, but it inspired me to get started now and not wait for the perfect moment to write.”

“Highly interactive, very supportive and incredibly talented authors sharing their craft, tips, tricks and more. So encouraging and inspiring along with practical advice and top tools for writing outlines and plotting.”

“The breakout groups were great. Giving time to review homework and connect was helpful. There was a real sense of community.”

“I really enjoyed the intensive weekend format of this workshop. The breakout rooms were handled seamlessly and their small size made discussion easy and useful.”

Meet the Faculty

Special Guests

DETAILS

December 16 - December 17

$299

Online

Access

When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two nights only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the evening of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.