Whole Novel Genre Fiction: A Virtual Course for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Novelists

Online | Novels
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 a private consultation provided. This online program in particular is for writers of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and similar genre-specific novels.

Overview

Multi-Month Online Course with a Full Novel Critique Included

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 a private consultation provided. This online program in particular is for writers of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and similar genre-specific novels.

  • Apply on or before February 2 (with final notifications on or before February 9)
  • Online presentations: March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30, April 13 (Thursdays, 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern); Tentative topics and schedule listed below.
  • Complete manuscript submissions due by March 22
  • Feedback letters delivered to writers by April 20
  • 60-minute, 1:1 Private Zoom Consultation: Scheduled at a mutually convenient time, April 24 – April 26
  • The cost of the full course (including feedback letter, 1:1 consultation, lectures, and writing exercises) is $2,199.
  • There will be an optional in-person retreat to meet fellow writers at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center, at an additional cost. Enjoy your consultation in-person and make meaningful progress on your revisions (April 23 – April 27). Details and sign-up will be provided after acceptance into the course.
  • 16 participants max

Why Do I Need to Apply to this Program?

The Whole Novel Workshop is reserved for novelists who have made significant independent progress on their drafts and need a review of the “whole novel” to move forward in their revision goals.

As such, you will need to have a completed draft of your novel that matches the criteria for the course by the submission due date (March 22).

We ask that you apply to the course to make sure that the Whole Novel format is the best fit for your goals. Please submit:

  • The first 5 – 10 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop
  • A one-page synopsis or general outline
  • Tentative page count, workshop goals, and a short bio (including how you are connected to this project)

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, starting immediately through February 2.  There is no fee to apply.

You will be notified of your acceptance status no later than February 9, 2023, and if accepted, asked to pay a $500 non-refundable deposit and set up a payment plan or pay your registration in full. (You may also use a scholarship that you have been previously awarded to attend a Whole Novel program.)

The cost of the full course (including feedback letter, 1:1 consultation, lectures, and writing exercises) is $2,199.

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 and a private consultation, along with rich presentations specifically designed for novelists at this stage in their writing journey.

The Whole Novel Genre Fiction: A Virtual Course for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Novelists, features:

  • Rich presentations (Genre fiction analysis, world building, scene work, character development, revision, goal setting, and more!)
  • Writing exercises and small group workshopping
  • A feedback letter offering written insights and questions about your drafted novel (up to 80,000 words) to help you prioritize goals and next steps.
  • A 60-minute private consultation with your reader to discuss feedback, revisions, and next steps.
  • Connection opportunities with fellow writers.

Please note:

  • If accepted to the program, your full novel draft is due on or before March 22.

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 by April 20 and have a private consultation to discuss feedback and goals.
  • You will spend time with peers in small groups discussing and workshopping select writing assignments from the virtual classroom. You will be expected to read and engage with these short submissions. (Word count will be limited with ample time to read and prepare.)
  • You will have a 60-minute private consultation with your reader to discuss feedback, revisions, and next steps.
  • Informal feedback will occur throughout the presentations March 2 – April 20.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are writing science fiction, fantasy, horror (or similar) for middle grade or young adult readers. Your 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 March 22 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.
  • 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. This workshop takes place on Zoom with regular meetings on Thursday evenings March 2 – April 20 at 7pm Eastern. Can’t attend live? Presentations will be recorded. (Please note that 1:1 consultations and small group workshopping will not be recorded.)

Detailed Agenda and Important Dates

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Important Dates (Pre-Workshop)

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, starting immediately through February 2.

You will be notified of your acceptance status no later than February 9, 2023, and if accepted, asked to pay a $500 non-refundable deposit and set up a payment plan or pay your registration in full. (You may also use a scholarship that you have been previously awarded to attend a Whole Novel program.)

The cost of the full course (including feedback letter, 1:1 consultation, lectures, and writing exercises) is $2,199.

We ask that you apply to the course to make sure that the Whole Novel format is the best fit for your goals. Please submit:

  • The first 5 – 10 pages from the manuscript you wish to workshop
  • A one-page synopsis or general outline
  • Tentative page count, workshop goals, and a short bio (including how you are connected to this project)

Whole Novel Submission Deadline: A detailed cover letter (including questions for your faculty reader) and full novel draft (up to 80,000 words) are due no later than March 22

Online Course Week 1 (Starts March 2)
Thursday, March 2 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: Introductions, Expectations, and Your Novel (Live)

  • Welcome with introductions (with a line from your WIP!)
  • Overview of course syllabus
  • Opening presentation: Why Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror? with Alisa Alering

In the virtual classroom:

  • Open discussion board for pitches (3-5 sentences about your work-in-progress).
  • Suggested book list and required reading list opens.
  • Please watch: How author-led workshopping works
Online Course Week 2
Thursday, March 9 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: World Building (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: World Building with Intisar Khanani
  • 8pm – 8:30pm, Small group discussions: sharing pitches

In the virtual classroom:

  • Open discussion board on goal setting (What now? What next?)
  • Submission for next week’s small group (World Building)
Online Course Week 3
Thursday, March 16 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: Character Work (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: Crafting Multi-Dimensional Characters Through Arcs with Diana Rodriguez Wallach
  • 8pm – 8:30pm, Small group workshopping of World Building submissions

In the virtual classroom:

  • Preparing your WHOLE NOVEL submission with a detailed cover letter (holding on to what you love, opening to questions and feedback)
  • Faculty Readers assigned
Online Course Week 4
*WHOLE NOVEL (up to 80,000 words) due by March 22 at 7pm Eastern

Thursday, March 23 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: Let’s Write Together! (Live)

  • Class Needs: Writing Exercises with K.X. Song
  • Small Group Workshopping by Genre

In the virtual classroom:

  • Open discussion board on reading lists (Recommendations and questions)
Online Course Week 5
Thursday, March 30 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: REVISION (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: Revision 
  • 8pm – 8:30pm, Discussion: What it means to “step away” from the story.

In the virtual classroom:

  • Submission for next week’s small group (Dear Reader letter)
No Class on April 6
No Class on April 6
Online Course Week 6
Thursday, April 13 at 7pm – 8:30pm Eastern: Small Group Discussions (Live)

  • 7 – 7:30pm Eastern, Small group discussions: Dear Reader letters (discoveries, and ideas for revision)
  • 7:30pm – 8:30pm, Open Q & A and Preparing for your Feedback Letter with TBD

In the virtual classroom:

  • All discussions open
  • Please watch recordings of any sessions missed
Online Course Week 7
NO LIVE CLASS

In the virtual classroom:

  • Sign up for 60-minute, 1:1 Zoom consultation with faculty reader (*in-person for those attending optional retreat at the Highlights Foundation)
  • Feedback letter sent by April 20
  • Please watch: Preparing for your 1:1 consultation
  • Optional: What to bring to the optional Highlights Foundation retreat
Online Course Week 8 (Ends April 26)
1:1 Consultation: Scheduled at a mutually convenient time April 24 – 26 (60-minutes)
Optional In-Person Retreat (April 23-27)
There will be an optional in-person retreat to meet fellow writers at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center, available at an additional cost.

Enjoy your consultation in-person and make meaningful progress on your revisions (April 23 – April 27).

Details and sign-up will be provided after acceptance into the course.

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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

In addition to the deadlines and presentations (see above) participants will be asked to reserve time to work on their novels, commit to small group workshopping, and schedule one, 60-minute, 1:1 consultation with their faculty reader.

Aside from the 1:1 sessions and the small groups sessions, we will make every effort to record and post presentations 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 May 31, 2023.

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

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.

Testimonials 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.”

Special Guests

DETAILS

March 2 - April 26

$2199

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.

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

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