Whole Novel Historical: A Virtual Course for Historical 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 historical, or historically influenced 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 historical, or historically influenced novels.

 

  • Apply on or before May 16 (with final notifications on or before May 23)
  • Online presentations: June 15, June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13, July 27 (Thursdays, 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern); Tentative topics and schedule listed below.
  • Complete manuscript submissions due by July 9
  • Feedback letters delivered to writers by August 5
  • 60-minute, 1:1 Private Zoom Consultation: Scheduled at a mutually convenient time, August 9 – 11
  • 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 (August 8 – 12). 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 (July 9).

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 May 16. There is no fee to apply.

You will be notified of your acceptance status no later than May 23, 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 Historical: A Virtual Course for Historical Novelists features:

    • Rich presentations (Historical fiction foundations, character development, scene essentials, outlining & timelines, revision, historical research, 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 July 9.

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 August 5 and have a private consultation 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 are expected to read short submissions of fellow authors to prepare for small group discussions. (Word count will be limited with ample time to read and prepare.)
  • Informal feedback will occur throughout the presentations June 15 – August 11.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are writing historical, or historically influenced novels 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 July 9 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 June 15 – July 27 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 May 16.

You will be notified of your acceptance status no later than May 23, 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 July 9.

Online Course Week 1 (Starts June 15)
Thursday, June 15 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern: Introductions, Expectations, and Your Novel (Live)

  • Welcome with introductions (with a line from your WIP!)
  • Overview of course syllabus
  • Opening presentation: Historical Fiction Foundations 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
    • Please watch: How author-led workshopping works
Online Course Week 2

Thursday, June 22 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern Eastern: Characters (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: Deepen Your Knowledge of Characters in Historical Fiction with Nikki Shannon Smith
  • 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 (Deepening Character)
Online Course Week 3

Thursday, June 29 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern: Scene  & Setting (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: The Importance of Setting in Historical Fiction with Lyn Miller-Lachmann
  • 8pm – 8:30pm, Small group workshopping of Deepening Character 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

Thursday, July 6 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern: Timelines & Outlining (Live)

  • 7 – 8pm Eastern, Presentation: Timelines, Storyboards, & Back Outlining with Alisa Alering
  • 8pm – 8:30pm, Discussion: Submissions Due Soon

*WHOLE NOVEL (up to 80,000 words) due by July 9 at 7pm Eastern

In the virtual classroom:

  • Open discussion board on reading lists (Recommendations and questions)
Online Course Week 5

Thursday, July 13 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern: REVISION (Live)

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

In the virtual classroom:

  • Pre-Recorded Lecture
No Class on April 6

No Class on April 6

Online Course Week 6

Thursday, July 27 at 7:30pm – 9pm Eastern: Historical Novelist Panel (Live)

  • 7:30 – 8pm Eastern, Panel on Research (Tips & Experiences) facilitated by Gloria Muñoz
  • 8pm – 9pm, Open Q & A and Preparing for your Feedback Letter

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 August 5
  • Please watch: Preparing for your 1:1 consultation
  • Optional: What to bring to Highlights Foundation retreat
Online Course Week 8

1:1 Consultation: Scheduled at mutually convenient time August 9 – 11 (60-minutes)

Optional In-Person Retreat (August 8-12)

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 (August 8-12).

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 September 30, 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.”

DETAILS

June 15 - August 11

$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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