< Return to Workshops

DIY Repair Kit for Writers: Get Your Fixer-Upper Ready to Sell 2018 | September 30 – October 3, 2018

For published and pre-published authors who have a novel that needs to be renovated for sale.

Have a fixer-upper manuscript? One with good bones but in need of some TLC? Then this workshop is for you! Join authors Mitali Perkins and Susan Campbell Bartoletti as they guide you through renovation boot camp.

Each morning will begin with craft lessons focused on the foundational elements of your novel, like dialogue, character, and setting. Follow your craft sessions with mentor-directed evaluations of your work, turning from fundamental elements to big-picture questions. After muddling through the big questions, you will get to work, dividing your story scene by scene and starting your repair.

You will have feedback from your mentors and peers at every step of the way at this hands-on workshop for novelists ready to deconstruct and rebuild their manuscripts.

Susan says: This workshop will be DIY in the true DIY sense. Mitali and I will offer tools, insights, exercises, examples, and instructions for those who have written a rough draft of a manuscript and want some practical revision guidance.

Participants can expect large-group how-to lectures, smaller informal talks on craft, and writing exercises. They can expect time to work alone and apply the home repair tips so that at the end of our time together, they will have a blueprint for a stronger foundation. Because this is DIY, Mitali and I aren’t reading manuscripts in advance. But we will offer informal feedback, time to talk, and first-aid tips for mangled characters and plots.

While it’s ideal to have a complete manuscript for the workshop, we understand that participants know themselves as writers better than we do. If they feel they are at a stage in their manuscript where they would benefit from this workshop, we trust their judgment and will do our best to accommodate.

Mitali says: Please come and join us if you need fresh inspiration for an idea or a novel in progress. I promise you that Susan’s marvelous sessions will unblock you, and I’ll do my best to help, too. There’s something magical about writing in community while our Highlights Foundation hosts pamper us with delicious food, quiet, clean cabins, and peaceful scenery. We will start the weekend as acquaintances, continue as colleagues, and say goodbye as friends.

A former attendee of DIY shares her experience:

Faculty Blog Posts
Faculty Interview: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Faculty Spotlight: Mitali Perkins
Susan Campbell Bartoletti: The DIY Home Guide to Repair for Your Story
A Conversation With Mitali Perkins
Faculty Spotlight: Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Mitali Perkins

Preliminary Schedule:
Day 1
Arrival & check in
Optional Tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press

Appetizers & Dinner
After dinner: Introduction: DIY: Is This the Story You Meant to Write? Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Day 2
DIY: The Shape of Story, Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Novel Repair Exercises

Let Dialog Do the Work, Mitali Perkins
Sign up for small group workshopping or independent writing/revision time

Appetizers & Dinner
After dinner: Fireside chat: Consider the Stakes, Mitali and Susan discuss tension and stakes

Day 3
DIY: The -ior Lives of Our Characters

Setting: A Sense of Place with Mitali
Sign up for small group workshopping or independent revision writing time

Appetizers & Dinner
After dinner: Fireside chat: Improv and Play are part of REVISION, Mitali and Susan

Day 4

DIY: You Can’t Tinker a Novel Into Working
Q/A, Goal setting and final thoughts

Lunch & farewells

Faculty & Special Guests

"Mitali was an absolute pleasure to work with. She is so astute, so attentive, and so generous. She was able to consider the work I’d been agonizing over for months (and even years) and offer ideas that fit the work and steered me in exactly the right direction to improve it. I wish I could keep her in my pocket for when I’m stuck again! I was honored to work with her, and I hope to be able to do it again.”

"I was stuck, so stuck. My novel You Bring the Distant Near needed major revision and I was mired in the middle. That's when I attended Susan Campbell Bartoletti's seminar at Summer Camp. As she talked, so clearly and motivationally, I scribbled notes and then stayed up late in my peaceful cabin that night to write, revise, write. Later, I told Susan that attending her session had been like taking a literary laxative. We talked (sipping glasses of wine by the campfire, under the stars, you're going to love it), and I suggested we offer a version of this workshop as an extended session. In fact, I kind of begged. And that's how the upcoming DIY workshop originated."—Mitali Perkins