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Novel Beginnings: Building Strong Foundations for Your Novel and Your Career 2018 | June 21 – June 24, 2018

Get feedback on your novel AND guidance about your writing career from two experienced author-editor-teachers, an editor and an agent.

This course is for you if:

  • You are interested in writing novels for children and want to know how to get started.
  • You have a novel in progress, and want expert feedback.
  • You have a finished novel, and want expert feedback.

Key elements of this course are:

  • You will be able to submit up to 50 pages of your manuscript, and faculty will give you both line comments and an editorial letter.
  • You will have a personal one-on-one critique with a faculty member.
  • Sessions with guest editors
  • Faculty and guest presentations on plot, character, conflict, the publishing process and how to avoid common mistakes.

Get your questions answered!

  • Is your idea strong enough to sustain a whole novel?
  • Are the pages you’ve written thus far compelling, or do they fall flat?
  • How can you tell if you’re on the right track or wasting your precious time?
  • Are there choices you could be making now that might better set your book up for success?
  • How do agents and editors decide which book gets returned with a rejection letter and which submission translates into a sale?

Nothing is more important than laying a solid foundation. Invest now, and reap the results in all your future writing!

Faculty blog posts:
Faculty Interview: K.L. Going and Clara Gillow Clark
K.L. and Clara share their experiences and their process for beginning a novel.

K.L. Going: Is Your Novel Opening as Strong as It Can Be?
What makes the first 50 pages of your novel so important?

Novel Beginnings with K.L. Going and Clara Gillow Clark
Clara and K.L. talk about their writing process and what they wish they would have known when they started out.

Preliminary schedule:
Day 1
Optional tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press
Hors d’oeuvres, meet-and-greet, dinner
After dinner show-and-tell presentation: Demystifying the Publishing Process

Day 2
Presentation: Getting to the Heart of Your Character
Presentation: Creating the Strongest Plot Possible
Visit with Guest Editor
Individual One-on-One Critiques with Faculty
After dinner workshop: Character Speed Dating

Day 3
Presentation: Most Common Writing Mistakes & How to Fix Them
Presentation: What to Know NOW to Build a Strong Career
Writing Exercise: Writing Your Author Manifesto
Individual One-on-One Critiques with Faculty

Day 4
Group critiques
Wrap-up Q&A


Faculty & Special Guests

"Kelly and Clara provided an excellent balance of enthusiasm for whatever stage we were at in our writing and the encouragement to improve."

"Kelly and Clara provided both professional and emotional support for the author embarking on a strenuous journey: writing a novel. They were honest about the ups and downs of the life of a writer, they discussed both the art and the industry, and they listened with true interest to our questions and concerns."

"Of all the workshops I have attended in the U.S., this one has been the most meaningful. Authors Kelly and Clara know what's it like to be at the beginning stage of authorship. They have a tender and warm style of instruction that invites beginners to overcome manuscript challenges. Personally, I had a sense of belonging at Highlights because of the two instructors and the Highlights setting. Further, Clara's review of my first manuscript with its challenges was so thoughtful and caring that it helps me focus on what I have to do to succeed without stress. Kelly's comments too were positive and encouraging. Thank you so much. I appreciate the willingness of these two author instructors---Clara and Kelly---to share their own personal experiences and also their honesty about the publishing world. "

"Clara and Kelly were amazing! They are both accomplished writers, wonderful teachers and lovely people. Both were willing to spend as much time with me as I needed to talk about my project. I loved being able to bounce my ideas off both of them. I would take another workshop with them in a second."