Thursday, March 14, 2013

Write children's or teen fantasy? Alt history? Sci-fi? Magical Realism? Paranormal? Horror? Bring it to the Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy

This is the fourth year for the Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy, and we're hoping it will be better than ever. Join me, Anne Ursu, Franny Billingsley, and editor Deborah Kovacs of Walden Pond Press and others for a magical* week at the Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshop in May.

Who should go to the WNW in Fantasy?

Ever go to a critique group and hear things like: "I don’t really get all this stuff about wizards," or "Dogs don't talk!" or "Aliens are sort of weird," or "Does this person really need to be a ghost?" or "Why do you need all this time travel stuff? It makes my head hurt." Well, now's your chance to spend a week with people who will take your work as seriously as you do.

Anne Ursu says: Anyone who has a complete or near-complete draft of a middle grade or young adult fantasy who wants a thorough critique of their manuscript and help making a detailed plan for revision should come.

We’re using fantasy as an umbrella term for all kinds of speculative fiction and fiction that bends reality. We want your dragons, but also your sci-fi, magical realism, fairy tale retellings, books about real kids with strange powers, books with monsters and ghosts and talking squirrels, adventure stories with magic maps, stories with a bit of time travel. If you’re wondering if something qualifies as fantasy, then it probably does.

What can I expect from my critique?

AU: You’ll get a detailed editorial letter from your faculty mentor along with a marked-up manuscript. We read your manuscripts very carefully and respond thoroughly in order to help you make the book what it wants to be. When you get to the workshop, you’ll have a one-on-one meeting with your mentor to further discuss your book, and another one at the end of the week to discuss a plan for revision.

What else happens over the week?

AU: Mornings are free time at the workshop—you’ll have plenty of time to write, or take walks in the woods and think, or set up appointments with the faculty or grad assistants. In the afternoon, we’ll have lectures on craft and on publishing, and discussions on writing and on the marketplace. And evening is more writing time. And of course, there’s plenty of time to sit around and talk with your fellow writers.

My favorite part of the workshop has always been getting to know the people who come. There’s something so nice about being surrounded by people who write kids and YA fantasy—something the real world doesn’t generally allow. Writing is a lonely business, but at the WNW you become part of a community. We’re really looking forward to meeting everyone.

What else can you expect: awesome people, delicious food, a private cabin in the middle of an idyllic setting, friends for life. People that have attended the Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy have gone on to attend MFA programs and to publish articles, novels and picture books. And that's pretty magical*.

From the Highlights Foundation Website:

Founded in 2006, this session of the Whole Novel Workshop is specifically designed for those working in the fantasy and speculative genres. This unique program offers the one-on-one attention found in degree programs, but without additional academic requirements, lengthy time commitments, or prohibitive financial investments. Our aim is to focus on a specific fantasy work in progress, moving a novel to the next level in preparation for submission to agents or publishers. Focused attention in an intimate setting makes this mentorship program one that guarantees significant progress.

You'll find all the details here.