DIY Repair Kit for Writers: Get Your Fixer-Upper Ready to Sell 2018

About This Event

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.

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

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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