Novel Beginnings: Building Strong Foundations for Your Novel and Your Career 2019

About This Event


Get feedback on your novel AND guidance about your writing career from two experienced authors with great teaching and editing experience.

Nothing is more important than laying strong foundations for both your novel and your writing career. Just as the choices you make at the start of your novel will have ripple effects throughout the entire book, the time you invest in establishing what’s important to you as an author will resonate throughout your entire writing journey. Our faculty will help you on your road to discovery as you lay down the cornerstones of your novel and your career.

What You’ll Learn

Get answers to questions like these:

Is your idea strong enough to sustain a whole novel?

Are the pages you’ve written thus far compelling?

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 books get returned with a rejection letter and which submissions translate into a sale?


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 one-on-one critique with a faculty member.

There will be sessions with guest editors.

There will be faculty and guest presentations on plot, character, conflict, the publishing process, and how to avoid common mistakes.

Who Should Attend

Anyone interested in writing novels for children and wanting to know how to get started.

Writers with a novel-in-progress who want expert feedback.

Those with a finished novel who want expert feedback.


Demystifying the Publishing Process

Getting to the Heart of Your Character

Creating the Strongest Plot Possible

Individual One-on-One Critiques with Faculty

Most Common Writing Mistakes & How to Fix Them

What to Know NOW to Build a Strong Career

Writing Exercise: Writing Your Author Manifesto

Group critiques


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.


“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 it’s 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 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.”

“Kelly and Clara 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. I would take another workshop with them in a second.”

Thank you!

We're glad you've joined our retreat community. See you around :)

Return to my event ×

Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

Relax & deepen my yoga practice! Kristin

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

Don't have an account? Sign up.
Or connect with Facebook

Already have an account? Log in.
Or connect with Facebook