Making Magic: Writing and Refining Fantastical and Otherworldly Stories 2020

  • Highlights Foundation Highlights Foundation
  • Pocono Mountains Municipal, Coolbaugh Township, PA, USA
  • Apr 19 - 22, 2020 (4 days)

About This Event

A special workshop with Anna-Marie McLemore and Nova Ren Suma.

Join Us To:

Deepen the magic in your middle grade or young adult novel with this generative writing workshop. Hear in-depth craft lectures from experienced faculty authors. Generate new writing with writing exercises and prompts. Meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals. Have an optional round-table critique of 20 pages from your manuscript.

What You'll Learn:

Do you write fiction with a magical or fantastical bent? Young adult and middle grade fiction writers are welcome to join two acclaimed authors of otherworldly and magical novels--Anna-Marie McLemore and Nova Ren Suma--for a workshop meant to inspire and deepen the magic in your own stories. The focus will be on exploring craft questions and on offering opportunities and sparks to produce new work. You will have a one-to-one with Anna-Marie or Nova, and an optional roundtable critique of your work if you choose. You will:

Hear detailed craft talks from faculty, and special guest Emily X.R. Pan, about writing magical stories.

Get inspired by craft discussions and readings.

Generate new writing during magical writing exercises and prompts.

Participate in Q&As with authors who write fantastical works.

Hear editor Elise Howard provide a session on editing magical fiction with time for you to ask marketing and submission questions.

Have time to write and retreat according to your own goals.

Spend evenings and mealtimes with a magical community.

Meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals.

Have an optional round-table critique of 20 pages of your manuscript.

Attend If:

You write fiction with a magical or fantastical bent. Whether you're exploring fantasy or magical realism, surrealism or paranormal fiction, or stories that defy labels, this generative writing workshop will help you strengthen your work.

You are a pre-published or published middle grade or young adult fiction writer. If your fiction holds magic in any of its numerous forms, writers of any experience level are welcome.

You'd like meaningful feedback on your work. You'll meet one-to-one with a faculty mentor to discuss your writing and goals, and have the opportunity to have a round-table critique of 20 pages of your manuscript. You'll participate in a Q&A with a guest editor, too.

You'd like to generate some fresh ideas--or begin working on something new. With craft discussions, readings, writing exercises and prompts, as well as free writing time, you'll be filled with creative energy!

You're an alum of other magical workshops. If you have taken one of of these workshops you may find this course of special interest: Books with Bite; Retell, Revisit, Reimagine; Anti-heroes and Villains; Writing the Unreal; Beginners Class in World Building and World Conjuring.


Our workshops typically include faculty presentations, hands-on exercises, specialty topic sessions, some level of feedback, and retreat time for working on your own projects. Although we don't have a finished agenda for this course yet, see a sample agenda here to get an idea of what to expect.


On Writing the Dark and Twisted

5 Ways to Reclaim Your Creative Joy

Step Away From Your Manuscript & Shake Things Up With Writers’ Bingo

Breaking Through Those Creative Blocks

Write What Scares You

Without a Great Villain, There Are No Great Heroes

8 Articles to Help You Write a Kidlit Novel

Faculty Interview: Julie Dao and Anna-Marie McLemore


"Anna-Marie McLemore (my mentor) is the best writing mentor I've ever had. She understood the vision for my book and made it clear she wanted to help me move forward in the writing and publishing process."

"Working with Nova is a gift. Her insight (always gently given) is so clear, encouraging, and focused, it motivates you to polish your story until you can practically see your reflection in it. She makes this step of the writing journey both a proud and awe-inspiring experience.”--Sunni Yuen

“Nova’s calm, thoughtful style of teaching kept the workshop comments constructive, encouraging, and enthusiastic.”--Susan Crispell

Scholarships Available

Three scholarships are available for this workshop:

Full tuition

Half tuition

Partial tuition

Application deadline is January 30, 2020. Scholarships will be announced February 29, 2020.

Click here to apply!

For more information about scholarships, click here.

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.
Get full details...

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