Novel Retreat Details


I’m not involved in Nancy Sharp Wagner’s retreats except as an overjoyed participant. All this information is for you to become familiar with this very unique way to learn to write a novel in an equally unique location.

Novel Secrets: A Novel Retreat in 3 Acts

Have you always wanted to write a Young Adult or Middle Grade Novel, but haven’t carved out the time to get it done? Do you have a draft of a novel written, but are looking for ideas and strategies to revise and strengthen it? Are you looking for critique partners? Would you like the chance to meet with an editor or an agent to pitch your novel and gain critical feedback about this novel in particular and the chidlren’s fiction market in general? All of this is possible if you attend Novel Secrets: A Novel Retreat in 3 Acts.

Unique in the world of Writing Retreats, the intent of this series it to help move you from the first inklings of an idea toward a publishable children’s novel in one year’s time. Advance preparation for each Act is required and the retreats are designed for maximum participation.

Join us for a Writing Conference like no other.

Act 1: First Draft Secrets with Elaine Marie Alphin

Elaine Marie Alphin is the author of more than 20 published books for children and young adult readers, many of them award-winners.The first retreat focuses on brainstorming techniques to get you started with the plotting, character development, and pacing of your novels. You will leave this retreat with a elaines-bookbasic outline of your novel and a plan for turning that outline into a first draft. The requirements for Retreat 1: Read Elaine’s book, Creating Characters Kids Will Love, published by Writers’ Digest Books.

Act 2: Revision Secrets with Darcy Pattison


Our second retreat will be led by Darcy Pattison. You will go home with strategies and tools for revising your novel, often a bigger chore than writing the first draft. Requirements to attend Retreat 2: 1) have a completed draft of a novel, 2) submit four copies of your manuscript to be read by the three other members of your group 3) agree to read the novels of your three other group members before the retreat, and 4) read Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Darcy Pattison served as thedarcys-book-cover1 Arkansas Regional Advisor for the SCBWI from 1991-96. In 1999, Darcy created the Novel Revision Retreat, which she now teaches nationwide. Her book “Novel Metamorphosis” is devoted to revision strategies and is highly recommended.

Act 3: Submission Secrets
“Sell”ebrating a Satisfactory Ending with a Fresh Beginning

The final retreat will feature both an editor and an agent. The focus for this retreat will be marketing strategies and submission secrets. We will discuss the process of letting go of this novel and starting a new project, as we revisit skills and strategies we have gained on our journey. Requirements to attend Retreat 3: 1) Attend at least one of the other two retreats. 2) Submit a revised draft of your novel for critique by your small group. 3) Submit a cover letter, a synopsis of your novel, and the first ten pages for critique by either the editor or agent

All of the Novel Retreats will be held at the St. Benedict Retreat Center, a smoke-free retreat and conference center located on Highway 15 north of Schuyler, Nebraska, approximately two hours from Omaha, Nebraska. Each participant will have his or her own private room. Meals and lodging are included in the cost. All rooms are fully air conditioned and have private bathrooms. An exercise room is available.

Openings are limited. Minimum participants required to run each retreat will be 12. Priority will be given to those individuals who register for all three retreats at one time. Read testimonials from past participants.

Check Nancy Sharp Wagner’s website for retreat dates, registration deadlines, program costs, cancellation policy, and the identity of the editor and agent scheduled to attend Act 3 … AND find out how you can get a $100 discount when you register!

Invest in your Writer Self! You’ll be glad you did!

What is keeping you from writing that novel for teenagers?

0 thoughts on “Novel Retreat Details

  1. dacostad

    Hey there Becky – the word for today is fear. Fear or Procrastination. That is why one can start a novel in the year 2000 and still only have 2 chapters..and yet write 60 captions for a blog. There. I admitted it. lol !

  2. Helen Ginger

    Thanks for letting me know about this event. It sounds great. I do a newsletter for writers so each week I’m searching for good conferences or events to tell my subscribers about. I’ll check out this one.

  3. beckycc

    dacostad … 60 captions for a blog IS writing! And who says a novel has to be more than two chapters long?! I think someone famous once said, “The only thing we have to fear is procrastination.” So everybody … off your butts and AVOID WRITING! But only for a minute. You can do it!

    You’re welcome, Helen. And thank YOU! Link back here to spread the word about these Novel Retreats. I can’t praise them enough.

  4. Pingback: Obama is a Doodler — Revision Notes

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