would you like to see a menu? my 4 recommendations

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen Silver Bay, Adirondak Mountains in Lake George, NY

Photo by Vicky Lorencen
Silver Bay, Adirondak Mountains in Lake George, NY

Studying the menu at a new restaurant can be tantalizing. You scan the appetizers:  olive tapenade, baked brie and calamari, then peruse the main course options: lamb chops, tilapia, steak medallions, and finally the scrumptious desserts: peach pie, crème brulee or chocolate lava cake. So many choices. Sometimes it helps to ask your server for a recommendation.

Well, my charming writerly friends, I have a different menu of options to tempt you. I can personally attest to the high quality and value of each. You simply cannot make a bad choice (unlike that unfortunate experience with the ahi tuna sushi special. Sorry to bring that up again. Ew.). Any one of these will nourish your writing skills and expand your network (without expanding your waistband!) Because you can click the links to get all of the particulars, I’ll focus on my personal experience with each.

Highlights Foundation

Whether you write picture books, novels or non-fiction, you will find an outstanding collection of workshops with top-notch faculty hosted in the gorgeous natural surroundings of Pennsylvania. The Highlights team will treat you like gold and feed you like royalty. Presenters take a personal interest in your work and the small workshop sizes allow you to get to know the other participants and learn from them as well. Workshops are pricey, especially if you need to fly, but Highlights does offer scholarships, free shuttle service and makes the experience all-inclusive, so there are no extras to worry about beyond getting there. I loved it!

Vermont College of Fine Arts

Photo by Vicky Lorencen Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont

Photo by Vicky Lorencen
Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont

You probably already know about VCFA’s two-year low residency MFA program. But do you know there are also weekend workshops? What made this workshop a standout for me was the exuberantly positive atmosphere. The faculty–simply fabulous too. Truly. I came away feeling pretty darn giddy. I’m going again later this month and I can’t wait!

Falling Leaves/Green Leaves Master Class Retreats 

Moon over Lake George

Moon over Lake George

Hosted by the Eastern New York Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, these fall and spring weekends take place on magical Silver Bay in Lake George, New York. This retreat has an amazing participant:presenter ratio–35:5. It’s no surprise, spots fill quickly. This workshop will stretch you and give you a boost.

UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

This online program pairs you with an instructor and a small group of students. I took a course called “Creating Memorable Characters,” which included textbooks and novels to read, as well as the expected homework. Interacting with the instructor and with the other students who were from all over the planet made this course especially fun.

I’ll give you a moment to look over the menu. If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m happy to serve you. Bon appetit!

Hors d’oeuvres have always had a pathetic interest for me. They remind me of one’s childhood that one goes through wondering what the next course will be like–and during the rest of the menu one wishes one had eaten more of the hors d’oeuvres. ~ H.H. Munro

 

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