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Winter Creative Writing Workshop | One Year Adventure Novel

Dec. 30, 2019 – Jan. 4, 2020

*PLEASE NOTE: All information below this point is for the 2019 event. Details for 2020 will be announced in the fall.*

The Winter Creative Writing Workshop is only open to students 18 and older who use The One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) under a valid license. Your curriculum license number is required to apply.

It’s a fantastic week of teaching sessions on advanced writing topics, one-on-one mentoring, and fun with other students. Whether you’re a long-time member of the One Year Adventure Novel creative community or looking to attend a workshop for the first time, the Winter Creative Writing Workshop is a stimulating and non-intimidating way to take your writing to the next level.

“I now understand why [students] call the workshops a second home, a Rivendell, a Narnia, a ‘real-life version of the Forum,’ and… the ‘shortest weeks of the year.'”

Read Jim’s blog post on experiencing the Winter Workshop for the first time »

We also recommend exploring our Summer Creative Writing Workshop!


All Winter Creative Writing Workshop students and staff stay on-site at Heartland Center, about 15 miles from the Kansas City international airport.

The center offers comfortable living arrangements and 3 meals per day (includes dinner Friday night and breakfast Wednesday morning). Rooms are hotel-style and shared.

We are unable to accommodate students who want to stay off-site but attend sessions and critiques. We cannot make exceptions. Accompanying parents may, of course, choose to stay off-site if they would prefer.


December 28, 2018–January 2, 2019

Friday, Dec. 28 – Check-in begins at 3:00 p.m. Do not arrive on-site before 1:00 p.m. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. A short meeting will follow, at 7:00 p.m., to review the rules and the week ahead, followed by fun, visiting, and games.

Saturday, Dec. 29 – 9:00 a.m. through evening session

Sunday, Dec. 30 – 9:00 a.m. service followed by sessions through evening

Monday, Dec. 31 – 9:00 a.m. through evening session; followed by New Year’s Eve festivities

Tuesday, Jan. 1 – 9:00 a.m. through evening session

Wednesday, Jan. 2 – Breakfast. Check out of dorms by 10:00 a.m. Leave Heartland Center by noon.

Special Message about the 2019 Winter Workshop

Over and over again, we hear from our older, college-age students that the Winter Workshop is a chance to connect with themselves as creative people in a period of their lives when there isn’t much time for creativity. They treasure the time with other writers and they appreciate the motivation critique groups and mentor sessions give to get some new writing done.

We’re deeply honored to serve in this role: facilitating writing time and rejuvenation for writers making the transition from teen writer to adult writer. We want to make more room for students to make soul-satisfying creative progress. We would love for each student to leave this Winter Workshop with breakthrough in their project, new ideas, or even new writing.

To this end, we are replacing the second morning session with three options.

  1. Writing Time – Two lounges will be set aside with writing desks and couches, etc. for silent writing time
  2. Brainstorming Session – In-depth small-group discussion of one student’s novel synopsis and outline (two pages, double-spaced; come prepared with 7 printed copies if you would like yours to be considered for discussion.)
  3. Collaborative Writing Exercise – The Great Hall will host various writing prompts and activities planned in advance by our team.

Each day, students will be able to choose which of the three options they’re most interested in.


Daniel Schwabauer – “Mr. S.”

“Mr. S.” is the creator of The One Year Adventure Novel, Cover Story, and Byline creative writing curricula and the author of Runt the Brave, Runt the Hunted, and The Curse of the Seer. Mr. Schwabauer is a compelling speaker and loves to share his passion for Story.

Daniel has taught in many venues including various writers’ conferences, home school conferences, classrooms, and co-ops.

He was once asked if he would like to be the next C.S. Lewis. He replied, “I’d rather train a thousand C.S. Lewises.”

He has a Masters in creative writing from the University of Kansas.

Prof. Mark Wilson

Although he says of himself that he’s “about as interesting as Bilbo before his adventures,” the One Year Adventure Novel community begs to differ. Mark (B.A., Northwest Nazarene College; M.A., Washington State University) teaches literature and writing at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay.

He has extensive knowledge of Tolkien and British literature.

Mark and his wife Teckla live in Myrtle Point, Oregon, where they enjoy hiking and exploring the beauty of their state. Mark also has a keen interest in studying the flowers and fauna in whatever area he finds himself, and often journeys with his Dobermann taking walks around the town.

Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie Morrill lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three kids. She writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world—girls like Piper Sail, in Stephanie’s latest release, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, a jazz-age mystery set in 1920s Chicago; and Evalina Cassano, heroine of her next book, Within These Lines, a WW II era novel releasing March 2019!

Previous books from Stephanie include the Ellie Sweet series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series. Stephanie enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog,

To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out

Jenn Bailey

Jenn receives rave reviews from students after teaching at our Workshops; so we keep inviting her back! Jenn is often lauded for her practical, hands-on teaching style; we know you’ll be enriched by hearing her.

Jenn Bailey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A Friend for Henry, her first picture book, is releasing February 2019. Jenn has spoken at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators national conferences in New York City and Los Angeles and serves as an editor at Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens. A blue-ribbon pie baker and an eager traveler, she lives in Kansas City.

We appreciate Jenn’s enthusiasm–not only for her craft–but for sharing what she’s learned with younger writers!

Workshop Features

At the Winter Creative Writing Workshop, you will enjoy much more than advanced teaching sessions! We encourage you one on one and face to face, and create a small group environment where you can get input on your creative work!

Mentor Session

All students receive a 30-minute, one-on-one mentoring session with one of our staff or speakers. We want to encourage you in your specific writing goals and help you identify any areas you may want to focus on.

Students with a Speaker | Winter Creative Writing Workshop | One Year Adventure Novel

Students benefit from conversations with Professor Mark Wilson after a teaching session.

The page where you pay your student balance provides a place for you to upload a 2,500–3,000-word excerpt of your writing to form the basis of your session. If you don’t upload an excerpt, we will base your mentor session on the creative writing sample you submit with your application.

Your excerpt must be double-spaced, in 12-point Courier New or Times New Roman, and may be fiction or creative nonfiction, but not poetry. Include your full name, curriculum license number, and the genre at the top. It can be an excerpt from a larger work as long as it is easy to follow. If this is the case, start with a brief note about where the excerpt falls in the narrative.

Critique Groups

All students are assigned a critique group. Groups are typically comprised of 7 people, including the leader.

Your critique group will meet Saturday–Tuesday. You will need to bring 7 copies of your excerpts, compliant with standard manuscript formatting (12-point Courier New or Times New Roman font; double spaced; see The Compass, lesson 77 for more info). Front-and-back printing is permitted for the Winter Workshop.

• Please note that we do not have a printer on-site, so you must print your excepts before you arrive. You may bring work of fiction or nonfiction, including short stories, but not poetry.

• Your excerpts need not all be from the same writing project. The total word count of your combined excerpts should be between 6’000 words (roughly 24 pages) and 12’000 words (roughly 48 pages).

• Your excerpts need not be neatly divided into 4 equal parts, and you are also allowed to bring selections from more than one writing project. Although your group may run out of time to cover all of what you bring, we want you to come prepared.


We may require that students complete some short readings. These will be printed in the workshop program, for easy reference, but we will also make them available to students ahead of time if we can. We know some of you prefer to read before you arrive.

Resource Table

Once again, we will have a Writer’s Resource Table. We will set out writer help books that you can take a look at over the course of the workshop. These resource books are not for sale; the idea is to offer an opportunity to figure out if any would be helpful to check out of your library or purchase elsewhere.

If you have writing resources you would like fellow writers to have the benefit of perusing, please bring them! Remember to write your name in the inside cover. Be assured any book(s) you bring will be restricted to the lobby area.


The 2019 Winter Creative Writing Workshop is only open to persons 18 or older by December 28, 2018. We cannot make exceptions.

Family Members

Parents may attend the workshop for free. Parents are not obligated to stay or eat on-site, but are welcome to buy meal and accommodation tickets!

Siblings may NOT attend unless they are participating as a registered student 18 or older—even if the sibling wants to accompany their parent.

No Peanuts | Summer Creative Writing Workshop

This is a 100% NUT-FREE event.

Some attendees have severe, life-threatening peanut/nut allergies.

Thank you for your understanding and compliance!

Meals & Lodging


Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner Saturday morning through Tuesday night, PLUS dinner on Friday night and breakfast Wednesday morning.

When you make your balance payment (student) or purchase a meal ticket (parent), you will have an opportunity to list dietary restrictions and food allergies of any kind.


See photos of Heartland lodges here »

Rooms in the Girls’ Dorm have two double beds, two occupants to a bed. Rooms in the Boys’ Dorm have three twin beds. If you are willing to pay for more than one spot in a room, we may be able to give you your own double bed or your own room, depending on space. Please share your request with us by email.

Each room has its own full bathroom. Bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels are provided.

Room Requests

We no longer take roommate requests by email.

You will have an opportunity to request one or more roommates when you pay your student balance (student) or purchase an accommodation ticket (parent). The Boys’ Dorm is 3 to a room of 3 twin beds; the Girls’ Dorm is 4 to a room of 2 full-size beds. Matching roommate requests must be submitted by all parties.

• Parents may pay for more than one accommodation spot if they do not wish to share a full-size bed (Girls’ Dorm) or room.

• If you are coming as a married couple and wish to room together, please email about availability. It may be possible, but will depend on the number of attendees.

• Same-gender parents are roomed with the student unless otherwise indicated on the ticket forms.

Airport Shuttle Service

The $30 optional airport shuttle provides pick-up service from Kansas City International Airport (flight code MCI) to the workshop on Friday, December 28, and return service to KCI on Wednesday, January 2.

General service times:

Friday, Dec. 28: 1:00–6:00 p.m., Central
Wednesday, Jan. 2: through 11:45 a.m., Central

We will not leave you stranded at the airport if your flight is delayed, etc., but please book your flights with these run times in mind so that you do not miss out on any activities, or spend hours waiting in the airport. The Kansas City airport does not have many food options for long waits.

To take advantage of this service you must purchase your ticket by December 15.

• Unlike years past, you will enter your flight information when you purchase your ticket, in an online form.

• When making flight reservations, please note that KCI is short for Kansas City International, but “MCI” is the official flight code.

• If you only need the shuttle service in one direction, please purchase the shuttle ticket (type “N/A” in non-applicable fields), and then email to request a 50 percent refund.

• If you have any questions about flight scheduling, please contact us prior to purchasing your flight tickets.

• Shuttle service may be handled by a reputable third party. We will try to coordinate pick-up and return times with your schedule, but you may encounter some wait time at the airport.



Registration + lodging + meals ……….. $595

• The price includes a workshop t-shirt.
• Students must make a fully-refundable $100 deposit to apply. The remaining $495 is due by November 20.

See How to Apply Below >


** There is also a $1.00 logistical fee because the parent ticket form requires a baseline price. **

Lodging ……………….. $160
Meal plan …………….. $175

The Galadriel Scholarship

Galadriel-Scholarship-transparent-bgA member of the extended One Year Adventure Novel family has created a special fund to help one student come to the Winter Creative Writing Workshop: $300 toward the costs!

We have named the scholarship after the Lady Galadriel because Galadriel of Lothlorien gave thoughtful gifts to each member of the fellowship according to their need. The Winter Workshop has sometimes been compared to visiting Lothlorien (as the Summer Workshop’s been compared to visiting Rivendell); what better way to name this scholarship? The anonymous lady who has made this gift (the same person who funded two $300 scholarships last year) says that this is her way of “giving back for all the countless times someone came to my rescue.”

This scholarship is intended to help a student who demonstrates financial need. If you aren’t sure whether your financial hardship is serious enough to warrant consideration, apply anyway. There is no harm in applying. The deadline to be considered is 11:59 p.m. Central Time, November 1 (formerly November 6). We will communicate decisions by November 15.

The Dúnedain Scholarship

Dunedain-Scholarship-logo-transparent-BGAn anonymous group of students has completely funded the Winter Workshop costs, including a small travel stipend, for a student who has gone out of their way to help others without expectations of returns!

They named the scholarship after the Dúnedain. “Rangers shrouded in hooded cloaks arriving at the last rays of dusk, the Dúnedain came to the aid of Aragorn when least expected,” the group wrote. “His kinsmen and fellow guardians of hope, they stood staunch in the face of the Army of the Dead and rode with him all the way to Pellenor Fields. The Dúnedain were rangers of mystery, helping those in need without expectation of return. Our own Dúnedain … understand the immeasurable refuge Imladris is to those weary and worn. Imladris was a haven for them, and now they hope to make it a haven for others.”

Hannah McManus

Dúnedain Scholarship Recipient

Hannah M photo

Hannah is a dedicated writer with a huge heart. She has been part of The One Year Adventure Novel since 2008! We asked Hannah about why she has invested so much in the community and what she would tell someone who wants to do the same.

“Writing can be a lonely, solitary path. Not because all writers are introverts (they’re not), but because it seems like society’s picture of an ideal author is someone who is holed up in a little log cabin in the middle of nowhere, clacking out manuscripts on an old typewriter. While I can’t deny that there is a level of appeal in that idea, writing takes teamwork. It takes a community, a band of friends, a fellowship. Because writing comes from our hearts, we can sometimes spend too much time in our own heads and forget that we have more in common with other people than we think. … I know firsthand just how hard and isolating it can be… Honestly, I never made the conscious decision to “give back” to the OYAN community. I found a place where I was accepted and encouraged to be who I am, and I want to help make this community an even better one. It’s not as hard as you think it is. I get it. I’m an introvert with an annoying heap of social anxiety. Talking to people—opening up—is hard and scary. But… it’s as simple as just being a friend.”

Scholarship Fund

We are not able to offer scholarships beyond stewarding the Galadriel Scholarship and the Dúnedain Scholarship; however, we are always thrilled to receive donations that we can pass on to students, if you feel led to give! Whether you donate $10, $25, or $250, 100 percent of donations go to students.

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are issued for cancellations made by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 30, 2018.

After November 30, and until 10 days prior to the event, we refund everything but your deposit.

As of 10 days prior to the event, no refunds are offered.

How to Apply

Apply and make $100 deposit by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 1, 2018.

This year the application questions are part of the $100 deposit ticket form. You must apply even if you have been accepted for a previous Winter Workshop.

The deposit will be refunded in full if we are unable to accept your application. If you prefer to pay your student balance at the same time as you make your deposit, you may. If we are unable to accept you as a student, we will refund all payment in full.

About the Application and Deposit Form

1. Your valid curriculum license number is required to submit. Please email with your name and shipping address if you have lost your license number.

2. We require a submission of creative writing in PDF format. The file you upload must contain your full name. This piece must be 2,500–3,000 words, double-spaced, in 12-point Courier New or Times New Roman, and may be creative fiction or nonfiction, but not poetry. Include your full name, curriculum license number, and the genre at the top. It can be an excerpt from a larger work as long as it is easy to follow, and you begin with a brief note to indicate where the excerpt falls in the narrative.

You need to have this PDF ready before completing the online application. You will not be permitted to submit your online application without uploading this writing sample.

3. The application form also asks for a one-paragraph explanation of your desire to attend the Winter Workshop. You may wish to prepare an answer to this question before completing the online form, so that you can paste a thoughtful response into the space provided.

4. You will also need to upload a photo that shows your face. We will only use the photo to help us get to know you; it won’t be made public. (Yes, you need to upload a photo even if we know you. We still want to have your photo in our event database. We like to see everyone’s faces while we prepare!)

We will contact you about your acceptance within 15 business days of receiving your application.

After Acceptance

STUDENTS: Pay your student balance by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 20, 2018.

When you pay your student balance, you also:

• request roommates (optional)
• upload a PDF scan of your Waiver Form (required)
upload an excerpt for your mentor session (optional; if you don’t upload one, we’ll just use the creative writing sample you submitted when you applied).

If you do not pay your balance by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 20, your spot will be forfeited and all payment refunded. Please note that we can sometimes work with unusual circumstances if you communicate with us.

Please DO NOT email or mail us your Waiver Form. You must upload a PDF scan to your student balance payment.

PARENTS: Pay for your lodging and/or meal plan by 11:59 p.m. Central Time, on November 20, 2018.

Parents attend free, but may purchase tickets for a meal plan and accommodation.

How do I get shuttle transportation?

If you are flying, and will need transportation from and/or back to the airport from Heartland Center, please pay for a shuttle ticket by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on December 15.

Video or audio recording of any part of the sessions is strictly prohibited. This includes cell phone and pocket-camera videos. Please respect this policy.

Videos taken during free time are permitted as long as all participants agree to be filmed. (Photos are welcome.)

Places of Interest (for parents)

The Country Club Plaza – KC

The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

Union Station

Union Station | Kansas City Museum

Science City – for kids

Arabia Steamboat Museum

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Kansas City Jazz Museum: The Blue Room

Toy & Miniature Museum of KC

American Royal (rodeo, horse shows, etc.)

The John Wornall House Museum

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