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The 2021 workshop is going virtual!


Winter Creative Writing Workshop | One Year Adventure Novel

Dec. 30, 2020 – Jan. 4, 2021

The info below is from the previous year.

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 30, 2019–January 4, 2020

Monday, Dec. 30 – 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.

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

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

Thursday, Jan. 2 – 9:00 a.m. through evening session

Friday, Jan. 3 – 9:00 a.m. through evening session

Saturday, Jan. 4 – Breakfast. Check out of dorms by 10:00 a.m. Leave Heartland Center by noon.

Special Message about the 2020 Winter Workshop

The new structure that we tried last year was a hit! Feedback was very positive, so we are doing the same thing again, replacing the second morning session slot 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 Master’s in creative writing from the University of Kansas.

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, was released in February, 2019, and is now available to order! 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!

To connect with Jenn, check out

Addison Lucchi

Addison Lucchi works as an Instructional and Research Librarian / Assistant Professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University and holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. Addison loves providing interactive, engaging instruction – and, in addition to teaching information literacy in his role at MNU, he also teaches business and leadership classes for high schoolers. He is no stranger to us or to enjoying fiction: a homeschool grad, he took One Year Adventure Novel in the very first pilot class and majored in English Literature as an undergrad. When he is not teaching, studying, or engaged in library work, Addison loves playing his upright bass for local orchestras and ensembles, writing fiction and non-fiction, and serving in global and local missions. He always appreciates a clever pun. Follow Addison at

Brynn Fitzsimmons

Brynn-Fitzsimmons-cropped borderAn “OYANer” since high school, Brynn Fitzsimmons is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Kansas where she is pursuing her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition.

Brynn is an experienced freelance writer/editor and worked as a professional journalist before she decided to go back to school for postgraduate study. Her academic research focuses on using the concepts of Story to understand all kinds of writing, and she often uses OYAN concepts to teach academic writing.

She also uses her love of Story to serve her community through a storytelling board game program at a local juvenile detention center as well as through work with Prolepsis KC, a non-profit organization that supports community service through the arts.

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 2020 Winter Creative Writing Workshop is only open to persons 18 or older by December 30, 2019. 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 Tuesday morning through Friday night, PLUS dinner on Monday night and breakfast Saturday 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 DON’T 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 Monday, December 30, and return service to KCI on Saturday, January 4.

General service times:

Monday, Dec. 30: 1:00–6:00 p.m., Central
Saturday, Jan. 4: 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 16.

• 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


Donate to the Fund

We ourselves are not able to offer scholarships beyond stewarding funds that are donated, including the Dúnedain Scholarship. 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.

Applying for a Scholarship

We have a single application form for any and all Winter Workshop scholarships. If you apply, you will be considered for any funds you are eligible for. Financial need is often a consideration, but please apply even if you aren’t sure how your need might compare with someone else’s. There is no harm in applying!

The deadline to be considered is 11:59 p.m. Central Time, November 1. 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 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.”

All scholarship applicants are automatically considered.

How to Apply

Apply and make $100 deposit by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 15, 2019 (extended deadline).

Unusually, we still have some open spots after the application deadline of November 1, 2019 for this coming Winter Workshop. We have decided to extend the deadline through 11:59 p.m. on November 15. If you hoped to attend, but meeting the deadline was an obstacle, please apply before the 15th or get in touch about with us your situation. We would love to help you make it!

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, 2019.

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, 2019.

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 16.

Note on Workshop Content

The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum is nonsectarian, and is approved for purchase with public funding. It is a writing program, not religious instruction. However, the instructor himself is a Christian, and everything taught in the course is compatible with a biblical worldview. The workshop speakers come from a Christian perspective; and some of the teaching sessions may include Christian themes and/or references.

Being a Christian is not a requirement for attendance, and the focus of the event is on writing, but this workshop may not be the best fit if you are not comfortable with Christian themes or relevant expressions of personal faith being woven into some of the speakers’ talks.

If you have any questions, please contact us; we are happy to talk with you. Our goal is to train and support young writers. We want every writer who attends our workshop to have a positive experience!

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are issued for cancellations made by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 30, 2019.

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.

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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