If, after reading through the Summer Workshop event page, you have unanswered questions, you may find this Frequently Asked Questions page helpful. Please do not hesitate to email us at info@oneyearnovel.com if your question is not covered here.

Eligibility to Attend

Does my student have to finish the course before attending the workshop?

We don’t require students to have finished the course before attending. That said, the more your student has done of the course, the more he or she will benefit from the sessions and critique group time. The course gives students a “shared language” for talking about their stories, and some sessions are designed as extensions of the principles taught in the course videos.

Our recommendation is that if the student has not started the second half of the course (the part where students write the rough draft), it may be better to wait a year, unless the student has already finished a novel before starting OYAN.

If you decide to register a student who won’t reach Part Two before the workshop, please have the student bring the short scenes from the outlining stage (see workbook lessons 6–8, 10–12, 15, 18, 23–24, 29–30, 33, 37–39). This way the student will have writing to share.

My student is an avid writer and would LOVE a workshop like this! I don't understand why my student can't attend just because they don't have a valid One Year Adventure Novel curriculum license. Can you explain your policy?

Unlike many other writing events for young writers (and events for older writers, for that matter), our workshop is designed as an extension of the instruction in the course. This is one of the special features of the workshop: that students arrive with a shared foundation, and often have interacted on our Student Forum.

We would be thrilled to have your student join us if you decide to invest in a licensed curriculum set.

We license the way we do precisely because of the interactive and immersive nature of the course. The One Year Adventure Novel is not just the physical materials in the set; it is also access to quality ongoing support resources. These include access to workshops, the online Student Forum, participation in contests, and monthly webinars on writing topics. You can read more on our Creative Community page.

I read that siblings 13 or older must register as a student. One of my student's siblings is 13 or older but is not in the least interested in novel writing and will probably never take this course. Can an exception be made? I don't want to leave my son/daughter at home.

Please email info@oneyearnovel.com or give us a call at 1-888-481-4550 so we can discuss your exact situation. We do sometimes make exceptions in cases like this but you need permission directly from the Workshop Coordinator, Tineke Bryson.

I use OYAN but I am 30 or older. I am interested in coming, but do you think this workshop would benefit me?

We would love to discuss this with you by email or phone, but the short answer is that while there is no upper age limit for the Summer Workshop, most students are 13–21 years old, with a few in their mid-twenties. The “tone” of the event might be “too young,” and we would need to discuss whether a critique group would really be a good idea.

You may wish to consider the Winter Workshop instead, since students are all 18 or older. However, this advanced workshop is still very much for writers in their twenties.

We are happy to work with you, but you would probably have a better experience at a workshop designed for more mature adults.


What do students need to present at check-in on June 12?

Just themselves. Students do not need to print off their ticket confirmation emails and they do not need to present photo I.D. We will check them in based on their first and last name.

How do I reach my student in an emergency situation?

If your student does not have a cell phone, please call 1-888-481-4550. Tineke Bryson, Workshop Coordinator, will make sure you reach your student. This is a 24-hour emergency phone line.

If you can reach your student by phone, please inform Tineke Bryson of the situation as well, so we can do all we can to support you and your student.

How safe is the MidAmerica Nazarene University and surrounding area?

Olathe is a very safe, peaceful city, and we have never had any incidents at our events. The college has its own security department on call 24/7; emergency call-boxes are located all over the campus. Every dorm floor is accessible only with a swipe card (provided to students at check-in), and every dorm room has its own key (also provided at check-in). That said, we do, of course, encourage attendees to use caution and common sense, especially after sundown, and to walk in groups after dark. The paths between the buildings we use are lit; students are not allowed to venture into unlit areas.

Is free parking available?

Yes, there is ample free parking on campus!

I read that pets are not allowed in the dorms, but we are traveling with a pet. What would you recommend that we do?

Thank you for respecting MNU’s pet policy. Unless you would prefer to book a stay for your pet at an area kennel, we recommend staying off-site at a hotel that allows pets, such as the Olathe LaQuinta Inn and Suites.

We are traveling and sleeping in a recreational vehicle. Can we park it on-site and is there access to water?

We would love to be able to accommodate your needs, but we are limited in what we can offer. MNU does not offer access to water from the parking lots, and buildings with toilets are locked overnight. If your recreational vehicle does not need a water supply, we are happy to put in a parking request with MNU on your behalf. Please email us in advance, as you do need prior permission, and will then be given instructions about where to park.

Other families in this situation have stayed at an area trailer park.

Are there drink and snack machines on site?

We regret to say that the buildings we use for our event do not contain drink or snack machines. In the past, MNU has offered a pop-up snack shop in the Bell Center lobby during the evening, but we do not yet know if this will be offered again in 2018.

Off-Site Services and Policies

I am a parent/student 18 or older, and I want to eat/stay off-site. Are there grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels within walking distance of the campus? Or public transportation to reach these services?

Olathe offers standard chain grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels (see list in next question), but none are within easy walking distance of the campus, and there is no public transportation worth speaking of. If you plan to eat or stay off-site, you will need access to a car.

What are some restaurants, grocery stores, delivery places, coffee shops, pharmacies, and department stores in the area?

Delivery Food Options

Domino’s Pizza – 2.2 miles (6 min)
705 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66061

Pizza Hut – 0.9 miles (2 min)
12705 N Mur-Len Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Subway – 2.2 miles (6 min)
701 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66061

Mr. Goodcents – 2.4 miles (6 min)
2133 E 151st St
Olathe, KS  66062

China Inn – 4.3 miles (11min)
20166 W 153rd St
Olathe KS 66062

Grocery Stores

Walmart Neighborhood Market – 2.7 miles (5 min)
18555 W 151st St
Olathe, KS 66062

Hen House Market – 2.3 miles (6 min)
13600 S Blackbob Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Aldi – 1.1 miles (3 min)
16175 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Whole Foods Market – 3.7 miles (10 min)
14615 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062


CVS Pharmacy – 1.5 miles (3 min)
1785 S Mur-Len Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Walgreens* – 1.8 miles (5 min)
13450 S Blackbob Rd
Olathe KS  66062

*Healthcare Clinic location


Culver’s – 3.2 miles (7 min)
18685 W 151st St
Olathe, KS 66062

Applebee’s – 1.1 miles (3 min)
16110 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Jose Pepper’s Mexican Grill – 1.9 miles (5 min)
13770 S Black Bob Rd
Olathe, KS 66062

Panera Bread – 3.6 miles (10 min)
15108 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Chipotle – 3.6 miles (10 min)
15100 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

SP!N Pizza – 3.8 miles (10 min)
14230 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Coffee Shops

Starbucks – 1.8 miles (5 min)
15225 W 135th St
Olathe, KS 66062

Sweet Tee’s Coffee Shop – 0.7 miles (2 min)
2063 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66062

Kansas Coffee Company – 3 miles (8 min)
101 E Park St
Olathe KS 66061

Scooter’s Drive Thru – 0.9 miles (3 min)
(No website)
2027 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66062

Department Stores

Walmart – 2 miles (5 min)
13600 S Alden St,
Olathe, KS 66062

Super Target – 3.5 miles (10 min)
15345 W 119th St
Olathe, KS 66062

I know I am under 18, but if my parents are okay with it, can I go off-site?

It’s wonderful to hear that your parents trust you off-site and think so highly of your OYAN friends, but we don’t make exceptions to this rule, even with a parent authorization note. As you might imagine, it would be very difficult for us to monitor, and could easily mislead other students under 18 to think they can go off-site too.

It’s very important to us to foster a sense of community—one reason why sessions are mandatory. We want students of all ages to enjoy activities together on campus. We encourage students 18 and older to stay on campus as well.

My student is staying with me off-site. Can we invite my student's friends to accompany us out to eat or for other activities under my adult oversight?

Thank you for checking with us. We don’t allow students under 18 to leave campus unless accompanied by their own parent or legal guardian. This rule is in place to give parents who are not on-site full confidence that their students are safe. Although our experience of OYAN parents at our events is overwhelmingly positive, we feel it is wiser to err on the side of caution. Thank you for understanding.


Is there free wireless internet access?

Yes! There is free wireless internet access in the dorms as well as in the Bell Center.

What is the bathroom setup in the Girls' Dorm and Boys' Dorm?

There are two bathrooms on each floor of the Girls’ Dorms and of the Boys’ Dorm, and they are shared between two halls. The bathrooms each contain several toilet stalls, shower stalls, and sinks.

The shower stalls have two curtains: one between the stall and the rest of the bathroom and one inside the stall to separate the shower itself from the small changing area. There are hooks and a shelf in the changing area.

We recommend bringing flip flops to wear in the shower, and a housecoat/bath robe to add to your privacy.

Bath soap and hair dryers are not provided, but towels are provided to each guest.

What is the bathroom setup in the Family Dorm?

Over the years, we have roomed families in different ways. Usually, Family Rooms are on a long floor with two shared bathrooms: one designated for men and one for women. Each of the bathrooms contains several toilet stalls, shower stalls, and sinks.

In these bathrooms, the shower stalls have two curtains: one between the stall and the rest of the bathroom and one inside the stall to separate the shower itself from the small changing area. There are hooks and a shelf in the changing area.

Some years we have also had access to a different building with suites. Suites contain 2 or 3 bedrooms with a shared living space, kitchen, and bathroom. They are, essentially, a small apartment. If we place a family in a suite, we consider gender and number of people to the bathroom. But priority is given to people with severe dietary restrictions who cannot eat in the cafeteria at all.

We recommend bringing flip flops to wear in the shower, and a housecoat/bath robe to add to your privacy.

Bath soap and hair dryers are not provided, but towels are provided to each guest.

Are laundry facilities available?

If you are staying in the dorms, use of the washing and drying machines on the dorm floors is free, but MNU doesn’t provide detergent. If you want to use the MNU laundry facilities in the dorms, you’ll need to bring your own detergent.

What is your policy for opposite gender visitors in the Girls' Dorm and Boys' Dorm?

Members of the opposite gender are not permitted in Girls’ Dorm or Boys’ Dorm rooms. (In the Family Dorm, immediate family members who are lodging together are, of course, permitted).

Before curfew, both genders are allowed in the Stockton-Rice dorm lounge only (on the first floor).

Who are the dorm parents and how do you choose them?

The Girls’ Dorm Moms and the Boys’ Dorm Dads are parents of OYAN students attending the workshop, or a member of our staff. We choose people who have come to the Summer Workshop at least once before and stayed in the dorms. We know most of the dorm parents very well personally from years of interacting with them at events.


My student is bringing food/snacks. How serious are you about the no-nuts policy? Can my student bring energy bars that contain nuts?

We understand how convenient nut bars and nuts are as a source of protein on-the-go. That said, several attendees have severe, life-threatening peanut/nut allergies. We have a totally peanut-free environment in all (yes, all) of the buildings and outside areas that we use at Mid-America Nazarene University. This includes granola bars with peanuts, other snacks with peanuts, peanut butter, etc. Other nuts are acceptable if they are contained in a bar or packaging, but it is vital that students wash their hands afterward and avoid touching surfaces. This policy is strictly enforced.

My student needs to eat frequent small snacks. Can s/he carry snacks throughout the day?

It is fine for students to eat a snack in the Bell Center lobby, or outside. It is only the auditorium itself and the hall used for advanced sessions that has a “no food or drink” policy. While in these spaces, students must keep any snacks or drinks stowed. Water is permitted if the bottle has a screw-top lid.

Please encourage your student to use the breaks between sessions, and free time, to eat. However, if the student really needs to step out of a session to briefly eat a snack, we understand.

Is there somebody who could check that my student takes medication/eats regular meals/calls home, etc.?

Staff and dorm parents are not able to “parent” students in highly individualized ways. If you send your student, you are doing so with the understanding that your student is mature and stable, capable of taking medication, eating proper meals, communicating with you, etc. However, if you have health concerns for your student, we encourage you to state these on the student’s online registration form, in the spaces provided for health concerns. Your student’s dorm parent has a copy of this health information provided on the registration ticket form and will appreciate knowing if a student under their supervision could use some extra attention.

I don't have a doctor-mandated restricted diet, but I try to eat "clean"—what can you tell me about the quality and variety of food in the cafeteria?

MNU’s cafeteria is run by Pioneer College Caterers, a well-known and respected food service provider. Although the options during the summer are not quite as extensive as they are during the school year, for a cafeteria, Pioneer does an excellent job. Quite apart from accommodating dietary limitations, meals always include a salad bar and a sandwich bar in addition to the main entrées. There is always fresh fruit as well. (But you won’t find nuts, because we are a no-nuts event.) According to the Food Service Director, Steven Richmond, 95–98 percent of the food served by the MNU kitchen is made from scratch.

What kind of help is available if a student becomes sick?

We have a stock of over-the-counter medicine and first aid supplies. If a student needs an over-the-counter medication (pepto-bismol, headache meds, etc.) the student should inform the Dorm Mom/Dad or one of the Student Helpers or Staff (introduced during the Monday evening opening meeting.)

Students are not permitted to share any prescription drugs with another attendee.

If a student is too sick to attend sessions, the Dorm Mom/Dad can grant permission to the student to be absent.

If the problem is serious, we will call the student’s parent(s) to discuss options. In the case of an emergency, we will get the student to urgent care and refer to the health insurance information provided on the student’s registration form. We will of course communicate with the student’s parent(s), but when you sign the Legal Waiver, you authorize our staff to get the student to help.

How to Pack

Do you have any packing tips?

  • Pens/pencils
  • Sharpie pens for signing T-shirts
  • Phone charger
  • Flip flops for wearing in the dorm showers
  • A housecoat, bathrobe, or kimono-style wrap for use in the dorms
  • Safety pins
  • An extra blanket or warm layers for sleep
  • A screw-top water bottle
  • Lotion
  • Pain medicine for headaches, etc.
  • Earplugs
  • A large bag or a backpack for carrying your belongings around campus

Is there a dress code?

The buildings are air-conditioned, but June in Kansas is typically pretty hot. That said, remember to use common-sense modesty. Most summer clothing should be fine, just avoid super-short shorts, spaghetti-strap tops, strapless dresses or tops, backless shirts or dresses, etc. Male students may not go shirtless inside or outside.

You do not need any formal attire at all. But if you would still like to wear formal attire, please note that the clothing guidelines also apply to any formal attire you choose to wear.

Be comfortable; be respectful.

NOTE: If you violate any of the dress-code guidelines above, you may be asked to change clothes.

Are there rules about costumes?

Costumes are more than welcome, as long as they are not immodest or disturbing. Please do not bring something that would fall under the “horror” genre. We reserve the right to tell you to change out of a costume if we find it inappropriate in any manner. Costumes are, of course, completely optional.

No weapons permitted, including, but not limited to, swords, knives, and guns. No matter how cool your Middle Earth sword may be, you cannot bring it—or any weapon whatsoever—onto the MNU campus.

Any violation of the weapons rule is grounds for expulsion from the Summer Workshop and being sent home early at your own expense.

Every year, we get many questions regarding our “fake weapons rule.” Here are some clarifications:

Regarding fake items or costumery:


  • Metal swords
  • Sharp wooden swords.
  • Air-soft guns
  • Knives of any kind, even if they’re “not sharp.”


  • Foam, or rubber swords; blunt wooden swords
  • painted nerf guns (without darts)
  • bows (without arrows)
  • replica-type weapons that are not pointed or easily mistaken for a real firearm.

(If you have something in this category, or aren’t sure about an item you’d like to bring, please email info@oneyearnovel.com with specifics and a photo for an okay. Thanks!)

If you bring something we feel is not safe, we reserve the right to keep it during the workshop and return it to you during Saturday morning check-out.

Critique Group

If I arrive without my printed critique group excerpts, can I print them on site or at a nearby business?

Students should print and staple their excerpts before arriving. Critique groups start directly after lunch on Tuesday. There is no access to a printer on the MNU campus. Students under 18 may not leave campus to print unless accompanied by their parent/legal guardian. Students 18 or older may go off-site during free time to print excerpts, by car, but we strongly advise that they print ahead of the workshop week; we want every student to enjoy a fully immersive week.

If you do drive off-site (parents and students 18+ only), here are the closest options:

FedEx Office Print + Ship Center – 0.9 miles (2 minutes)
2099 E Santa Fe St
Olathe, KS 66062
$0.14 per page (black + white)

Olathe Public Library – 2.9 miles (7 minutes)
201 E Park St
Olathe, KS  66061
$0.15 per page (Black + white)

Students ages 16+ may obtain a Guest Pass to log in to Olathe Public Library computers and print documents. Students ages 15 and under must have parent or legal guardian with them to gain access to printing services.

How do you monitor the quality and content of critique groups?

Each critique group has an appointed leader. We choose leaders on the basis of maturity, leadership ability, and experience with critique groups. All the leaders have been to at least one Summer Workshop and are 18 or older.

The leaders have to attend an online training meeting beforehand, in which we explain our expectations and go over concerns, such as how to gently intervene if a student brings writing that is upsetting or inappropriate, and how to proceed if a student is harsh toward others or becomes upset.

But lest these reassurances give you the impression that critique groups are challenging to supervise, let us further assure you that they are actually a lot of fun, and students consistently report being very happy with their experience! We think part of this can be attributed to how hard our staff works to put together groups with common interests, and a balance of ages and gender.

I read that parents are not permitted to attend critique groups, but my student is very anxious. Can I accompany him/her for moral support?

Writing is very personal, and it can be scary for young writers to share their work with others. It makes sense that your student might prefer your presence in the room. However, we need to consider the rest of the students as well. We have found that the other students are intimidated by the presence of an adult they don’t know sitting nearby. They do not share their thoughts as freely.

We choose critique group leaders who are good at reassuring students and making the group time fun and non-threatening. They monitor the feedback students give each other to make sure it is both helpful and respectful.

It is our view that it will turn out better for your student and for the group as a whole if the student joins the group on their own and faces their anxiety. We consistently receive happy feedback from students once they discover that critique groups are fun, not frightening.

My student does not want to be part of a critique group. Can s/he be exempt?

Although we see critique groups as a vital part of the Summer Workshop experience, we do not force students to participate. If the student is very set against it, please email us and request to be exempted. Please let us know before May 24. Our staff spend many hours putting groups together with an eye to age, gender, and affinity. If a student will not be participating, we need advance notice.

I don't have ink/paper/printer access; is it okay if I just read out my excerpts from my computer?

This is not permitted. It is not respectful of the other group members, who have taken the time and gone to the expense of printing out excerpts for everyone. In addition, there is something about reading and commenting on a physical copy of somebody’s writing that an audio-only experience can’t replicate. We want you to get the best feedback possible on your writing.

If you don’t have a printer at home, please have your materials printed at a business before you arrive.

Can I bring something besides the specific chapter recommendations for excerpt material? Do the excerpts have to be from an "OYAN novel"?

As we state on the Summer Workshop webpage, we recommend that the four excerpts you bring come from the four key chapters of your novel: the Inciting Incident, Embracing Destiny, The Black Moment, and The Showdown. However, if you don’t have an “OYAN novel” in progress right now, or you don’t have these key scenes/chapters ready, you may bring different fiction excerpts. It’s more important that you bring something you need help with than to scramble to bring something that fits the recommendation list but would not be of much help to you.

Please do not bring poetry, fan fiction, screen plays, or short stories to the Summer Workshop.

If you have any questions or concerns about what to bring, just send us an email at info@oneyearnovel.com about your situation, and we will be happy to help you figure out what would be best.

PLEASE NOTE that ALL excerpt content must be in keeping with the content policy:

Your novel must be free of offensive content (especially of a sexual or gratuitously violent nature). While we respect the right of authors to create honest stories, we also respect the right of readers to retain their innocence. We therefore reserve our right, exercised through the critique group leader, to not include discussion of any novel deemed to be offensive to a general audience.

My student wants to experience a critique group but does not want to share his/her writing. Is this okay?

If you agree with your son or daughter’s self-assessment about attending without contributing excerpts, please have the student email info@oneyearnovel.com by May 24. We need to know in advance so that we don’t inadvertently create groups with more than one student in this category.

If you are unsure about what would be best for your student, we would love to talk with you about your concerns so we can come to the best possible decision for your student.

Mentor Appointment

What is a Mentor Appointment like?

Mentor Appointments are 15-minute appointments held Tuesday through Friday during the afternoon critique groups and free time.

During these appointments, students talk one-on-one with the mentor. They can practice pitching their novel, ask questions, or discuss anything else related to writing. The appointments are held in offices off a hall in the Bell Center; doors remain open, and one of our staff members monitors them to make sure the appointments stay on schedule.

Can my student get on a waiting list in case of any new openings?

We do sometimes have unexpected openings in the Mentor Appointment schedule, due to illness or something else unforeseen. You are more than welcome to see us at the front desk about getting on the waiting list. We do not, however, keep such a list before the workshop begins, so there is no need to email us about this before arriving.

Can I request Mr. S. for a Mentor Appointment?

Mr. S. does not do Mentor Appointments. He does more speaking at the Summer Workshop than any other speaker, so he does not have enough time. It’s also very important to him to spend his free time talking with students and their families in the lobby, on the grounds, etc. He would love to chat with you informally, so don’t hesitate to introduce yourself or go over and talk to him during the week.

I read that parents are not allowed to accompany students to a Mentor Appointment, but my student is scared/I have questions of my own to ask about how to help my young writer. Can an exception be made?

Our goal for Mentor Appointments is to offer a non-intimidating way for young writers to learn how to talk to industry professionals. We want students to talk to the mentor one-on-one because this is the best approximation of what a “real” appointment would be like. The mentors are not scary, and they know to expect the student to be nervous and unsure.

If you would like to talk to one or more of the speakers yourself, we recommend finding them between sessions or in the cafeteria. The speakers take some of their meals at the cafeteria.


When and how should I expect information about my shuttle to and from the airport?

If you paid for transportation to/from Kansas City International airport, you will receive a confirmation email with details by June 6. If you have not received any communication regarding your shuttle reservation by June 6, please email info@oneyearnovel.com and put “Airport Shuttle” in the subject

Will somebody be at the airport to meet me/my student?

We station an OYAN representative at each terminal, outside the gate area. Kansas City’s international airport is small. These representatives wear OYAN apparel and are 18 or older. They are in charge of meeting students and making sure they get on their shuttle to MNU.

When we email you your shuttle information, we include the representative’s name, photo, and cell phone number, as this is the first person your student should contact in the event of a flight delay.