Please note that the information below is from the past. We will update this page closer to autumn.


An Advanced Writing Workshop for Older Students

Dec. 29, 2017 – Jan. 3, 2018

The Winter 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 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.’

Jim on experiencing the Winter Workshop for the first time »

Location & Lodging

All Winter 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. (See photos here.) Rooms in the Women’s Dorm have two double beds. Rooms in the Men’s Dorm have three twin beds. Each room has its own full bathroom. Bed linens, pillows, blankets, and towels are provided.

NEW FOR 2018:

If we have a high number of attendees, as we did in 2017, we MAY also open accommodation in Oak Place (where some ladies stayed in 2017) and in Trask Lodge (similar to Oak Place). These accommodations are not quite as comfortable; mattresses are not as thick, for example, and the buildings are not as close to the main event hall. They do, however, have a lounge area and retreat feel! (See photos here—scroll down to see Oak Place and Trask Lodge.)

You will notice a question in your application form, asking if you would be interested in staying in one of these more basic accommodation options for a $25 refund if it proves necessary to use them. We may not know for some time if it will be necessary, so this would be a discount in the form of a partial refund, not a different ticket.

At this time, we are only asking this question of students. We would prefer accompanying parents to sleep in the more comfortable hotel-style rooms.

winter creative writing workshop main meeting hall

Main workshop meeting hall, sans tables and chairs

outside the winter creative writing workshop main meeting hall

Outside the main meeting hall

Inside one of the hotel-style lodges

Inside one of the hotel-style lodges

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.


Friday, December 29, 2017 – Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dec. 29

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.

Dec. 30

9:00 a.m. through evening session; followed by New Year’s Eve festivities

Dec. 31

9:00 a.m. service followed by sessions through evening

Jan. 1

9:00 a.m. through evening session

Jan. 2

9:00 a.m. through evening session

Jan. 3

Breakfast. Check out of dorms by 10:00 a.m. Leave Heartland Center by noon.


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.

Mentor Session

All students receive a 30-minute 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.

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 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. If this is the case, start with a brief note about where the excerpt falls in the narrative.

Critique Group

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.

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 2018 Winter Workshop is only open to persons 18 or older by December 29, 2017. 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!

Purchase Parent 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.

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

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



Registration, lodging, and 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.
• We are not able to offer a discounted student price for students who are siblings.


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

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

Scholarship Fund

Would you like to help make the Winter Workshop experience possible for somebody else? Most attendees are not able to work full-time, whether because they are in school or due to other commitments. Coming up with the funds to attend can be a challenge. We are constantly amazed and inspired by the lengths students go to make it to the Winter Workshop. You can be part of their journey!

Please donate before November 16, 2017, if you would like your gift to help a 2018 attendee. (We respond to scholarship requests by November 16.) One hundred percent of donated money will go to a student with financial need!

Donate to Scholarship Fund

The Galadriel Scholarship

Galadriel-Scholarship-transparent-bgA member of the extended One Year Adventure Novel family has created a special fund to help three people come to the Winter Workshop. Three applicants will receive $300 each toward their 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.”

These scholarships are intended to help students who demonstrate 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 6. We will communicate decisions by November 16.

If you already applied for a scholarship, you will be automatically considered for the Galadriel Scholarship.

Apply for Scholarship

Cancellation Policy

Full refunds are issued for cancellations made by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 30, 2017. After November 30, we cannot refund your deposit.


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.

This is a 100% PEANUT-FREE event. Some attendees have severe, life-threatening peanut/nut allergies. NO EXCEPTIONS!

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 Men’s Dorm is 3 to a room of 3 twin beds; the Women’s 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 (Women’s 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 29, and return service to KCI on Wednesday, January 3.

General service times:

Friday, Dec. 29: 1:00–6:00 p.m., Central
Wednesday, Jan. 3: 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.

Purchase Airport Shuttle Ticket

• 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.

Video taping of workshop sessions and organized activities is strictly prohibited. This includes cell phone and pocket-camera videos. Please respect this policy. Cameras/photos are welcome. You may take videos during free time as long as all parties are willing participants and the content is appropriate.

8:00–8:45 a.m.


9:15–9:30 a.m.

Reflection by speaker or staff member

9:30 a.m.–Noon

2 sessions with a short intermission

Noon–1:00 p.m.


1:30–4:30 p.m.

Student critique groups and mentor sessions

5:30–6:30 p.m.


7:00 – 8:30 p.m.



Various; followed by free time. We have access to the main building all evening.


Daniel SchwabauerDan_Author2012_web

“Mr. S.” is the creator of The One Year Adventure Novel creative writing curriculum 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.

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.

Nadine-Brandes-100x135Nadine Brandes

Nadine is a self-described adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. She’s also a freelance editor—she learned her editing craft from Jeff Gerke, a frequent and beloved speaker at our Summer Workshops. The Out of Time Series, her dystopian trilogy, is published by Enclave Publishing. Keep up with Nadine at to get updates on her new two-book contract with Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing! She and her husband make their home in Missouri.

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.

Mark and Teckla live in Myrtle Point, Oregon, which he both loves and hates. When the rain stops, Mark and his Dobermann enjoy taking walks around the town.

Jenn Baileyjenn-bailey-speaker-web

Jenn Bailey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is represented by Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Agency and has just signed her first book contract. Jenn has spoken at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators national conferences in New York City and Los Angeles and continues to be an editor and critique partner at Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens. Currently, Jenn is joining forces with two of her VCFA schoolmates and will be opening up the BLT Literary agency in late 2017.


How to Apply

Apply and make $100 deposit by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 1, 2017.

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.

Apply and make deposit

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, 2017.

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).

Download Waiver Form

Pay Student Balance

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, 2017.

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

Purchase Parent Tickets

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.

Purchase Airport Shuttle Ticket

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