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Highlights Chautaqua vs Highlights Founders Workshops

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Can anyone compare the week at Chautaqua to a Founders Workshop, if you've been to both? Chautaqua isn't a possiblility for this year but I'm thinking ahead to applying for a scholarship for next year or maybe going to one of the more focused Founders Workshops. I consider myself an advanced beginner. I just finished the ICL course on Writing for Children and Teenagers and have published fiction and nonfiction in children's magazines. I'd like to work more on novels. I like the idea that you get a manuscript mentor at Chautaqua plus it sounds like you get to learn from a nice varied faculty. On the other hand, I was looking at the Whole Novel Founders Workshop which sounded really good just to focus on novel writing. Not sure, what do you think?
#1 - June 19, 2009, 03:46 PM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

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If you want to work specifically on novels, go to a Founder's Workshop. If you want to be inspired, no matter your writing level, go to Chautauqua. (Not that you won' t be inspired at a Founder's but those Founder's workshops are DEFINITELY nuts and bolts.)
#2 - June 19, 2009, 04:55 PM
ME WITH YOU -- (Philomel)
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SURFER CHICK -- (Abrams)

Well, inspiration goes a long way doesn't it? Thanks!
#3 - June 19, 2009, 05:16 PM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

I've done the Whole Novel Workshop and loved, loved, loved it. It was really intense, but so good. If you have specific questions, feel free to PM me.

#4 - June 19, 2009, 05:42 PM
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(Not that you won' t be inspired at a Founder's but those Founder's workshops are DEFINITELY nuts and bolts.)

And not that you won't learn anything at Chautauqua.  Inspiration abounds, but there's plenty to learn, as well.
#5 - June 19, 2009, 06:14 PM
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Has anyone been to both? I'm wondering if you could choose just one, which would be the more valuable experience or maybe its just apples and oranges...
#6 - June 20, 2009, 07:01 AM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo


Went to Chautauqua in 2002. Returned as faculty in 2007.

Went to Honesdale in 2002 (or was it 3???)  Returned for another novel workshop spring this year.

They are completely different and I love them both.

Chautauqua - 7 days of non-stop workshops and networking with authors and editors.  About 45 workshops to choose from and two one-on-one appointments with assigned faculty member to go over your manuscript sample.  LOTS of information both in terms of writing craft and career stuff. 
You are eating breakfast lunch and dinner with faculty members who are told they can't hang out with each other (I'm not kidding! lol!  If we can touch one, we're too close.) Seminars cover just about every conceivable topic and it is easy to become overloaded.  Just pace yourself and you'll be fine!

The town is idyllic and magical.  The food is great but the atmosphere pretty much nails it.  It's probably the "happiest" place on Earth because complete strangers say hello as you walk by.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been there and called my DH and said I wasn't coming home.

You'll leave exhausted and inspired.  Faculty to student ratio is about 1:3

Honesdale - is limited to 7-14 writers depending on the workshop.  1-2 faculty members.  A lot of writing time, and one-on-one critiquing. Food is amazing (okay - that's not why you go but OMG THE FOOD IS AMAZING).  You are assigned a private cabin which is modern.  There is a computer lab in another cabin if you need to print revisions/boarding passes, etc.

Honesdale is focused on a specific topic and craft.  So think of this as an "intensive" workshop with a lot of focus on your specific project.  For instance I'm in the 2-part Novel workshop.  I started a novel in the spring.  I go back in the Fall to review the progress.  Had two sessions of aboiut 45 minutes with just me and the editor to go over my work and line edit and brainstorm on big picture issues.  There were lectures, followed by time to write, critique each other, open readings, etc.  We read novels in advance of the workshop so we could discuss their structure.

Honesdale includes all food and lodging AND a driver to pick you up at the airport.  I had to leave a 3am to make it back for my daughter's graduation and they said "no problem" and refused to let me rent a car.

You'll get pampered at both places.  I've seen experienced authors and new authors at Chautauqua. Each person gets something different out of it.

So think of Chautauqua as being enormous exposure to well know industry insiders over a 7 days.  Focus on all forms of writing but also on networking and building long term relationships and learning about the "business."

Honesdale is a writers intensive focused on a specific genre or project.  You will work your "butt" off at Honesdale and love every minute of it.

Hope that helps. I've been swamped and don't log on as often any more but feel free to PM me if you need more info.

#7 - June 20, 2009, 12:38 PM

Harrietthespy, thank you so much for that detailed description of both Highlights events. It seems like Chautaqua would be a good first experience followed up by Founders Workshops in later years to focus on specific topics. Luckily I'm within driving distance of both. Hopefully I'll get to go next year!
#8 - June 20, 2009, 04:48 PM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

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I've been to Chautauqua and two founders workshops and I agree with everything Harriet the Spy said, but thought I would add two comments.

-- A good thing about going to Chautauqua first is that you will meet many (not all, by any means) of the leaders of the founders workshops and it will give you a chance to see if you connect with anyone that you'd like to learn from in a more intensive environment.

-- Spending a whole week with the same writers really helps you develop some good friendships, which is one benefit of Chautauqua.

If I could afford it, I'd go to at least one of these events a year. 

#9 - June 20, 2009, 08:41 PM
THE BOY PROBLEM, Scholastic 2014
THE BOY PROJECT, Scholastic 2012

twitter: @kamikinard

thanks Kami K, that makes a  lot of sense to get to know the instructors a bit in advance before you commit to a workshop with them.
#10 - June 21, 2009, 05:31 AM
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Thank you, Karen, for posting this question as I had the same one.  I had my heart set on going to Chautauqua, but am now thinking I'd benefit more from the Whole Novel workshop.  Those of you who've been to Chautauqua, could you tell us how much individual feedback is given on your novel--does your assigned faculty member read one chapter? More? Offer any follow-up during the week?  Is there a chance to revise and get feedback? 
By the way, the dates are now posted for this year's Founders Workshops as well as Chautauqua '10.
Karen, perhaps our paths will cross.  I'm leaning towards the Whole Novel in June '10. 
#11 - September 25, 2009, 01:06 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
Capstone: January, 2018

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Karen and Kami,

I, too, have been to both.  Your assigned faculty member reads approx. 3 chapters of a long novel or an entire picture book. (I think that's right.  I was there in '05 so it's been a minute...)  Yes, you have the opportunity to revise.  The atmosphere is unbelievable and inspiration comes from every direction. As Harriet said, it is magical.

Now Honesdale is a different animal.  It's intense, very focused, lots of feedback, extremely intimate with only seven or so writers.  You get personal feedback from the instructor, along with critiques from every person in the group.  I stayed in a cabin, facing a wooded area, and the inspiration to write flowed out of me like crazy.

You can't go wrong with either one.  It really depends on where you are in your writing.  I went to Chautauqua first.  If I had to do it all over again, I'd do it the same way.

Good luck.

#12 - September 25, 2009, 01:38 PM
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The Laura Line (Balzar & Bray, 04-2013)

RebeccaL-G, glad my question helped you too. I had hoped to go to Chautaqua 2010 but finances aren't looking good for that. Best of luck to you!
#13 - September 25, 2009, 01:53 PM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

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Thanks, Crystal for the helpful information.  I think I'm definitely leaning towards the Whole Novel workshop. 
Karen--here's hoping Chautauqua works out for you.  I'm thinking positive thoughts for you! 
#14 - September 25, 2009, 07:27 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
Capstone: January, 2018

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  I just sent in an application etc for the It's All About Character  FoundersWworkshop -- Kim Griswell is leading it.

I attended a breakout session she did abt scenery details at the Eastern NY SCBWI conference a couple years ago --

I liked how she made it a hand-on workshop = gave us writing exercises one that built on the previous one  :balloongroup
#15 - September 26, 2009, 06:15 AM

New question on this thread:

Has anyone attended the Founders Workshop Editing for Writers with Steven Roxburgh?
If so, I'd love to know your opinion.

#16 - July 22, 2010, 03:43 PM
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Kim rocks! She was my ICL instructor before she moved on to Highlights and she is a superb workshop leader (as you know!) Lucky you! And I agree, Kim's setting talks always inspire me!
#17 - July 22, 2010, 06:09 PM

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setting is what I meant  LoL!  =)

So cool that she was your ICL instructor, mlbrown!!

The workshop last fall was GREAT!  = It's All About Character
Kim is giving it again - in the fall of 2011

I'm gong to Kim's wkshp there in October - Finding Your Voice

Alison A -- I don't know anything abt Steve R's wkshops -- maybe there's info on it at the message board on the Highlights Foundation website. He was an editor at Boyds Mills and now has his own company  namelos
#18 - July 22, 2010, 06:30 PM


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