May 21–23, 2021

One of the things we miss most during the COVID pandemic is the chance to spend time with our writer friends. A supportive and creative community is essential to a writer’s life, and while we aren’t quite ready to gather together in person on our beautiful VCFA campus, we want to create a retreat experience online that does its best to emulate the best parts of in-person writing retreats, virtually.

The Spring into Your YA/MG Novel Virtual Retreat is designed to help you recharge your creative batteries, give you a surge of creativity, and help you tap into a supportive community of writers. This is more than just a writing class or presentation, but a weekend-long experience that you can choose to participate in at your own pace, with options for craft instruction, industry insight, and connection with your fellow writers. And, of course, writing!

We invite you to set aside May 21–23 as your own DIY retreat. You can participate from whatever space you’ve created for yourself—a cozy corner in your house, your kitchen table, even a hotel room you’ve booked just for the chance to get away! All you need is an internet connection, something to write with, and an open mind.

Writing Track

The Writing Track offers writers time and space to work on new pages or revision. Lectures and discussions are open to all. With the Writing Track, you get both live and recorded access to both Corey Ann Haydu and Patrice Caldwell’s lectures, as well as access to five opt-in live Zoom sessions that range from goal-setting to writing sessions to social hours. You’ll also receive writing prompts from our faculty, emailed straight to your inbox each morning, to help you jumpstart your writing day.

Critique Track

For an additional fee through the Critique Track (limited availability), in addition to everything included in the Writing Track, you’ll submit the first ten pages of your YA or MG novel by April 9, 2021, and author and agent Patrice Caldwell will provide feedback via email before the start of the retreat.

Faculty, Lecturers, Organizers


  • Writing Track: $150
  • Critique Track: $225 (limited availability)


Registration is open now. To secure your spot, please follow this link and fill out the form completely. Register before May 21 to participate in the retreat.

Please note there are limited Critique Track seats available, and the first ten pages of your YA or MG manuscript must be submitted by April 9 if you choose this track.


Tirzah Price, ’15 WCYA
Retreat Director
[email protected]

Our Working Schedule (Final Schedule TBA)

Friday Evening

We’ll kick things off with an optional Zoom meet-up, where we check in, say hello, and set our writing intentions for the weekend. Then we’ll “go dark” for an hour and spend some time writing or thinking more deeply about our projects, with the option to check back in before we say goodnight. For those who can’t make it to our Zoom, you’ll receive a welcome email with a writing prompt from our master class faculty to help get you in the creative mindset for the weekend.

Saturday Morning 

You’re invited to join us for a morning coffee chat! Grab your breakfast and beverage of your choice and sign into our Zoom where we can chat, get to know each other, and talk about our writing practices and what we’re excited about for the day. This is a great chance to mingle with our writers and set your writing intentions for the day. This Zoom will be an informal come-and-go-as-you-please type of thing—whenever you’re ready, log off and get to writing! For writers unable to make our coffee hour, look for an email with your second inspirational writing prompt to kickstart your day.

Saturday Midday/Early Afternoon

VCFA faculty member Corey Ann Haydu will deliver a two-hour, generative master class lecture entitled “Point of Departure to Ultimate Destination: Finding the Map of Your Story Through a Powerful Beginning and an Evocative Ending.”

Saturday Evening

Join us for a fun social Zoom where we’ll chat about the day and our progress! Some fun things we have planned include a raffle giveaway (prizes to be mailed to you) and sharing our first lines of our works in progress (optional, of course).

Sunday Morning

Join us for a second coffee hour as we talk about our writing, books, and what we’ve learned so far! This is an informal come-and-go session. For writers unable to make this coffee hour, look for an email with our third writing prompt to kickstart your day.

Sunday Midday/Early Afternoon

Author and agent Patrice Caldwell will deliver an hour-long lecture on world-building and character. More details to come!

Sunday Mid-Afternoon

We’ll wrap up with a final Zoom to talk about what we’ve learned, how we will move forward, and what we’re excited to apply in our own writing lives. We’ll also talk about what we’ve achieved over the weekend.

Please note: If you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds great, but I don’t think I can commit an entire weekend to this event,” then don’t worry! We understand that writers are never just writers—we’re caretakers and parents, friends and partners, and we have many jobs. If you register for this weekend retreat, you’ll receive all the emails with the writing prompts and handouts from our guests, plus access to recordings of the master class lecture and the presentation from our guest speaker. We also understand if you can’t make every optional Zoom social and writing session, but we’ll be glad to welcome you to those that fit into your schedule.