Registration is now open. Register here>>

October 20-22, 2023

Are you ready to fall in love with writing all over again? Whether you’re a seasoned writer looking for inspiration, coming back to the page after a long break, or just looking to deepen your craft, we hope you’ll join us for VCFA’s 2023 Writing Novels for Children & Young Adults Virtual Retreat! This is the perfect opportunity to enrich your writing habit and connect with other writers, all without having to leave your house!

This 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 October 21-22, 2023 as your own DIY writing 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.

We’ll kick things off on Friday afternoon with a Zoom meet up to say hello, talk about our goals, and set our intentions for the weekend, and then hear from one of our guests who will share useful and applicable tips and tools for improving our writing lives.

On Saturday, join us for an optional morning coffee hour! Grab breakfast and your beverage of choice and drop in to chat with others before logging off for a morning of writing. Then, come back around midday to listen and learn from our master class presenter, a VCFA faculty member who will share a master craft lecture with us.

On Saturday evening we’ll offer a fun optional Zoom social hour where you can connect with others about your progress and talk about writing and books in general!

On Sunday, we’ll have another informal coffee hour chat and then hear from our industry guest, who will share insights about craft from an industry perspective. We’ll wrap up the weekend with a Q&A panel session with our guests, and the chance to share all that we’ve learned and accomplished over the weekend.

If you’re thinking, “Wow, this sounds great, but I don’t think I can commit an entire weekend to this event,” we’ve got you covered! 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 handouts from our guests, plus access to recordings of the master class lecture and presentations from our guest speakers. We also understand if you can’t make every Zoom social and writing session, but we’ll be glad to welcome you to those that fit into your schedule.

We hope that you can create some space in your busy lives to connect with fellow writers, fall even more in love with writing, and discover new writing tricks and tips for an exciting and inspirational weekend!

Faculty, Lecturers, Organizers

Anica Mrose Rissi, Master Class Presenter

Who and Why and Why and Who: How character shapes plot, plot shapes character, and both of these truths shape the novel.

About Anica Mrose Rissi:

Anica Mrose Rissi is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for kids and teens, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA. Her essays have been published by The Writer and the New York Times, and she plays fiddle in and writes lyrics for the band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves.

Honors include the Maine Literary Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Texas Library Association’s Tayshas Reading List and 2×2 Reading List, and Junior Library Guild Selection.

Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine and spent many years in New York City, where she worked as an executive editor in children’s book publishing. She currently lives in rural New Jersey with her very good dog, Sweet Potato. Find out more at and follow @anicarissi on Twitter and Instagram.


Jennifer Chen Tran, Agent Guest Presenter

The Ins and Outs of Graphic Novels

Join literary agent Jennifer Chen Tran to discuss graphic novels and how to pitch them. Jennifer will discuss different graphic novel script formats, the importance of showing the interplay between text and art, and show some actual examples of graphic novels that she has successfully sold to publishers. She will also discuss the current market for graphic novels and how to differentiate yourself in the competitive market. Bring your questions!

About Jennifer Chen Tran:

Jennifer Chen Tran is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management. With over a decade of experience in publishing, Jennifer is passionate about nurturing and championing authors and their creative lives. She represents a wide range of talent, including journalists, physicians, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, chefs, and graphic novelists, among others.

Prior to joining Folio, Jennifer was a literary agent at several west-coast literary agencies and served as Of Counsel at The New Press. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law in Boston, MA, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an attorney in good standing in New York and California.

Click here to see Jennifer Chen Tran’s manuscript wishlist:


Tirzah Price, Retreat Director and Presenter

What’s in a Mystery?: A Guide for Getting Started on Your Mystery Novel

Mystery novels can be very satisfying to read, but frustrating to write. In this session, we’ll go over the essential aspects of a mystery novel, tools and strategies for planning, plotting, and drafting, and revision tips and tricks to bring your mystery novel together!

About Tirzah Price:

Tirzah Price holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a senior contributing editor at Book Riot. She is the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, which have been BuzzFeed Best YA Books of the Year and Junior Library Guild selections. When she’s not writing, reading, or talking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting.

The Writing Novels for Young People Retreat is open to any writer of middle grade and young adult fiction, and takes place virtually over the course of one weekend. It consists of of a master class from a VCFA WCYA faculty member, presentations from industry and author guests, a Q&A panel, and opportunities for participants to connect online.




  • Regular Registration: $150
  • Registration with Optional Critique Add-on: $225 (limited availability)


Registration is now open. Register here>>


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