Loon Song takes place in a wild country, far removed from the distractions of daily life. Our program is designed to take advantage of this unique setting.

We offer a smorgasbord of activities for writers to pick from: stimulating lectures and panel discussions, writing prompts and workshops, readings and one-on-one marketing, agent, and editorial consultations. There will also be lots of “fresh air”—space to simply write and retreat, kayak, canoe and connect, informally, over a campfire or on a pontoon cruise, with other writers.

Participants will be invited to read their own work. An agent and editor will be present at all readings.

Our presenters include seasoned writers, an agent, and an editor who will help you grow your career, develop new approaches to craft, and think deeply about the writing life.

Thursday, Sept 5, 2019

Noon - 5:30 pm - Arrival and Registration

5:30 - 6:30 pm - Reception

7:00 - 9:00 pm - Welcome & Faculty Reading Meg Medina, Varian Johnson and Elizabeth Partridge.

Friday, Sept 6, 2019

7:00 - 8:00 am - Yoga

8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast - wander down when you’re ready

9:30 — 10:30 - Opening Speaker Varian Johnson: Plot: The Story’s Roadmap

If our story were a car, with characters trying to get from A to B, then plot is the roadmap showing them how to get there. We’re going to talk about that roadmap—how to plot our works to create the right balance of mystery and truth, conflict and resolution, tension and relief. We’ll also talk about ways to structure our works to make the most impact on our readers.

11:15 - 12:15 - Craft Talk Elizabeth Partridge: Visual Literacy--the Nuts and Bolts of Using Photographs and other Images in Nonfiction

12:30 - 1:30 pm - Lunch

1:45 - 2:45 pm - Editor Talk: Holly West: The Three Stages of Fangirling (to be re-titled as soon as I find a gender neutral term for this verb) Also known as: how to create a character that readers fall in love with. 

3:00 - 3:45 - Talk and  Presentation: The basics of Writing a Picture Book Text with a hands-on workshop in creating a picture book Dummy. A manuscript changing workshop you won’t want to miss with Marion Dane Bauer and Elizabeth Partridge. To participate in the hands-on portion of this presentation, please bring a manuscript, 800 words or less.

3:45 - 5:45 pm - Workshops, Fresh Air: Choose between an informal discussion, a workshop. or personal time for writing, canoeing, kayaking and renewal.

5:45 - 7:00 - Dinner

7:00 - 7:45 pm - Sunset Cruise

8:00 - 9:00 pm - Readings from LoonSong Creators: Marion Dane Bauer, Maura Stokes, Debby Dahl Edwardson, Sarah Aaronson

Saturday, Sept 7, 2019

7:00 - 8:00 am - Yoga

8:00 - 10:00 - Breakfast - wander down when you’re ready

10:45 - 11:45 -  Talk: Meg Medina  When the Personal is the Political:  Latinx authors in the Trump era:  We present to all children. We write for all children. Where do we check our personal experiences and political views when we write and tour as authors?

12:00 - 1:00 pm - Lunch

1:15 - 2:15 pm - Panel Discussion: Growing Pains: Towards True Diversity Meg Medina, Varion Johnson and Sarah Aaronson. Moderated by Debby Dahl Edwardson. Some think of it as a form of censorship. Is the world of children’s writing becoming too sensitive on cultural issues or are we ushering in a new era of diversity in which the pendulum or power is swinging into a healthier direction? Either way, where are we headed and how will we get through the current antagonisms?

2:30 - 3:30 -  Discussion:  Beyond Querying: The Author-Agent Relationship Rajani LaRocca and Brent Taylor, an author and her agent discuss the nitty-gritty of how to find and choose the right partner, on both sides, and how to make sure this important relationship thrives as you navigate the publishing world together.

3:45 - 5:30 pm - Workshops or Fresh Air—Workshops or Fresh Air—Choose between an informal discussion, a workshop. or personal time for writing, canoeing, kayaking and renewal.

5:30 - 7:00 - Dinner

7:00 - 7:45 pm - Sunset Poontoon Cruise

8:00 - 9:00 pm - Participant Readings. Bring your own work to share.

Sunday, Sept 8, 2019

7:00 - 8:00 - Yoga

8:00-10:00 - Breakfast

10:15-11:15 Talk: Elizabeth Partridge  How to Write Narrative Nonfiction with All the Passion, Guts, and Drama of Fiction. Successful nonfiction writers use many of all of the tools as fiction writers. How do they create compelling characters and spell-binding plots from subjects whose story has already been told?

11:30-12:30 - Agent Talk:  Brent Taylor Perseverance in Publishing Publishing is a tough business. Writers face constant rejection in an industry that moves slowly. Brent will talk of his own unconventional path into publishing with stories of those clients who persisted through multiple rejections to success. He will offer tools and methods that writers can use to encourage themselves to persist towards publishing, never give up on their dreams.


12:45 - 1:45 Lunch


2:00-3:00 Craft Talk: Structure: The Art of Revision. Re-visioning one’s work is an art, and not always an easy one. How do different writers approach it? With Varian Johnson, Meg Medina, Elizabeth Partridge and Marion Dane Bauer.

3 - 5:30 Workshops or Fresh Air—Choose between an informal discussion, a workshop. or personal time for writing, canoeing, kayaking and renewal.

5:30 - 7:00 Dinner

8:00 Bonfire on the Beach, weather permitting

Monday, Sept 9, 2019

7:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast

9:15- 11:00 - Discussion: If It Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It Much like our favorite novels, the arc of a writing career is full of peaks and valleys; suspense, drama and what we hope is a happy ending. A writer’s work changes over the course of a career, with mistakes, surprises and challenges and successes. Listen to these celebrated writers talk about how they have navigated this journey and what they’ve learned. With Varian Johnson, Meg Medina and Elizabeth Partridge..Moderated by Marion Dane Bauer.