2014 Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute (August 9th and 10th)

Wow, the teens at the Nora Roberts Young Writers Institute were fabulous! What a remarkably talented group! We had a number of writers who had already finished novels or had already won awards and contests, and we also had writers who were brand new to the craft.



Contest winner Sean Kenney started us off on the morning of the 9th by reading his horror story “Blink” so effectively I got chills!

Contest Winners

Then author Brad Barkley served as our keynote speaker and told us about how he got into the writing business and how important it is that creative folks find a primary outlet for our creativity. He offered great advice about the writing process and about fiction techniques. Thanks, Brad!


Throughout the day on the 9th, Michele Poacelli, Kate Benchoff, Alicia Drumgoole, and I offered breakout sessions on dystopian fiction, action writing, romance scenes, quick write prompts, and world-building. Writers also had an opportunity to have their work critiqued by instructors and workshopped by peers.




On the 10th, we focused on publication advice, and the writers researched literary magazines using Duotrope. They also submitted work to Hagerstown Community College’s Hedge Apple magazine, where they will be featured in a special online edition in September.

We ended the institute with a Coffeehouse Reading, complete with the ambiance of lamps, couches, and tablecloths, and a good many writers presented their work to an audience of other writers, friends, and family members.

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s institute possible. I’m already looking forward to teaching again at next year’s institute.