Programs

Getting Your Middle Grade or Young Adult Novel Unstuck 2020

May 17 - 21, 2020

Join Us To:

Explore, revise, and polish your work-in-progress. Learn tools to strengthen your novel, with a focus on character development, plotting and outlining, revision, journaling, and improvisation/play. Receive a one-to-one critique with faculty for feedback and an individual “ask the editor” meeting with our guest editor.

What You’ll Learn:

Two seasoned authors of middle grade and young adult fiction (Erin Dionne and New York Times best-selling author Chris Tebbetts), along with their guests, editor Karen Boss and YA author Alex Villasante, will share their writers’ toolbox for getting unstuck, with a focus on character development, plotting and outlining, revision, journaling, and improvisation/play. At this workshop, you will:

  • Hear faculty lectures targeted at moving you past whatever novel point has you feeling stuck.
  • Complete hands-on writing exercises.
  • Receive a one-to-one critique from a faculty mentor.
  • Have an individual “ask the editor” meeting with our guest editor.
  • Have free time for writing and revision.

Note: Before the workshop, you will be asked to submit up to 3000 words from a work-in-progress and a brief synopsis or story description for critique.

Attend If:

  • You are stuck in the middle of a middle grade or young adult novel draft with no idea of where to go next. Our faculty will share their writers’ toolbox for getting unstuck, and give you hands-on exercises to help you move forward.
  • You’ve jotted down ideas for a novel but can’t get your story off the ground. We’ll get you started! Lectures and hands-on activities will help you with plotting and outlining, journaling and improvisation.
  • You’ve written most of a novel but can’t figure out the ending. You’ll receive a one-to-one critique with faculty for feedback on where to go next. You’ll also have an individual “ask the editor” meeting with our guest editor, Karen Boss of Charlesbridge Publishing.
  • You’re ready to work! You’ll get the most benefit from this course if you’re ready to revise.

Agenda

Day 1
Afternoon
Arrival and check in

Evening
Appetizers & Dinner
After Dinner:
Welcome, Intros, and Group Discussion: Where are you stuck? What stage of the process is most often sticky?
Journaling: Active introspection as a tool for getting unstuck: a discussion with Erin

Day 2
Morning
Breakfast
Romeo at the Balcony: Persistence and Optimism in Pursuit of the Ideal: A lecture by Chris
Putting Meat on the Bones: Fleshing Out Your Novel: A workshop session with guest editor Karen Boss of Charlesbridge

Afternoon
Lunch
Character Development: Discussion and workshop with Erin
Free Writing Time, one-to-one faculty critiques and individual “Ask the editor” sessions with Karen

Evening
Appetizers & Dinner
After Dinner: Revision: Discussion with Erin Chris, and Karen

Day 3
Morning
Breakfast
Q&A with guest editor Karen Boss from Charlesbridge
Chapters and Scenes that Propel the Reader: A workshop with Erin

Afternoon
Lunch
Plot and Outlines: A workshop with Chris
Free writing time

Evening
Appetizers & Dinner
After Dinner: Movie Night: “Bird by Bird with Annie” followed by a group discussion with Chris and Erin

Day 4
Morning
Breakfast
Play and Improv: A workshop with Chris
Writing and Publishing: Q&A and discussion with Erin and Chris

Afternoon
Lunch
The Writer’s Toolbox, Strategies for Getting Unstuck, Part I: A focus on fear in the creative process, and what we can do about it. Workshop and discussion with Erin
Free writing time

Evening
Appetizers & Dinner
After Dinner: Student Readings: optional but strongly encouraged! Participants may read aloud up to 750 words from their work in progress.

Day 5
Morning
Breakfast
The Writer’s Toolbox, Strategies for Getting Unstuck, Part II: Craft and Technique. A workshop and discussion with Chris and Erin

Goal-setting: Group discussion with Erin and Chris

Afternoon
Lunch & farewells

A Note About Highlights Workshop Agendas

Resources

Chris Tebbetts: Visual Outlining
Chris Tebbetts: As Simple As Possible: Three Ways To Tighten Your Prose
5 Ways to Reclaim Your Creative Joy
Step Away From Your Manuscript & Shake Things Up With Writers’ Bingo
Breaking Through Those Creative Blocks

Testimonials

“I attend a number of workshops, conferences and presentations each year. This has been the best I have been to for a number of reasons. The instructors were amazing–generous with their expertise. The materials they presented were smart, helpful, practical, fun, and (often) moving. They created a supportive environment by being willing to listen to everyone and to share their own vulnerabilities as makers. In other writing sessions from my past experience, I often find myself really uncomfortable because I feel so much emphasis is placed on the product, even when the session is ostensibly on process. Here, the emphasis really was on the joy of the process and the fun of getting back into the puzzle of the manuscript, falling back in love with characters and plot construction, and just the act of putting pen to paper. It was a great workshop.”

“The faculty were very knowledgeable and provided wonderful tools, techniques, support, insight, and encouragement. It was everything I was hoping it would be. I left feeling inspired, nourished (by both information given by the faculty and the excellent food), and excited to come back again.”

“I had at least one “epiphany” and lots of “great idea” moments in every class. The whole faculty was extremely warm and supportive.”

Scholarships Available

Three scholarships are available for this workshop:
Full tuition
Half tuition
Partial tuition
Application deadline is February 27, 2020. Scholarships will be announced March 28, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.

Faculty

Chris Tebbetts

Chris Tebbetts is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the young adult novels ME,…
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Erin Dionne

Erin Dionne’s latest book for tweens is Secrets of a Fangirl (2019). She’s the author of 6 other books for…
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Karen Boss

Karen Boss is an editor at Charlesbridge. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons College and is now…
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Alexandra Villasante

Alex Villasante has always loved telling stories–though not always with words. She has a BFA in Painting and an MA…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,295.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

workshop information

Begins Sunday May 17, with dinner, and ends on Thursday, May 21, with lunch.

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