Online Summer Camp In Writing Fiction for Children & Teens 2020

July 5 - 10, 2020

Please note: this course is full. Please click here to be placed on our waiting list.

Join Us Online

We’ve reinvented our Summer Camp as an online experience, with five whole days of intensive instruction, mentorship, manuscript feedback, peer community and hands-on activities. We’ve been doing this for over 35 years, and within this year’s unique structure you can expect the same focus on craft, community & mentorship that we’ve always provided. Join us for:

  • An immersive week-long experience rich in community, craft, and mentorship that will keep you inspired and accountable this summer.
  • COMMUNITY: Daily informal online meetups with peers and faculty (4 pm EDT) covering topics like submissions, goal setting, establishing writing practices, and more.
  • CRAFT: Daily LIVE online craft breakout sessions with faculty (5 pm EDT), plus daily LIVE keynotes from faculty members (7 pm EDT) followed by a Q&A session.
  • MENTORSHIP: 1:1 online time with your assigned faculty mentor in three parts across the week: 1) written feedback; 2) a 20-minute online video call to review the written feedback; and 3) a 20-minute online video call followup on feedback and goal setting.

Note: Each day you will choose a LIVE breakout session to attend, but all breakouts will be recorded and you’ll be able to view them all. Also, if you have to miss any of the LIVE sessions, you’ll have access to recorded content for 30 days.

Online Workshop Participant Cap:


What You’ll Learn & Experience:

At our online Summer Camp, you will:

  • Hear inspirational and educational keynotes by our celebrated faculty.
  • Learn the basics of writing query letters and submitting manuscripts.
  • Get an overview of the children’s book market.
  • Attend a Q&A with an editor.
  • Work one-to-one with your faculty mentor.
  • Do hands-on exercises to help you grow as a writer.
  • Participate in daily break-out sessions in creating rich characters, developing voice, constructing settings, and structuring plot.
  • Participate in community GO! sessions to do writing sprints.
  • Attend “Open Hours,” with themed informal talks and problem-solving
  • Optional book club and open mic sessions.

Here is a sampling of past breakout sessions:

  • Waking the Inner Voice: It’s Time
  • Creating Convincing Characters
  • Plot Like a Film
  • Attention, Image, Language: Developing Narrative Voice
  • Got Query? How to Craft a Pitch for Query Letters
  • Picture Book Idea Generator
  • Propulsive Language: Making Stories MOVE
  • Creating a Sense of Place
  • Minor Characters and Transitional Scenes
  • Writing is Re-writing: Maximizing Revision
  • Dialogue Busters: Crafting Conversation in Fiction
  • Have You Scene This: Scene Writing Exercises
  • The Importance of the Page Turn
  • What I Really Want to Write About: Finding Stories That Matter

Attend If:

  • You are a fiction writer of picture books or novels. With a large faculty that publishes across genres, there is a little something for everyone at Camp.
  • You’ve always wanted to write or illustrate a children’s book. This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of children’s literature.
  • You have an in-progress or finished manuscript and would like feedback. Your faculty mentor will give you feedback, answer questions and support you in setting goals.

One month prior to Summer Camp you will be invited to send a complete picture book manuscript or 10 pages of a longer piece of fiction. This submission will be used by your mentor to provide you with your first, written feedback. You will subsequently have two Zoom calls with your mentor to discuss feedback, ask questions and set goals.


“I’ve never found a more supportive or knowledgeable faculty at any other workshop or conference.”

“The mentoring staff members were amazing. All were open, honest, and encouraging. They didn’t just tell us what we wanted to hear – they told us things to make our writing sizzle.”


Traci Chee

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Kwame Mbalia

Kwame is a husband, father, writer, and pharmaceutical metrologist in that order. His debut middle-grade novel, Tristan Strong Punches a…
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Laura Sibson

After a career in undergraduate counseling, Laura Sibson pursued an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not…
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David Bowles

David Bowles is a Mexican-American author from south Texas, where he teaches at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley.…
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Lesléa Newman

Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for readers of all ages including the children’s classic, Heather Has Two…
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Patricia Lee Gauch

SKYPE Guest Former vice president and editor at large of Philomel Books, Patti is now a fulltime writer and lecturer.…
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Elizabeth Lee

Special Guest Elizabeth Lee is on the editorial team of Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, currently acquiring everything…
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Alison Green Myers

Special Guest Alison Green Myers is the program director for the non-profit Highlights Foundation, which supports children’s book writers and…
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