Programs

Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel (and Creating Your Book’s Style Guide!) Online Course + Optional Onsite Retreat 2020

September 14 - November 9, 2020

Online Course: September 13-November 7, 2020
Optional Onsite Retreat: December 3-6, 2020. Register here.

Join Us To:

Develop your book’s editorial style guide to keep details clear, concise, and consistent as you revise. Work with an editor to learn revision strategies, including line editing, to use on your work-in-progress. Explore resources and complete assignments to find the balance between description and action, strengthen your character’s emotional arc and examine your word and dialogue choices.

The course is divided into 8 sessions:

  • Session 1: Course Overview and Introductions
  • Session 2: What is in a Style Guide?
  • Session 3: Your Style Guide in Progress
  • Session 4: Finding the Balance Between Description and Action
  • Session 5: Revising to Strengthen Emotional Arcs
  • Session 6: Driving Your Plot with Dialogue
  • Session 7: Analyzing Language at the Word Level
  • Session 8: Where Do We Go From Here?

In addition, there is an optional Unworkshop weekend, December 3-6, where you can visit our Retreat Center and have unstructured free writing time in addition to an in-person consultation with your instructor. Register for this additional retreat here.

Please note: our online courses use the Thinkific platform, so when you click to register, you’ll land on the Thinkific site and you’ll register there.

What You’ll Learn:

In this workshop, you will develop your editorial style guide and apply revision strategies to your work-in-progress. You will:

  • Watch videos, explore resources and complete structured assignments.
  • Have weekly online chats with your instructor and one phone consultation about your book project.
  • Review sample style guides and develop your book’s editorial style guide.
  • Discover the value of line editing to improve your manuscript.
  • Find the balance between description and action: removing unimportant details, examining exposition.
  • Strengthen your book’s emotional arc through character actions, reactions, thoughts, and inner struggles.
  • Learn how to drive your plot with dialogue.
  • Analyze your word choices: sentence length, metaphors, similes, rhythm.
  • Attend an optional, in-person retreat for free writing time and an in-person consultation with your instructor.

Attend If:

  • You have an in-progress or completed draft of a middle grade or young adult novel. In this course, you’ll create a style guide to help you keep details clear, concise, and consistent as you revise.
  • You want to learn strategies to improve your novel draft. This course will give you valuable revision strategies to use on your work-in-progress and on future novels.
  • You need a workshop that fits into your schedule. This is an online course and you are free to work at your own pace.
  • You’ve taken one of our introductory novel courses and now have an in-progress or completed draft. This workshop is a good “next step” for alums of Novel Beginnings, Summer Camp in Fiction and Getting to Know Your Novel.

Agenda

The course is divided into 8 sessions:

Session 1: Course Overview and Introductions

  • Overview of Thinkific online-learning platform.
  • Course overview, including setting purpose for each section.
  • Instructor introduction.

Session 2: What is in a Style Guide?

  • One-line pitch or tagline: What is your book about?
  • List of characters, in order of appearance, noting physical details and character traits.
  • Locations, key attributes or buildings, distances, orientation (left or right, north or south).
  • Timeline: days, seasons, weather.
  • Chapter by chapter outline, key scenes.
  • List of words, phrases that are particular to your story.
  • Review of sample style guides.

Session 3: Your Style Guide in Progress

  • Questions about creating your style guide.
  • Personalized activities to aid in creating your style guide.
  • Introduction to Line Editing: Experiences, Emotions, Conversations, and Words.

Session 4: Finding the Balance Between Description and Action

  • Avoiding stage direction (remove unimportant details).
  • Considering choreography (use setting and movement).
  • Examining exposition (turn summary into action).

Session 5: Revising to Strengthen Emotional Arcs

  • Investigating “I/he/she/they thought” statements.
  • Comparing physical reactions to taking action.
  • Understanding the stakes through character emotions.

Session 6: Driving Your Plot with Dialogue

  • Revising attribution tags.
  • Adding in physical action (“beats”).
  • Using misdirection.

Session 7: Analyzing Language at the Word Level

  • The good: the musicality of word choice—sentence length, alliteration (in moderation!), rhymes and rhythm, metaphors, similes.
  • The bad: Overused words and phrases—repeated words, overused adverbs, weak verbs, transition words, needless fillers.

Session 8: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Sharing questions we may still have.
  • Scheduling one-to-one consultations and optional unworkshop.
  • Setting a goal to put the lessons into practice.

In addition, there is an optional Unworkshop weekend, December 3-6, where you can visit our Retreat Center and have unstructured free writing time in addition to an in-person consultation with your instructor. Register here.

Faculty & Special Guests

Jennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari is the author of Muffled (Simon & Schuster, 2020) and My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,…
Learn more

Event Cost: $499.00

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