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Developing a Series in Chapter Books Online Workshop

With Debbi Michiko Florence, Kashmira Sheth, Rona Shirdan, Meg Eden and Wiley Blevins

June 14 - 17, 2021

Program is fully booked

TYPE:

Online (Facilitated)

COVID Reschedule/Refund Policy
What’s the difference between Highlights Foundation workshop types?

LENGTH:

4 days

PARTICIPANT CAP:

20

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Beloved characters. Story arcs and plot development that excites growing readers. Long-term revenue opportunities.

This workshop takes a deep look at the intersection of craft and commercial viability in writing and selling a chapter book series.

Together with your faculty and a guest editor or agent, you’ll discover how to craft a familiar and relatable chapter book series that stands out and sells well. You’ll learn about market needs for chapter book series, and find out how to submit your series to editors and agents.

You’ll also get faculty 1:1 consultation and feedback on your first chapter (up to 5 pages) and one-page series synopsis to help you revise and polish your work to get ready for submission.

HOW IT IMPACTS KIDS:

Early readers and chapter books are an important part in a child’s reading development, allowing children time to develop the necessary skills, confidence, and love of reading that will put them on the path of becoming successful lifelong readers. Chapter book series engage kids with relatable characters, engaging plots and age-appropriate stories.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You’re a picture book or middle grade author. Curious about whether you can write a chapter book series? We’ll help you find out.
  • You’ve got an idea for a chapter book series. You’ll get one-to-one feedback to help you strengthen your idea, and you’ll get an in-depth look at the elements needed to create a series.
  • You’re good at plotting, outlining, and meeting deadlines. Creating and sustaining a chapter book series takes a different kind of commitment than doing a stand-alone book.
  • You want an online experience that is more intimate than a self-paced online course. This course has live sessions, faculty touchpoint opportunities and peer community built-in.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

This course takes place over 4 days, with live Zoom peer group sessions starting at 5:30pm Eastern, and live Zoom faculty lectures, Q&A sessions, and exercises at 7pm Eastern.

(Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. They’re usually posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through July 30.)

Writing exercises and resources will be available daily in the virtual classroom, and available through July 30. If you’re able to do these in real-time with the workshop, your experience will be enhanced.

Your 1:1 consultation with your faculty mentor will be scheduled on the second day of the workshop (Tuesday, June 15). Submissions of your materials for the consultation (first chapter–up to 5 pages–and one-page series synopsis) will be due May 25.

Note: there will be opportunities for peer critique within your small groups. Submissions for peer-to-peer critiques (first 3 chapters–or 15 pages–plus one-page series synopsis) will be due May 25.

Trying to figure out how this course fits into your schedule? Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment.

MORE DETAILS:

This is a four-day online workshop that features evening live lectures, discussions, online Q&A sessions, peer roundtable groups, writing exercises and an agent interview. There will be 1:1 sessions with faculty on your first chapter (up to 5 pages) and one-page series synopsis. Questions we’ll be answering:

  • What makes it a “chapter book” series?
  • What is the ideal word count for readers? (And other important formatting details!)
  • What are editors looking for in today’s market?
  • How do you craft characters and story arcs for growing readers?
  • How do you create a series with readability, relatable characters, and familiarity?
  • How do you submit a chapter book series to editors or agents?

Nervous about critiques? See how the Highlights Foundation approaches the process here.

AGENDA:

Monday, June 14
live Zoom session, 6:30pm Eastern
Meet your small group, introductions

7pm Eastern
Welcome and Introductions
Opening lecture from Debbi Michiko Florence: Overview of chapter book series, followed by Q & A with Debbi and Kashmira

Tuesday, June 15
Throughout the day:
1:1 consultations with faculty (Note: Submissions of your materials for the consultation (first chapter–up to 5 pages–and one-page series synopsis) will be due May 25.
In the virtual classroom: writing prompts and resources

5:30pm Eastern
Live ZOOM: Meet with your small group

Note: there will be opportunities for peer critique within your small groups. Submissions for peer-to-peer critiques (first 3 chapters–or 15 pages–plus one-page series synopsis) will be due May 25.

7pm Eastern
Live Zoom: Writing Exercise
Opening paragraphs for your chapter book, followed by Q&A with Debbi and Kashmira

Wednesday, June 16
In the virtual classroom: writing exercises and resources

5:30pm Eastern
Live Zoom: Meet with your small group

7pm Eastern
Live Zoom lecture: Plotting across series–ideas to story development, followed by Q&A with Kashmira

Thursday, June 17
In the virtual classroom: writing exercises and resources

5:30pm Eastern
Live Zoom: Meet with your small group

7pm Eastern
Live Zoom: Revision session with guest editor or agent TBD, followed by final Q&A

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve.

RELATED RESOURCES:

What Makes a Successful Chapter Book Series? Some Examples
Early Readers and Transitional Chapter Books: What Are They and Why Are They Important?
Picture book? Early Reader? Chapter Book? Where Does Your Story Fit?
Using Rhyme & Repetition to Build Reading Confidence
Scholastic’s Branches, a line of early chapter books.

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“The faculty was amazing, super helpful and I loved our interactions. My 1-on-1 was great.”

“I thought Debbi and Kashmira were very supportive and encouraging. Debbi was my MS mentor and I feel that she spent time reading my story and provided thoughtful comments that will help me revise.”

“I love the peer roundtables. The prolonged sharing of ideas was the first time in any online seminar that I really felt connected to the other students.”

“I loved how the faculty shared their own experiences while also encouraging us to explore our own rhythms and techniques.”

“I feel so excited to keep writing this series and I have so many new ideas. The feedback from faculty and my classmates was very in-depth and powerful. And as usual, the whole experience was very luxurious – Jo’s daily emails, the kindness and ease of the faculty and staff and the fact that the technology was seamless!”

Leaders

Debbi Michiko Florence
Debbi Michiko Florence is the author of the Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series (JLG selections, the Amelia Bloomer and CCBC Choices…
Learn more about Debbi Michiko Florence
Kashmira Sheth
Kashmira Sheth writes picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, and young adult fiction. Her books have received many awards…
Learn more about Kashmira Sheth
Rona Shirdan
Special Guest Rona Shirdan is living her best life as a writer, freelance copy editor, and proofreader. She is the…
Learn more about Rona Shirdan
Meg Eden
Special Guest Meg Eden is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and her work is published or forthcoming in magazines including…
Learn more about Meg Eden
Wiley Blevins
Wiley has worked in publishing for almost 30 years. He has written several early readers, such as Max Has a…
Learn more about Wiley Blevins