Programs

Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel (and Creating Your Book’s Style Guide!)

September 22 - November 10, 2021

TYPE & LENGTH:

An eight-week online course (September 22-November 10) featuring:

  • Live lectures from faculty
  • Pre-recorded lectures, resources to explore and structured assignments
  • Weekly online group chats with your instructor and one phone consultation about your book project.
  • Community interaction and goal-setting

PARTICIPANT CAP:

16

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

The course is divided into 8 sessions:

  • Session 1: Course Overview and Introductions
  • Session 2: What’s in a Style Guide?
  • Session 3: Your Style Guide Check-In and Line Editing Introduction
  • 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?

Scroll down to see a more detailed agenda with dates and times.

During the course, you will

  • Watch videos, explore resources and complete structured assignments.
  • Have weekly group chats online 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.

IT’S A GREAT FIT 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’re ready to devote some time to learn and practice. This course offers long-term support over 8 weeks and allows you to learn at your own pace with pre-recorded materials.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

You will get the most benefit from this course if you attend all of the live sessions, watch the pre-recorded sessions in the week they are assigned, and attend the optional live office hours with the instructor.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend the live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. The recordings are typically posted the day after the live session, and they’ll be available through December 31, 2021.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:

The course is divided into 8 sessions. Four are live, and the other four you may watch on your own. During the weeks with pre-recorded sessions, the instructor will hold informal discussion groups instead of live lecture sessions.

Pre-course details: The virtual classroom opens on September 19, 2021 with pre-conference materials and opportunities to connect with your classmates.

Note: Individual phone consultations about your book project will be scheduled when the course begins.

Wednesday, September 22, 7 pm Eastern
Session 1 (live): Course Overview and Introductions 

  • Overview of online-learning platform.
  • Course overview, including setting purpose for each section.
  • Instructor introduction.
  • Open discussion about peer feedback and best practices.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Week 2: Week of September 26
Wednesday, September 29, 7 pm Eastern
Session 2 (live): What is in a Style Guide?

  • One-line pitch or tagline: What is your book about?
  • List of characters, noting physical details and character traits.
  • Setting: Locations, buildings, distances, orientation.
  • Timeline: days, seasons, weather, chapter chronology.
  • List of words, phrases that are particular to your story.
  • Review of sample style guides.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Week 3: Week of October 3
Wednesday, October 6, 7 pm Eastern
Session 3 (live): Your Style Guide Check-In and Line Editing 

  • Questions about creating your style guide and shared insights.
  • Personalized advice to aid in creating your style guide.
  • Introduction to Line Editing: Words, Experiences, Emotions, Dialogue.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Week 4: Week of October 10
Session 4 (watch on your own): Finding the Balance Between Description and Action  

  • Three pre-recorded videos
  • Avoiding stage direction (remove unimportant details).
  • Considering choreography (use setting and movement).
  • Examining exposition (turn summary into action).
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Wednesday, October 13, 7 pm Eastern
(Live) Optional Office Hours

Week 5: Week of October 17
Session 5 (watch on your own): Revising to Strengthen Emotional Arcs

  • Two videos
  • Investigating “I/he/she/they thought” statements.
  • Comparing physical reactions to taking action.
  • Understanding the stakes through character emotions.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Wednesday, October 20, 7 pm Eastern
(Live) Optional Office Hours

Week 6: Week of October 24
Session 6 (watch on your own): Driving Your Plot with Dialogue

  • Two videos
  • Revising attribution tags.
  • Adding in physical action (“beats”).
  • Using misdirection.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Wednesday, October 27, 7 pm Eastern
(Live) Optional Office Hours

Week 7: Week of October 31
Session 7 (watch on your own): Analyzing Language at the Word Level

  • Two videos
  • 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.
  • Virtual classroom materials include assignment details, articles, podcasts, and/or videos.

Wednesday, November 3, 7 pm Eastern
(Live) A conversation and Q&A with award-winning author Kekla Magoon

Week 8: Week of November 7
Wednesday, November 10, 7 pm Eastern
Session 8 (live): Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Reading aloud your week seven assignment for those ready to share.
  • Discussing questions we may still have.
  • Setting a goal to put the lessons into practice.

Post-course optional critiques: Jen Gennari invites writers who attended Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel the opportunity to submit ten (10) pages of their novel.  Writers may submit any ten page portion. Following submission, written feedback will be provided within 4 – 6 weeks and a 30-minute phone consultation will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. The cost for this optional critique is $125. Instructions on where to upload your submission will be provided at the closing session of the course. (This optional submission is separate from the in-course feedback.)

HOW THIS PROGRAM IMPACTS KIDS:

Middle grade and young adult readers want to read novels with powerful plots and compelling characters. Implementing a style guide for your novel will help you track the important details that give your story a strong foundation.

HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION RESOURCES AND FAQS FOR WORKSHOPS:

RELATED RESOURCES:

Learning to Love Line Editing, by Jennifer Gennari

Top 5 Reasons to Make a Style Guide for Your Book:
What is a style guide? According to Jennifer Gennari, it’s a concise, handy resource for someone else to reference when editing your story. Her top 5 reasons to make a style guide:

  1. Define details of an imaginary world or setting
  2. Keep track of your time period or historical elements
  3. Monitor characters and their characteristics
  4. Note the calendar (day, hour, month) in each chapter
  5. Support you toward a consistent, submit-ready manuscript

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Jen is a wonderful instructor. She’s put together a course that is accessible, gives excellent craft instruction, and well-structured opportunities for revising based on weekly lessons and receiving feedback about short writing submissions. I especially enjoyed the weeks with access to both recorded lectures and in-person office hours. Jen went above and beyond by researching answers to questions people asked and posting additional information in the online forum. She also made an effort to expand the books she referred to in order to reflect the genres the course participants were writing in.”

“Jennifer Gennari was really good at giving specific and detailed feedback. Her use of mentor texts and examples of how projects change with editing was incredibly illuminating. Breaking down the process of editing with examples from mentor texts as well as opportunities to apply new strategies/approaches was transformative.”

“Jen Gennari’s knowledge of craft, deep love of writing and reading, and ability to create compact lessons filled with valuable tools made this one of the best workshops I’ve ever participated in. More than that, Jen’s warmth and ability to connect made each live session productive and enjoyable. Jen’s supplemental materials (podcasts, articles, etc.) were a fantastic addition.”

Faculty

Jennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari is the author of Muffled (Simon & Schuster, 2020), a Junior Library Guild selection, and My Mixed-Up Berry…
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Kekla Magoon

Special Guest: Kekla Magoon is the author of many award-winning novels and nonfiction books for young readers, including The Season…
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$499.00