Programs

Creating an Image System That Works for Your Verse Novel

September 29 - October 27, 2021

TYPE & LENGTH:

  • Five-week, online course (September 29-October 27)
  • Build your own image system through weekly Wednesday live Zoom lectures, discussions, writing exercises, and one workshopping opportunity

PARTICIPANT CAP:

16

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Image systems workshop
What is an image system?
An image system is the family of images (metaphors, similes, symbols, etc.) an author chooses to showcase in their verse novel. An image system, by use of extended metaphors, can show how characters emotionally grow and change through the course of a story. They also can work to build story tension, foreshadow events, develop secondary characters, inspire characters to action, illuminate setting and reflect a story question or theme. The term image system originally comes from filmmakers. From NY Film Academy: “An image system is an image or a motif that is repeated during a film.”

This course will help you build your own image system that consistently brings out the core idea of your novel in verse. You will:

  • Learn key considerations in image system development, including balancing story with poetry.
  • Consider story components: setting & time period, main character’s developmental stage of life, passion/hobby/viewpoint.
  • Explore questions to consider when writing a verse novel.
  • Consider which poetic and story conventions to employ.
  • Work with figurative language, beyond the metaphor & simile.
  • Study verse novel tips from the poet’s toolbox.
  • Attend live Zoom sessions weekly (Wednesdays at 1pm Eastern)
  • Watch videos, explore resources and complete structured assignments.
  • Review sample image systems and design one to use in your novel in verse.

Required reading:

  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Audacity by Melanie Crowder
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Suggested Reading:

  • Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
  • The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
  • Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You have an in-progress or completed draft of a middle grade or young adult novel in verse. In this course, you’ll create an image system that supports the core idea of your novel in verse. An image system is something to try when you are either first starting a verse novel or revising one that isn’t quite working.
  • You need a workshop that fits into your schedule. This is an online course and you are free to work at your own pace on the assignments. You can attend the lectures LIVE or watch the recordings, if that fits your schedule best.

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

  • This course is best experienced if you can attend the live sessions (or watch the recordings) within the week of their release and complete the writing exercises and reading assignments before the next live session.
  • You’ll maximize the course if you allow some free time to construct your image system and post it in the virtual classroom to be workshopped with the class.
  • 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. They’re usually posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through November 30, 2021.

TENTATIVE AGENDA:

Wednesday September 29, 1pm Eastern
Session 1: Course Overview, Introductions and What is an Image System?
Writing exercise and reading assignments.

Wednesday, October 6, 1pm Eastern
Session 2: Image Systems in Verse Novels: An Analysis with Mentor Text.
Writing exercise and reading assignments.

Wednesday, October 13, 1pm Eastern
Session 3: What Makes for a Strong Image? Part 1: Story/character components of image construction, and incorporating these into your own image system.
Writing exercise and a discussion question to consider.

Wednesday, October 20, 1pm Eastern
Session 4: What Makes for a Strong Image? Part 2: Poetic components of image construction, and incorporating these into your own image system.

Wednesday, October 27, 1pm Eastern
Session 5: Workshop your image system with the class.

Please note:
If you’re unable for any reason to attend a session, you’ll have access to the recordings of each through November 30, 2021.

Required reading (please read by Week Two of class):

  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • Audacity by Melanie Crowder
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Suggested Reading:

  • Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
  • The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen
  • Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen

Assignments:
Each week of the course you will have a detailed assignment from Cordelia.

Assignments can be posted in the virtual classroom. If you do not wish to have peer or faculty feedback on your assignment(s), you do not need to post in the forum. In addition, the final week includes feedback on 8-10 poems from your work-in-progress, with the option to offer one poem for workshopping at the LIVE session.

HOW THIS WORKSHOP IMPACTS KIDS:

Verse novels can provide a powerful emotional experience for young readers. This workshop will help you strengthen yours by showing you how to incorporate poetic, story and character components into an own image system that supports the core idea of your novel.

RELATED RESOURCES:

Imagining an Image System, by Cordelia Jensen
Auditioning Poetry Devices for Your Verse Novel’s Voice, by Cordelia Jensen
YA Wednesday: Better and Verse, by Padma Venkatraman
Read a verse novel a day for National Poetry Month
Best 9 Tips On Plotting a Novel in Verse from the Fiction Notes blog.

HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION RESOURCES AND FAQS FOR WORKSHOPS:

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Cordelia was a sensitive and smart reader of our work in progress, linking it effectively to the material under study. The class offered an interesting, intelligent and indirect way to think about my novel draft. For me it unlocked the work and allowed me to find the momentum and energy I was seeking.”

“Cordelia was an excellent teacher and shared above and beyond and made the whole class experience worthwhile and informative.”

“Cordelia shared an amazing amount of information. There is so little available on Free Verse and I was thrilled to be part of this class.”

“I came into the course with very little knowledge about actually writing a verse novel and employing an image system. I left with a world of information.”

Faculty & Special Guests

Cordelia Jensen

Cordelia Jensen graduated with a MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in…
Learn more

$399.00