Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel

March 22 - April 26, 2022


Multi-Week Online Course

  • Live Lectures (with closed captioning) Tuesdays at 7-8pm EST (March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26)
  • Weekly Writing assignments March 22 – April 19
  • Connection with peers in the virtual classroom and optional Community Office Hours for peer-to-peer discussion
  • 1:1 20-minute phone consultation about your project (no written feedback)
  • Weekly informal feedback from your instructor on assignments and open Q & A
  • Optional post-course critique from faculty (for an additional fee)
  • 20 participants max

This six-week online course offers the skills to revise and enrich your novel, and features live sessions with faculty, structured assignments, community interaction, and goal-setting.


  • Informal written feedback in the Virtual Classroom from peers and faculty
  • 1:1, 20-minute phone consultation with faculty to discuss your project (no written feedback)
  • Optional post-course written critique paired with a 30-minute discussion with faculty (for an additional fee)
Line Editing


Work with author/editor Jennifer Gennari to learn how line editing can help you find the balance between description and action, strengthen your character’s emotional arc, and support your word and dialogue choices.
Then, put your new knowledge about line editing and other revision strategies to work on your project in real time.

You will:

  • 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.
  • Watch videos, explore resources, and complete structured assignments.
  • Have weekly online interaction and one 1:1 phone consultation about your book project with your instructor.
  • Discover the value of line editing to improve your manuscript.


  • Novelists (middle grade or YA) or chapter book writers at any stage in their publishing journey.
  • Those with an in-progress or completed draft of a middle grade or young adult novel or chapter book.
  • Those who want valuable revision strategies to use on your work-in-progress and future works.
  • Those who like the structure of weekly lectures and writing exercises. All sessions take place weekly with connections to writing exercises to keep you in your project, with plenty of opportunity to share questions and ideas.


*Note: 1:1 20-minute phone consultations about your book project will be scheduled with Jennifer Gennari once the course begins at a mutually convenient time.
Week One
Tuesday, March 22, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Course Overview and Introductions (Live Session)

  • Welcome with introductions
  • Line Editing: Words, Experiences, Emotions, Dialogue
  • Overview of first writing assignment and how to share in the virtual classroom, including best practices for collaborative feedback.


  • Love Note

Week Two
Tuesday, March 29, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Course Overview and Introductions (Live Session)

  • Avoiding Stage Direction
  • Considering choreography
  • Examining exposition
  • Overview of second writing assignment


  • Character Experience


  • Peer to peer meet-up at Highlights Community Circle, Thursday, March 31 at 7pm Eastern

Week Three
Tuesday, April 5, 7pm – 8pm Eastern:Revising to Strengthen Emotional Arcs (Live Session)

  • Investigating “I/he/she/they thought” statements
  • Comparing physical reactions to taking action
  • Understanding the stakes through character emotions
  • Overview of third writing assignment


  • Character Emotion


  • Peer to peer meet-up at Highlights Community Circle, Thursday, April 7 at 7pm Eastern

Week Four
Tuesday, April 12, 7pm – 8pm Eastern Driving Your Plot with Dialogue (Live Session)

  • Revising attribution tags
  • Adding physical action (“beats”)
  • Using misdirection
  • Overview of fourth writing assignment (beats)


  • Beats


  • Peer to peer meet-up at Highlights Community Circle, Thursday, April 14 at 7pm Eastern

Week Five
Tuesday, April 19, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Analyzing Language at the Word Level (Live Session)

  • The good: the musicality of word choice—sentence length, alliteration (in moderation!), rhymes and rhythm, metaphors, similes
  • The not-so-good: Overused words and phrases—repeated words, overused adverbs, weak verbs, transition words, needless fillers
  • Overview of fifth writing assignment


  • Revise a Scene


  • Peer to peer meet-up at Highlights Community Circle, Thursday, April 21 at 7pm Eastern
  • Celebrate National High Five Day by reading aloud your week five assignment for those ready to share!

Week Six
Tuesday, April 26, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Editing Tips with our Special Guest (Live Session)

  • In-conversation with Jen and Guest
  • Open Q & A
  • Goal Setting

Post-Course (Optional)
Jen Gennari invites writers who attended Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel to submit ten (10) pages of their novel for critique. 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.)


This multi-week online program is best if you attend and engage in all the sessions live. (Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend all the live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings with closed captioning. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through May 31, 2022.)

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


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.

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


Scholarships are available for this workshop–the application deadline is March 7, 2022.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Learning to Love Line Editing


“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.”

“I feel so lucky to have had Jen as an instructor. She was the perfect combination of warm and friendly, and professional and resourceful. I’m a much more confident writer and editor after taking her class.”

Faculty & Special Guests

Jennifer Gennari

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