Programs

Emotional Impact & Your Picture Book

February 19 - May 21, 2022

OVERVIEW:

Multi-Month Online Course

  • 4 months of programming
  • Live Lectures the third Saturday of each month (February 19, March 19, April 16, and May 21) from 12pm Eastern – 4pm Eastern
  • Optional Live Office Hours Thursdays, February 24 – May 19 at 7pm Eastern
  • Weekly Discussions in Virtual Classroom with engaged faculty responses
  • In-course 1:1 meet and greet with editor and publisher Eileen Robinson to discuss your goals for the course
  • Post course 1:1 review of one complete picture book manuscript (via a 30-minute Zoom consultation)
  • During the course, Eileen will have guests whose insight will add to the emotional impact of your story.
  • Closed captions available at all live sessions, and in recordings
  • 20 participants max

This multi-month online course digs into the heart of a picture book—and by “heart” we mean the emotional impact that causes our hearts to swell, squeeze, and bump-bump because of a stunning story!

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • Informal Written Feedback in the Virtual Classroom from peers and faculty
  • Informal Feedback during LIVE Saturday sessions
  • Optional, but encouraged, peer feedback during LIVE office hours
  • Post-course review of manuscript and 30-minute consultation with faculty to discuss work-in-progress and/or publishing related questions.
Emotional Impact

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Picture books come in a variety of forms and structures. Whether the narrative is character-driven or action-driven, there is no story without an emotional hook. Join celebrated editor, publisher and writer Eileen Robinson to get to the heart of your picture book by embracing who you are as a storyteller and what your picture book needs to grab a reader’s attention.

Our readers must connect from the start of the story, follow alongside our characters during the journey, and then leave the book having changed. It’s true—our character’s emotional growth must also cause an emotional change in our readers. This idea is a passion for Eileen Robinson, and she’s ready to share it with you through hands-on exercises, storyboarding, discussions, and more.

During this course, you will:

  • Enjoy lectures that uncover who YOU are as a writer, allow for PLAY within drafts and with ideas, explore setting and dialogue as expressions of emotion, and discover the many ways you can make your reader care about your story.
  • Work collaboratively with fellow writers and faculty.
  • Read a variety of picture book texts.
  • Write drafts, ideas, and personal narrative to find the stories that only you can tell.

During our four months together, our time offline will be just as important as our time online. For the best experience in this course, you will carve out time to write, revise, and read before each live session.

Please note that your faculty will only be attending one office hour per month; the other sessions are for your discussions with fellow writers. These sessions are optional, but encouraged and will allow you to get the most out of this four-month course.

IT’S A GREAT FIT FOR:

  • Picture book writers (fiction or nonfiction). Whether you are brand new to writing picture books or have a few at various stages of production, this intensive course will bring the emotional resonance needed to complete your projects.
  • Creatives looking to learn more about picture books. Are you a novelist ready to stretch into picture books? An illustrator trying to add writing to your repertoire too? This course will help you grow as a picture book writer.
  • You’re ready to devote some time to learn and practice. This course offers long-term support over four months and allows you to learn at your own pace.

DETAILED AGENDA:

This course runs for four months and is a mix of live programming, independent writing exercises, and community opportunities in the virtual classroom and during open office hours.

Live presentations are the third Saturday of each month from 12pm – 4pm Eastern. Dates are noted in the agenda below.

There are also weekly live Zoom Office Hours on Thursdays, February 24 – May 19. (Please note that your faculty will only be attending one office hour per month; the other sessions are for your discussions with fellow writers. These sessions are optional, but encouraged.)

*Note: Your 1:1 consultation with Eileen will be scheduled after the final session of the course, at a mutually convenient time.

Month One: February
Saturday, February 19, 12pm – 4pm Eastern:
Course Overview, Introductions, and YOU at the Heart of the Story (Live)

  • Welcome with introductions
  • Presentation One: What keeps you alive?
  • Presentation Two: Who I was meant to be: Experiences that make us
  • Overview of course syllabus, including how to access online materials, engage in the discussion board with fellow writers, and what to expect from the office hours.
  • Overview of this month’s assignment and how to schedule your 1:1 meet and greet with Eileen (no submissions for this meeting, instead time to discuss goals for the course)

Optional Live Office Hours (Thursdays at 7pm EST):

  • February 24 with Eileen: Bring your questions for open discussion

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Assignment: Vulnerability—conflict and challenges (self and character)
    • Post your reactions in the virtual classroom
    • Bring reflections to office hours to share
  • READ: please reflect on picture books as they showcase vulnerability
  • Sign up for your informal meet and greet with Eileen (15 minute calls to discuss goals for the course, hosted between February 20 – March 18)

Month Two: March
Saturday, March 19, 12pm – 4pm Eastern:
Silence, Dialogue, Voice, POV (Live)

  • Group Check In
  • Presentation One: Storyboards
  • Presentation Two: Whose story is more compelling?
  • Discussion: Writing about race, culture, religion, and global experiences in your picture book
  • Overview of this month’s assignment

Optional Live Office Hours (Thursdays at 7pm EST):

  • March 3: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • March 10: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • March 17: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • March 24 with Eileen: Bring your questions for open discussion
  • March 31: Peer discussion, no faculty

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Assignment: Dialogue and Silence, Ambiguity and Directness, What’s more powerful?
    • Going back to your storyboard
    • Post your reactions in the virtual classroom
    • Bring reflections to office hours to share
  • READ: please reflect on picture books that celebrate silence and/or directness

Month Three: April
Saturday, April 16, 12pm – 4pm Eastern:
What is texture? (Live)

  • Group Read Aloud (share a story, share a scene, or storyboard)
  • Presentation One: Discussion on observations of dialogue and silence
  • Presentation Two: Feeling with all my senses
  • Overview of this month’s assignment

Optional Live Office Hours (Thursdays at 7pm EST):

  • April 7: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • April 14: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • April 21 with Eileen: Bring your questions for open discussion
  • April 28: Peer discussion, no faculty

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Assignment: Ideas in action: Evaluating your drafts and ideas— What works? What questions do you have? What is ready for revision?
    • Post your reactions in the virtual classroom
    • Bring reflections to office hours to share
  • READ: your own work and those from fellow writers posted in the virtual classroom

Month Four: May
Saturday, May 21, 12pm – 4pm Eastern:
Emotional Arc and Sacrifice (Live)

  • Read a revision (up to 1,000 words) to read with the group
  • Presentation One: The emotional arc of the scene, the character, and the story
  • Presentation Two: Emotional sacrifice
  • Open discussion
  • Overview of 1:1 consultation and submission

Optional Live Office Hours (Thursdays at 7pm EST):

  • May 5: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • May 12: Peer discussion, no faculty
  • May 19 with Eileen: Bring your questions for open discussion

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Submit a full manuscript (up to 1,200 words) with cover letter.
    • List specific questions for Eileen in your cover letter.
    • Due on or before May 31.
    • Set up your 1:1 consultation with Eileen between June 1 – June 15.

Post-Course Consultation with Eileen Robinson: Included in the program you will receive feedback on one full picture book manuscript following the last class. This submission can be from something you’ve shared in class, or something completely new. The word count must be limited to 1,200 words (including back matter) and be accompanied by a cover letter that includes specific questions for Eileen. This submission is due between May 21 – 31, with consultations beginning June 1 and running through June 15. You will have a 30-minute Zoom meeting with Eileen to discuss the project and make plans for revision.

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

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through June 30, 2022. Closed captions will be available on all live sessions, and recordings from live sessions.

The course also includes writing exercises, community interaction, and goal setting. To maximize your investment in the course, take advantage of these.

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

HOW IT IMPACTS KIDS:

Books can promote emotional growth in children. This course will help you create those emotional hooks that will impact your readers’ lives.

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

RELATED RESOURCES:

Writing Picture Books That Meet Kids Where They Are
Picture Books: Funny, Touching, Complex, Poignant, Memorable
That’s What Heart Does
3 Tips for Writing Funny Picture Books
Word Choices: Writing Picture Books That Soar

FROM OUR COMMMUNITY:

“The faculty was highly knowledgeable, very willing to share their ideas and expertise. Eileen was very supportive and gave me excellent insight into opportunities to push my WIP further!”

“The faculty was patient, kind, respectful, thoughtful and gave great feedback while also focusing on the positive. They were both wonderful to work with and I’d love to take a class with either of them again in the future.”

“The faculty members were knowledgeable, supportive, generous with their time and in answering our questions, and in bringing resources and writing exercises that to us that helped to elevate our skills and understanding of not only what more we could do but why it’s useful to do it.”

Faculty & Special Guests

Eileen Robinson

Eileen Robinson has worked with children’s writers all over the world for over twenty years. Former Executive Editor at Scholastic…
Learn more

$699.00