Line Editing Your YA or MG Novel (Fall 2022)

September 14 - October 19, 2022


Multi-Week Online Course

  • Live Lectures (with closed captioning) Wednesdays at 7-8pm EST (September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19)
  • Weekly Writing assignments
  • Connection with peers in the virtual classroom, and optional Community Office Hours for peer-to-peer discussion (Thursdays at 7pm during the course)
  • 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
Wednesday, September 14, 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

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Thursday, September 15 at 7pm Eastern

Week Two
Wednesday, September 21, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Finding the Balance Between Description and Action (Live Session)

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


  • Character Experience

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Thursday, September 22 at 7pm Eastern

Week Three
Wednesday, September 28, 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

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Thursday, September 29 at 7pm Eastern

Week Four
Wednesday, October 5, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Driving Your Plot with Dialogue (Live Session)

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


  • Character-revealing dialogue

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Thursday, October 6 at 7pm Eastern

Week Five
Wednesday, October 12, 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


  • Line-edited scene

Optional peer-to-peer office hour: Thursday, October 13 at 7pm Eastern

  • Read aloud your week five assignment for those ready to share!

Week Six
Wednesday, October 19, 7pm – 8pm Eastern: Editing Tips with our Special Guest, Nina LaCour (Live Session)

  • In-conversation with Jen and Nina
  • 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.


Learning to Love Line Editing
Top 5 Reasons to Make a Style Guide for Your Novel


“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.”

Are you looking for information about scholarships? Find out more about the Highlights Foundation scholarship program here.


Jennifer Gennari

Jennifer Gennari is the author of Muffled (Simon & Schuster, 2020), a Junior Library Guild selection, and a Georgia Children’s…
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Nina LaCour

Special Guest Nina LaCour is the bestselling and Michael L. Printz Award-winning author of five critically acclaimed young adult novels…
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