Programs

Relationships in MG & YA Novels: An Online Course with Editor Kat Brzozowski

September 22 - October 13, 2022

OVERVIEW:

Multi-Week Online Course

The relationships between characters are the backbone of every great contemporary MG and YA novel. Participate in weekly live discussions and Q&A sessions with editor Kat Brzozowski and guests to learn more about crafting deeply meaningful relationships in your novel.

  • Live sessions at 12:00 – 2pm EASTERN each Thursday, September 22 – October 13.
  • Weekly writing exercises.
  • Optional (but encouraged) peer-to-peer community hours at 12pm EASTERN on Mondays (September 26 – November 28) to meet with fellow creatives and share work, and/or discuss responses to writing exercises (no faculty present).
  • Recommended reading throughout the course.
  • Feedback from editor Kat Brzozowski on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel (written feedback, plus a 1:1 20-minute meeting to review the feedback after the final session).
  • 18 participants max

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • Informal written feedback from faculty and peers in the virtual classroom.
  • Peer discussion during office hours (no faculty present).
  • Written feedback from editor Kat Brzozowski on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel, paired with a 20-minute 1:1 meeting following the final session to review feedback.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

The relationships between characters are the backbone of every great contemporary MG and YA novel. They’re really the cornerstone of this genre.
Testimonial
But how do you establish and maintain those relationships over the course of the book?  And how and why should you focus on them?

Join editor Kat Brzozowski to learn why relationships matter, including how to make them shine, how to show your reader about these relationships rather than tell, and how to balance the many relationships your protagonist has in the course of a book.

Explore resources and complete writing exercises to , participate in weekly live discussions and Q&A sessions, and receive faculty feedback on your work.

In this course, you will learn how to make your character relationships the star of your novel as you:

  • Engage in weekly discussions with time for Q & A.
  • Explore resources and complete writing exercises.
  • Receive editor feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.
  • Participate in a community forum to connect with peers, with optional (but encouraged) opportunities to meet at live peer office hours.

Weekly discussions include:

  • Why relationships matter
  • The balancing act between different types of character relationships
  • Showing vs telling about relationships
  • Relationships as plot

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, 2022.

IT’S A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You write contemporary fiction. You can participate in this workshop with or without a work in progress. Be prepared to work on the weekly writing assignments to help grow your ideas.
  • You have an in-progress or completed draft of a middle grade or young adult novel. You’ll discover how to make the relationships in your project richer.
  • You want to make sure that readers connect with your characters. Relationships flesh out your main character in many ways. This program will help you build three dimensional relationships.
  • You need a workshop that fits into your schedule. This is an online course. All live lectures will be recorded so that you can watch the recordings at a time that best fits your needs. The virtual classroom is available for questions and interaction with your faculty and fellow writers.
  • You’d like a high level of engagement with fellow writers and faculty so that you can experiment and grow as a novelist.

DETAILED AGENDA:

At least one week prior to the course, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers and engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards).

Week One

Thursday, September 22, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Discussion One: Relationships Matter in MG and YA
  • Overview of virtual classroom and week one writing exercises

Monday, September 26, 12pm – 1pm Eastern

  • Optional peer-to-peer office hour

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of writing exercises

Week Two

Thursday, September 29, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Special guest interview with Mekisha Telfer, editor at Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan
  • Discussion Two: Different Types of Relationships in MG & YA Novels
  • Overview of week two writing exercises

Monday, October 3, 12pm – 1pm Eastern

  • Optional peer-to-peer office hour

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Discussion of writing exercises
  • Manuscript submissions due by Oct. 5 for 1:1 consultations. Receive editor feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.

Week Three

Thursday, October 6, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Special guest interview with Shannon C.F. Rogers, author of I’d Rather Burn than Bloom (Feiwel & Friends 2023) 
  • Discussion Three: Show and Tell
  • Overview of week three writing exercises

Monday, October 10, 12pm – 1pm Eastern

  • Optional peer-to-peer office hour

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Discussion of writing exercises
  • Sign-up for 1:1s with Kat Brzozowski

Week Four

Thursday, October 13, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Small group sharing and discussion
  • Discussion Four: Relationships as Plot
  • Closing Q & A discussion

Monday, October 17, 12pm – 1pm Eastern

  • Optional peer-to-peer office hour

After the Final Session

  • 1:1 sessions take place at mutually scheduled time between October 10 – 17 to review feedback.
  • Invitation to continue peer-to-peer office hours, Mondays through November 28.

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

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

This multi-week online program is best if you attend or watch all lectures, read suggested texts, and participate in the weekly writing assignments. (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 with closed captioning. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through November 30, 2022.)

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

You’ll also want to take advantage of the 1:1 feedback from the faculty, who will give feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel. The submission deadline is October 5 to allow faculty ample time to familiarize themselves with your work in advance of your meeting.  If this is an issue, please let us know.

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:

Readers of contemporary MG and YA novels want to see and identify with vibrant relationships between the characters of your novel. This course will show you how to make these relationships shine.

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

RELATED RESOURCES:

Three’s Company, Writing a Love Triangle by Kat Brzozowski
YA Romance: A Love Affair With Firsts
Why YA Romance Gets Me Every Time
Kat Brzozowski on MS Wish List
Mekisha Telfer on MS Wish List
Kat Brzozowski on Twitter
Shannon C.F. Rogers website

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Kat is the first person I’ve heard actually describe what voice is that made sense.”

“Approachable and friendly and welcomed any questions we had. I loved every session.”

“I thought Kat Brzozowski was terrific. I found her very honest and enthusiastic. I appreciated her insight and enjoyed hearing her speak. She did a great job of balancing guest speakers as well as giving talks and reading & writing assignments.”

“Kat was friendly, approachable, accessible, and down-to-earth. I felt very comfortable with her. I also loved that she never put anyone on the spot.”

 

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

Faculty

Kat Brzozowski

Kat Brzozowski is a senior editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends. She has edited a wide range of young adult…
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Shannon C.F. Rogers

Special Guest Shannon C.F. Rogers is a writer of young adult novels, short fiction, and plays. She is the author…
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Mekisha Telfer

Special Guest Mekisha Telfer is an editor at Roaring Brook Press (Macmillian), where she is building a list of picture…
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$499.00