Programs

Emotional Impact & Your Picture Book

September 24 - December 17, 2022

OVERVIEW:

Multi-Month Online Course

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.

Embrace who you are as a storyteller, and explore what your picture book needs to have emotional resonance with your reader with writer, editor, and publisher Eileen Robinson.

 

  • 4 months of programming
  • Live Lectures on select Saturdays each month (September 24, October 15, November 26, and December 17) from 12pm Eastern – 4pm Eastern
  • Optional Live Office Hours on Thursdays at 7pm Eastern (September 29, 2022 – January 26, 2023)
  • Weekly Discussions in the Virtual Classroom with engaged faculty responses
  • A 20-minute, 1:1 Zoom meet and greet with editor and publisher Eileen Robinson to discuss your goals for the course (September 26 – 30, scheduled at mutually convenient times.)
  • A post course 1:1 review of one complete picture book manuscript via a 30-minute Zoom consultation (January 9 – 13, scheduled at mutually convenient times.)
  • 16 participants max

 

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
  • A mid- and post-course review of manuscript, and a 30-minute post-course Zoom consultation with faculty to discuss a work-in-progress and/or publishing related questions.

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. Our readers must connect from the start of the story, follow alongside our characters during the journey, and then leave the book transformed.
Emotional Impact and Your Picture Book
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.

Join writer, editor, and publisher Eileen Robinson, with monthly guests.  Get to the heart of your picture book, embrace who you are as a storyteller, and explore what your picture book needs to have emotional resonance with your reader.

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 Eileen 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 September 24, October 15, November 26, and December 17 from 12pm Eastern – 4pm Eastern (all Saturdays). If you miss any live sessions, they will be recorded.  Recordings will be shared with you within 24 hours of the live session.

There are also weekly live Zoom Office Hours on Thursdays, September 29, 2022 – January 26, 2023 at 7pm Eastern. (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 first Zoom meet and greet with Eileen will be scheduled between September 26 – 30, and your final 1:1 Zoom consultation with Eileen will be scheduled between January 9 – 13, at a mutually convenient times.

Prior to the course, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and review details about submissions.

Month One: September

Saturday, September 24, 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 Zoom meet and greet with Eileen (there will be no submissions for this meeting; you’ll have time to discuss goals for the course)

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

  • 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.

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 (20 minute Zoom to discuss goals for the course, hosted between September 26 – 30)

Month Two: October
Saturday, October 15, 12pm – 4pm Eastern: Silence, Dialogue, Voice, POV (Live)

  • Group Check In
  • Special Guest visitor!
  • 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):

  • 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.

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: November
Saturday, November 26, 12pm – 4pm Eastern: What is texture? (Live)

  • Special guest visitor!
  • 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):

  • 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.

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: December
Saturday, December 17, 12pm – 4pm Eastern: Emotional Arc and Sacrifice (Live)

  • Special guest visitor!
  • Bring a revision (up to 800 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 Zoom consultation and submission

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

  • 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.

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Submit a full manuscript (up to 800 words) with query letter.
    • List specific questions for Eileen with your query letter.
    • Due by December 29.
    • Set up your 1:1 Zoom consultation with Eileen between January 9 – 13, 2023.

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 800 words (you may also include back matter) and be accompanied by a query letter that also includes specific questions for Eileen. This submission is due between December 18 – 29, 2022, with Zoom consultations beginning January 9 and running through January 13. 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 January 31, 2023. 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 COMMUNITY:

“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.”

PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE STILL ADDING FACULTY TO THIS WORKSHOP.

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

$799.00