Unlocking Your Story: Forms and Genres, A Mashup 2019

October 24 - 27, 2019


Is your work-in-progress begging to break free? Find the form that best fits the story you hope to tell.

Join Newbery winner Kathi Appelt and author Lindsey Lane for an investigation into the dynamic shape of your story. Explore the important elements that make up a story as well as how these elements shift inside various formats and genres.

In the workshop, we’re going to look hard at the various forms of our stories to see whether or not the form feels organic. Moreover, we’ll challenge each other to test the story in forms that may surprise you. In the process, we’ll take a look at genres, too.

For example, a prose novel might work better as a novel-in-verse, or a poem might want to transform into a picture book, or the truth of nonfiction might need to see itself in a novel.

Kathi Appelt talks about what to expect from the workshop:

What You’ll Learn

From the preliminary agenda:

  • Genres abound: What’s Out There for Kids and Teens
  • The Short Story: A Mini-Course
  • One-to-one critiques
  • Small group workshopping
  • Writing exercises
  • Faculty lectures
  • From page to screen; film adaptation of a novel
  • Idea generation
  • Goal setting
  • The faculty will review up to 10 pages of your work-in-progress and draft alternate formats for you to “play” with while on campus.

Who Should Attend

Writers at all levels are welcome at this workshop!

We imagine people arriving at this workshop with a piece or a fragment or an idea and basically thinking, I’ve got something, but I don’t know what it is. And them we would look at form by considering what’s possible (while always open to writers trying the “impossible”) but also through the lens of writer intent:

  • What is drawing you to this piece?
  • What do you want to say?
  • What is this about?
  • Where are the hot spots?
  • What are you trying to do?
  • How does this piece highlight your own writerly strengths?


Tentative agenda:

Day 1
Arrival and check in

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Introductions and Welcome, Kathi and Lindsey
General expectations and some inspiration to launch the days ahead

Day 2
Genres abound: What’s Out There for Kids and Teens, Kathi
The Short Story: An in-depth look at genre with Lindsey

Plotting Like a Screenplay: In-depth hands on session with Sona
One-to-one consultations with Lindsey or Kathi

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Fireside chat: Lindsey and Kathi share examples of a manuscript or idea that took on a new form

Day 3
Idea generation: Let’s Play with Lindsey
Writing Time/finish any one-to-ones

Poetry v. Prose: the debate! with Kathi
Skype Guest

Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Open Mic Readings

Day 4
In-depth genre study: Graphic Novels and more, Lindsey and Kathi
Q&A, goal setting, and final thoughts

Lunch and farewells


Kathi Appelt’s website
Lindsey Lane’s website
The Form of a Story: A Kind of “Cup” That Holds the Content
Kathi Appelt: The Form Holds the Story
Survivors: Kathi Appelt on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s-YA Author
Authors are Allies to Teachers & Librarians, a blog post by Lindsey Lane
Video Interview with Lindsey Lane.
Rejecting Rejection, by Lindsey Lane

“I do have a deep respect for my audience, and I trust that my readers are going to follow along with me as long as I keep it interesting. I try hard to keep the action moving forward and hope that they’re going to be curious enough to follow me. I think that’s one of the beauties of small scenes. I call them “SSSes” (that stands for “small significant scenes”). The little chapters. I try to keep the amount of transition down, moving from one place to another. I try to avoid too much telling.”–Kathy, from an interview with Roger Sutton of The Horn Book.
The Where of it All: Place and Story, blog post by Kathi Appelt


Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt’s books have won numerous national and state awards, including the Irma and Simon Black Award, Children’s Choice Award,…
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Lindsey Lane

Special Guest Lindsey Lane is an award-winning author, playwright and journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Evidence…
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Sona Charaipotra

The author of the YA doc dramedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra is not a doctor — much to…
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All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Begins with dinner on Thursday, October 24; ends on Sunday, October 27, with lunch.