Becoming a Nonfiction Writer: History, Biography, STEAM, and Much More!

Online | Nonfiction, Business of Publishing
You are ready to begin your work in writing nonfiction for children and teens. But where should you start? Join celebrated authors Jennifer Swanson and Teresa Robeson as they guide you through a wide range of aspects of writing nonfiction for children to create a strong foundation for your work.

September 9 - September 23

Online

$499

Overview

An Online Course with Live Presentations, Pre-recorded Lectures, Writing Exercises, and Q&A

You are ready to begin your work in writing nonfiction for children and teens. But where should you start?

Join celebrated authors Jennifer Swanson and Teresa Robeson as they guide you through a wide range of aspects of writing nonfiction for children to create a strong foundation for your work.  You will also engage in Q & A with an editor about today’s nonfiction market, and take time to build a network of fellow writers who share an interest in nonfiction.

  • Live sessions via Zoom take place on Mondays and Thursdays (September 9, 12, 16, 19, 23) from 7:00pm – 8:30pm Eastern
  • Writing exercises will be posted in the virtual classroom each week
  • A 1:1 Consultation with Jennifer Swanson will take place between September 17 – 23 (Scheduled at a mutually convenient time)
  • You will have access to the materials (including recordings) until October 31, 2024
  • 24 participants max

Why This Workshop?

You are ready to begin your work in writing nonfiction for children and teens. But where should you start?

With a great idea, of course.

But what about…

  • The submission process for nonfiction?
  • Digging deeper into curiosity and reader engagement?
  • Developing the tools of narrative structure and word choice?

These are the foundations of writing nonfiction for kids and teens.  You’ll explore them and more in this online workshop with celebrated authors Jennifer Swanson and Teresa Robeson.

A highlight of the course includes a 20-minute consultation with Jennifer Swanson, and Q & A with an editor about today’s nonfiction market

Feedback Expected

  • Informal feedback will be available in the virtual classroom where you are encouraged to post and discuss weekly writing exercises.
  • A 20-minute private consultation with Jennifer Swanson is included to discuss ideas, goals, project related research, and craft questions. (No manuscript submissions are associated with this consultation.)

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are working on a biography, history, nature, or STEAM/STEM-themed book for kids or teens. Let our faculty help you craft an engaging, nonfiction book for kids.
  • You love nonfiction and are eager to write TRUE stories. This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of nonfiction children’s books.
  • You have an in-progress or finished manuscript and aren’t sure how or where to submit your work. Pitches, proposals, and publishing opportunities will all be explored during this workshop.
  • You enjoy online learning. This course relies on LIVE Zoom interaction and contributions in the virtual classroom.

Do I need to have a book in progress to take this course? Not at all! If you are in the planning/idea stages, you will still gain valuable insight from this course. Use your 1:1 consultation time with Jennifer to discuss your ideas.

Tentative Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.  Click on the headings below to explore the agenda in more detail.

Pre-Workshop

  • On September 3, you will be invited to join the virtual classroom where you will find the Highlights Foundation Community Standards, your course syllabus, and resources associated with this course.
  • We’ll ask you to sign up for your 1:1 consultation by September 12th (scheduled at a mutually convenient time between September 17 – 23).
  • Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, 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 October 31, 2024.
Week 1

Monday, September 9, 2024 at 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Welcome
  • Opening Session: STEAMing Into Nonfiction with Jennifer Swanson, followed by Q & A
  • Small group introductions (come prepared to talk about ideas and interests in nonfiction)

Thursday, September 12, 2024 at 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Picture Book Biographies & Graphic Novel Biographies: An Overview with Teresa Robeson, followed by Q & A
  • Short Break!
  • Hooking Readers with Your Nonfiction with Teresa Robeson and Jennifer Swanson

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Introduction Thread
  • Week One Writing Exercises & Resources
  • Sign up for your 1:1 consultation with Jennifer Swanson
  • Preview Highlights Foundation Community Standards
  • Familiarize yourself with the discussion board
Week 2

Monday, September 16, 2024 at 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Researching A Nonfiction Book with Jennifer Swanson, followed by Q & A
  • Short Break!
  • Nonfiction Revision Tips with Jennifer Swanson

Thursday, September 19, 2024 at 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Submission Basics—The Nonfiction Proposal with Jennifer Swanson
  • Small Group Touch Base (You’ll have a chance to share your progress with your peers!)

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • What to bring to your 1:1 Consultation
  • Week Two Writing Exercises & Resources
  • Optional thread for peer-to-peer interest in meeting outside the course
Week 3

Monday, September 23, 2024 at 7:00 – 8:30pm Eastern: LIVE session via Zoom

  • Building Your Career with Jennifer Swanson, followed by Q & A
  • Short Break!
  • Q & A with Visiting Editor
  • Followed by: Closing comments and questions

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Week Three Writing Exercises & Resources
  • Discussion thread: Questions for the editor
1:1 Consultations
Tuesday, September 17 – Tuesday, September 23, 2024: 1:1 Consultations (via Zoom)

  • 20-minute consultation with Jennifer Swanson. (Schedule is made when the virtual classroom opens, at a mutually convenient time).
  • Jennifer will not review manuscripts, but will answer project related questions, discuss ideas, and clarify concepts from the program.
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

This course is best if you engage in all the sessions (by attending live or watching each recording). To get the most from this experience, please sign up for your 1:1 consultation with faculty.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend live sessions, 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 October 31, 2024.

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.

How It Impacts Kids

Children both love and learn from nonfiction. This course will give you the foundation to create the very best nonfiction for kids!

Testimonials from Our Community

“I absolutely loved the energy and enthusiasm of Ms. Swanson and Ms. Robeson. They were able to impart their knowledge and share their insight in an easy-to-understand fashion.”

“Both instructors were extremely well prepared for the course and developed lectures based on feedback from the class participants. They gave plenty of opportunities to ask questions and provided helpful feedback.”

“Even though we were on Zoom, I could sense a community of writers being established throughout the workshop.”

DETAILS

September 9 - September 23

$499

Online

Access

When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two nights only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the evening of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Scholarships
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.