Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel: An Online Course

Online | Novels, Graphic Novels, Novels in Verse, Business of Publishing
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 knowledge about line editing and other revision strategies to work on your project in real time.

September 17 - October 22




Multi-Week Online Course

Join novelist Jennifer Gennari for this six-week online course to build the skills needed to revise and enrich your novel. The course features live sessions with faculty, structured assignments, community interaction, goal-setting, and a special visit to discuss line editing in action.

  • Live Lectures (with closed captioning) Tuesdays at 7-8pm Eastern (September 17, 24; October 1, 8, 15, and 22)
  • Weekly Writing assignments (September 17 – October 15)
  • Connection with peers in the virtual classroom
  • A 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
  • You will have access to the materials (including recordings) for this program until November 30, 2024.

Why This Workshop?

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 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.
  • Enjoy a special guest visit.

Feedback Expected

  • 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)

It’s a Great Fit For…

  • 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.

Detailed Agenda

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


One week prior to your 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).

*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.

All recordings will be posted in the virtual classroom within 24 hours of the live class. You will have access to the recordings until November 30, 2024.

Week 1: Tuesday, September 17, 2024, 7-8pm 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
Week 2: Tuesday, September 24, 2024, 7-8pm Eastern
Finding the Balance Between Description & Action (Live Session)

  • Avoiding stage direction
  • Considering choreography
  • Examining exposition
  • Overview of second writing assignment


  • Character Experience
Week 3: Tuesday, October 1, 2024, 7-8pm 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
Week 4: Tuesday, October 8, 2024, 7-8pm Eastern
Driving Your Plot with Dialogue (Live Session)

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


  • Beats
Week 5: Tuesday, October 15, 2024, 7-8pm Eastern
Editing Tips with our Special Guest (Live Session)

  • Special Guest in-conversation with Jen
  • Open Q & A
  • Overview of fifth writing assignment (to prepare for final session)


  • Revise a Scene
Week 6: Tuesday, October 22, 2024, 7-8pm 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
  • 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. 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.)


Commitment Required for the Best Experience

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 November 30, 2024.)

How It Impacts Kids

Middle grade and young adult readers want to read novels with powerful plots and compelling characters. Learning to line edit your novel will help your story resonate and connect with young readers.

Testimonials from Our Community

“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.”

Meet the Faculty


September 17 - October 22




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
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.