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

Online | Novels
Relationships between characters (whether they're romantic, friendly, or familial) 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.

November 28 - December 19

Online

$599

Overview

A 4-Week Online Course

Relationships between characters (whether they’re romantic, friendly, or familial) 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 EST on Tuesdays (November 28, December 5, December 12, & December 19). If you cannot attend live, you will have access to recordings from each session within 24 hours.
  • Weekly writing exercises.
  • Recommended reading throughout the course.
  • Feedback from editor Kat Brzozowski on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel (includes written feedback, plus a 1:1 20-minute meeting to review the feedback after the final session).
  • 18 participants max

Why This Workshop?

The relationships between characters (whether romantic, friendly, or familial) are the backbone of every great contemporary MG and YA novel. They’re really the cornerstone of this genre.

But how do you establish and maintain those relationships over the course of the book?  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 over the course of a book.

In this course, 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 feedback from an editor on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.
  • Participate in a community forum to connect with peers (optional but encouraged)

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 January, 31, 2024.

Feedback Expected

  • Informal written feedback from faculty and peers in the virtual classroom.
  • 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. (Manuscript submissions due by December 30 for 1:1 consultations.)

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

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Pre-Workshop

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 1

Tuesday, November 28, 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

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Introductions
  • Discussion of writing exercises
Week 2

Tuesday, December 5, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Special guest interview
  • Discussion Two: Different Types of Relationships in MG & YA Novels
  • Overview of week two writing exercises

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Discussion of writing exercises
  • Sign-up for 1:1s with Kat Brzozowski
Week 3

Tuesday, December 12, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Special guest interview
  • Discussion Three: Show and Tell

In the Virtual Classroom:

  • Discussion of writing exercises
Week 4

Tuesday, December 19, 12pm – 2pm Eastern (Live Session Via Zoom)

  • Discussion Four: The Relationship Arc
  • Closing Q & A
  • How to sign up for 1:1 Consultation with Kat

 

Manuscript submissions due by December 30 for 1:1 consultations. Receive editor feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.

1:1 Meetings
  • Sessions to review submissions/feedback take place at mutually scheduled time within 4-6 weeks of the course closing to review feedback. 
  • Manuscript submissions due by December 30 for 1:1 consultations. Receive editor feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.
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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 January 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.

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 December 30 to allow faculty ample time to familiarize themselves with your work in advance of your meeting (4 – 6 weeks post course).  If this is an issue, please let us know.

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.

Testimonials 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.”

Meet the Faculty

Special Guests

DETAILS

November 28 - December 19

$599

Online

Access

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

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

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

Can't Attend Some Sessions Live?

That's generally okay!  We know that you are juggling other demands with your workshop.

Recordings are made available to all registrants for most live sessions, usually the day after the session.  Check your course description for specific details about session recordings, and when they are released.

We also try to suggest in the description how using the recordings may impact your experience if you can't attend live.  But ultimately, it's up to you!  Let us know if you need help.

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

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

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New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp

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