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Kids’ Book Revision Retreat and Critique Group Recharge 2012 | May 29 – June 3, 2012

Retreat Focus In this working retreat, Harold Underdown, longtime editor and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, and editor Eileen Robinson of f1rstpages.com and the recently launched Move Books, who jointly run kidsbookrevisions.com, will work with writers on their draft individually and in onsite critique groups, while also reviewing proven techniques for self-editing and revising. Mornings will be dedicated to revision techniques and afternoons to critique groups and actual revision work. Participants will

  • learn about reader response theory and how to use it to gain insights into a manuscript;
  • explore ways to gain objectivity and more focused responses to manuscripts;
  • try out a variety of techniques for self-editing, from big picture revision down to copy-editing;
  • work together in a model critique group, formed at the retreat or made up of members of an existing group, to critique one another’s manuscripts;
  • learn how to manage critique group dynamics to make them more productive;
  • discover creative techniques, such as improvising new scenes or episodes as part of the revision process;
  • take part in group discussions and share favorite techniques; and
  • meet with an editor for individual consultations.

The use of critique groups to aid in identifying manuscript problems will be a major component, but participants need not belong to a critique group to apply. Special guests: Cheryl Klein, Scholastic editor and author of Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, will visit to do a special presentation, as will Sandy Asher, children’s book author and editor of Writing It Right! How Successful Children’s Authors Revise and Sell Their Stories. Copies of both their books will be given to all retreat participants.
To all members of a critique group: Provided that they identify themselves as members of the group when they register and that at least four members of the group sign up for the retreat, Harold or Eileen will also provide a follow-up visit to the group. The group must meet within a reasonable distance of their New York (Harold) or New Haven (Eileen) homes, to be scheduled within one year of the retreat.
Application requirements: Writers with completed picture-book, nonfiction, or novel manuscripts may apply. Please send a sample of no more than 15 pages when you apply, accompanied by a synopsis for longer manuscripts. Six weeks before the retreat, writers will be asked to send up to 100 pages of their manuscript to enable Eileen and Harold to prepare their initial comments.

Faculty & Special Guests