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The Fundamentals of Writing Biography 2017 | October 19 – October 22, 2017

Please note: this workshop is full. Send us an email to join our waiting list!

Engage children in the lives of others through captivating events and compelling narrative threads.

Now is the time to capture stories that reflect the human experience. What better way to engage a reader than to show them real history shapers, makers, and changers in biographies?

Join Bethany Hegedus and Cynthia Levinson as they explore the fundamentals of writing biographies for children. A good biography fuels a story with research. It brings subjects to life through accuracy and authenticity. Bethany and Cynthia will cover ways to select biography topics, find narrative voice in biography, use the narrative thread to bring nonfiction to life, and incorporate the Hero’s Journey into biographical story structure. In addition you’ll hear from special guest editor Kandace Coston of Lee & Low Books and from guest author Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Attendees will submit a picture book biography, the first chapter of a longer biography (2,000 words max), or a book proposal. (Note: book proposals must include sample writing.) Space is limited to eight students.

Preliminary schedule:
Day 1
Afternoon
Optional tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press

Evening.
Appetizers & dinner
After dinner: Introductions and welcome, Bethany Hegedus and Cynthia Levinson.

Day 2
Morning
Breakfast.
Keynote: More than the Facts: How the Narrative Thread Brings Non-fiction to Life and How an Author Tackles All Those Choices. Bethany Hegedus will walk attendees through the many choices an author has when working on a picture book biography.

Writing exercise with Cynthia Levinson: Inside Out or Outside In? We’ll look at when the writer is an omniscient narrator and when the writer can be inside the main character’s head looking out.

Afternoon
Lunch.
One-to-one critique sessions and free writing time.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti presentation.

Evening
Appetizers & dinner.
After dinner: Writing Journey with Bethany.

Day 3
Morning
Breakfast.
Keynote: Applying Elements of Fiction to Nonfiction. The key elements of fictional stories focus on characterization, setting, narrative arc, point of view, and dialogue. Cynthia will discuss and demonstrate how these factors can help authors structure, analyze, and deepen nonfiction writing.

Writing Exercise with Bethany: Tapping into Your Vein of Gold: Letting Your Biography Subjects Choose You.

Afternoon
Lunch.
Q/A with editor Kandace Coston, Lee & Low Books.
Small group workshopping.

Evening
Appetizers & dinner.
After dinner: Writing Journey with Cynthia.

Day 4
Morning
Breakfast.
Small group workshopping.
Final Q/A, reflections, goal setting.

Afternoon
Lunch & farewells.

Faculty & Special Guests