Some of the most beloved novels of our lives are the ones we read as children. If you are drawn to writing the stories that will leave a similar lasting impact on young readers, this is the class for you! This six-week course will cover the fundamentals of character, plot, and conflict. We will also dig into the elements that take a novel into the unforgettable category, such as voice, dialogue, and theme. Attendees can launch a new book or come with an existing manuscript. All will learn techniques that will rocket your craft to the next level.
This course will have a workshop/critique component as well as weekly exercises to help build technique. We will also make time each week to discuss the books we’re reading and/or want to recommend to the class. By the end of this course you will have a better grasp of how to take an idea through the complete process of creating a fully-formed, three-dimensional manuscript.
Topics covered during the course:
- Voice, dialogue, and appropriate subject matter for the middle grade audience
- How to create compelling characters that intrigue and fascinate young readers.
- The relationship between character and conflict, and how this drives your story forward
- The fundamentals of plot structure
- Pacing: how to keep young readers engaged during that critical first chapter and beyond
- Theme and how to imbue your story with deeper meaning
- Christina will also make time to answer your burning questions about kidlit publishing: from querying, to submission, to book deal, and all the stuff in between!
Who Should Take This course:
- Anyone interested in writing novels for children and tweens (approx. ages 8-13)
- Writers of all genres (fantasy, historical, contemporary, magical realism, etc.)
- Published and non-published writers for other age groups (like picture book and YA) who are interested in expanding to middle grade
- Beginning writers who have started outlining, brainstorming, or drafting a novel
- Intermediate writers with a finished draft looking to deepen their craft
- Writers looking for craft and camaraderie on their writing/publishing journey
Dates/time: April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, May 8 6:30 pm to 9pm
Attendees will be required to submit ten double-spaced pages of a work-in-progress for in-class group critique. All students will receive the manuscripts in advance and should commit to reading and critiquing about 20-40 pages per week, depending on class size. Christina will thoroughly read and critique all student work.
Christina Soontornvat is the author of the middle grade fantasy novel, THE CHANGELINGS (Sourcebooks), which was named an ABC Best Book for Young Readers by the American Booksellers Association. School Library Journal called the sequel, IN A DARK LAND, “A great choice for fantasy-loving tweens or anyone looking for an exciting story full of heart.” Her middle grade writing has been awarded the Hunger Mountain literary journal’s Katherine Paterson prize by Newbery award-winning judge Rebecca Stead. Christina’s upcoming picture books will be published with Nancy Paulsen Books and Candlewick Press. She is an active member of SCBWI and lives with her family in Austin, Texas.
**Terms and conditions: Please note that all Writing Barn classes and events are nonrefundable and nontransferable to another class. You may transfer your attendance to another writer.**