Sunday, June 2, 2013

WIFYR workshops

The Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers Conference is happening this month. Some of the classes are full, but there’s still time to sign up for the morning sessions. The workshops are a great way to grow your craft. Below are descriptions of the classes. Registration information is at

AE Cannon - Novel Class
The idea of writing a novel--even if you're one of those people who has "a book in you"--can be daunting.  Ann Cannon's class is designed to help you break the process down into manageable steps.  In addition to giving pointers about the elements of fiction--character, setting, plot and theme--Ann will provide information in a workshop setting about getting started, dealing with "the messy middle, creating believable dialogue, pacing, striking the right balance between "showing" and "telling," and wrapping the whole thing up. Class members will have the opportunity to learn by reading one another's manuscripts, as well as novels by published authors.  Expect to work hard and to have a lot of fun in the process!

Kris Chandler - Novel Class
Everyone should bring roughly twenty pages of a work in progress. We’ll critique ten or so pages at a time and try to get everyone twice. You can opt to have the same ten pages done twice. We’ll have an instruction period each day where we cover critical elements of story like plot, character, dialogue, voice, research, etc. We’ll look at examples of authors who have done these things successfully and talk about market place strategies.  Everyone will contribute written comments on the manuscripts we are critiquing, including me. You will also be required to laugh at least one of my jokes and have your hair in artistic disarray by the end of the week.

Cheri Pray Earl - Introduction to Writing for Children Class
From Scraps to (manu)Scripts: Conquering the Murky Middles: Rescue those stalled-out novel manuscripts from your computer boneyard and bring them to this new, innovative, paddling-through-the-murky-middles workshop. This is a workshop for our faithful writers who have polished two or three beginning chapters in a WIFYR workshop in the past, or who have made those first few chapters top notch at other conferences (or on their own), but who need help getting the rest of their novel on paper and submission-worthy.
Workshop Goal:  “Finish, Polish, and Submit” is the mantra of this workshop. For five days, you will work harder than you have ever worked before (and so will Cheri), you will work smarter than you have ever worked before, and you will experience writing success like you have never experienced before.
Preparing for the Murky Middles Workshop: Prior to the conference, students will submit a murky-middles portion of their work (two to three of their murkiest chapters), a brief description of the problems of those two-to-three middle chapters, and a chapter-by-chapter synopsis (two sentences per chapter) of the entire novel, from the first chapter to the last. This is the material you will work with for the five days of WIFYR, so choose wisely.
Workshop Content: Each day, Cheri will share a different solution to novel-writing problems including Plot, Conflict, and Pacing; Character Development and Voice; Setting and Description; Scene, Summary, and Dialog; Developing Themes and Introducing Backstory.
Daily Assignments: Participants will write and workshop specific scenes that emphasize plot, pacing, character development, moral conflicts, and so forth, in addition to revising their middle chapters and, in some cases, writing new ones.
Final Project: Participants will present two to three completely revised and murk-free middle chapters on the last day of the workshop, a revised and annotated plot outline, a plan for finishing their novel, and . . . they will confess their love for writing, each other, and above all, their workshop teacher.

Sharlee Glenn - Picture Book Class
In this class we will focus on mastering one of the most difficult forms of writing known to humankind--the picture book.  We will begin by examining such fundamental questions as:  What is a picture book?  How is it different from, say, a magazine story?  What makes a good picture book?  During our time together, we will discuss both the craft of writing (focusing on such things as the writing process, rhythm, meter, cadence, rhyme, repetition, sensory language, figurative language, and imagery) and the business of writing (the submission process, publication, marketing, etc.).  Since this is an intensive, hands-on workshop, participants are asked to bring at least one polished picture book manuscript with them to be shared, critiqued, and revised.  They will also be expected to produce from 2-5 new manuscripts throughout the course of the week.

Mette Ivie Harrison - Full Novel Class
As a class, we will be reading complete YA/MG manuscripts from all the participants. Manuscripts need to be sent electronically by May 15 and must be under 80,000 words. Please make sure your manuscripts are as perfect as you can possibly make them on your own. Ideally, you will already have had feedback on part or all of the manuscript from workshops or writing groups. 

This is a workshop for people who are serious about publication. Please be ready to work hard and revise during the week we’re together, so that you can make sure that you have fully understood the critique comments and are able to begin to integrate them.

Matt Kirby - Advanced Class
My Advanced Novel class will explore the deeper aspects of narrative structure and voice. Students can expect an in-depth critique and discussion on their work from me and from their workshop peers.

Martine Leavitt - Specialty Novel Class
Bring ten pages of a novel in progress, whether new or in revisions. Critiques will be handled at an advanced level. Feedback will be constructive but tough, aimed only to work out any flaws and improve your story. The remainder of the workshop will be devoted to helping you generate or improve your novel. We’ll discover more about your characters, unearth and firm up plot, play with setting, and write parts in the beginning, middle and end of your story. By the conclusion of the workshop you will have gained a stronger sense of your story and the tools to help you go home and write your best novel yet.

Jake Parker - Illustrator Class
(No description of the class, but Jake’s bio information.) Jake Parker is a freelance illustrator, designer, and comic artist.  He is the creator of the Missile Mouse graphic novel series published by Scholastic and "The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man" published by Harper Collins. For the last several years he worked for Blue Sky Studios creating sets and environments for feature films like Horton hears a Who, Rio, and Epic.  Now he lives in Utah with his wife and children working on picturebooks, comics, and other freelance projects. His latest picture book is "Apples A to Z" published by Scholastic and illustrated "The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair" published by Random House coming out this Fall. You can find out more about Jake at  

J. Scott Savage - Middle Grade Novel Class
(Could not pull up his class information)

Carol Lynch Williams - Writer's Boot Camp
For writers who want a bit more private instruction on their writing (10 attendees). It includes:
    Smaller class size (10 attendees)
    55 pages of your novel discussed OR three picture books
    Synopses and/or cover letters discussed
    More individualized attention
    Special guest visits
    Marketing instruction
    10-minute pitch session with an editor or agent

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