Sample course outline from 2016

Outline for 2017 will be posted in the Spring

 

Monday

8:30am-8:45am Registration

8:45am-9:10am  Intro by Instructors

9:10am-9:35am Attendee Introductions: Class attendees introduce themselves.

9:35am-10:20am Lecture: Stephanie Shaw, Picture Book Writer.

Soup to Nuts, Serving Up a Tasty Picture Book!    

 

From conception to publication, a picture book is a pretty tall order. But, one way to approach it is not unlike planning a special dinner. In this workshop, we'll take a look at the appetizers — those great beginnings that make us wanting more. And, what about the main course? How do we prepare for our young reader's appetites and palates? We'll look at all the 'ingredients' that make for a satisfying read and a dessert — sweet finish.

10:20am-10:50am  First Page Critiques

10:50am-12:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

12:00pm-1:15pm  LUNCH

1:15pm-2:00pm  Lecture: Christine Fletcher, Author.

The Crucial First Page                                                                                

The first page of your novel must introduce your main character, kick off the action, set the scene, raise an intriguing story question (or two), and lay the groundwork for all that is to follow. That's no easy feat! In this workshop, we'll drill down on the many critical tasks facing those first 200 words... and how to write them in such a seamless and compelling way, the reader must turn the page to find out what happens next.

2:00pm-3:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

3:00pm-3:45pm  First Page Critiques

3:45pm-4:30pm  Lecture: Erica Finkel, Editor at Abrams Books.

Behind the Scenes: What Happens When Your Project is Out on Submission?                                   

Congratulations! Your manuscript is in the hands of an editor. But... now what? Between send-off and response, what's actually happening at the publishing house? This talk will walk you through all the steps of the acquisitions process, from submission to offer. We'll take a detailed look at the all-important Editorial Meeting and, using actual meeting minutes, parse out the many criteria that go into an editor's decision to publish or pass. Sure, good writing is important — but what other factors are involved? At the end of the session, we will hold our own editorial meeting and start seeing potential projects the way editors do.

6:30pm  Potluck Dinner in Classroom: Bring anything you like, food or drink, nibbly, main course, dessert. Friends and family very welcome.


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Tuesday

8:00am-9:00am  Informal Discussion: David Greenberg and other instructors available for informal discussion.

9:00am-9:45am  Lecture: Ruth Musgrave, Author.

How to Write Nonfiction                                            

Great nonfiction writing is more than just facts. Editors and readers expect authors to weave in important details without burying them in facts or frustrating them with inaccuracy. Find out how to research facts and blend them into your story. Nonfiction, like fiction, needs extraordinary first sentences and first paragraphs to draw the reader in. It also needs a voice and a story that keeps the reader reading to the end.

9:45am-10:15am  First Page Critiques

10:15am-12:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

1 2:00pm-1:15pm  LUNCH

1:15pm-2:00pm  Lecture: Kaylan Adair, Editor at Candlewick.

Writing from the Heart: A Look at the Middle-Grade Novel                                                                                    

 If there is one thing that most successful middle-grade novels have in common, its heart. What is it about books for this audience that makes for such heartfelt stories? And how can you be sure you're writing from the heart?

2:00pm-2:30pm  First Page Critiques

2:30pm-3:30pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

3:30pm-4:30pm  Lecture: Susan Hill Long*, Author.

The Benefit of the Doubt                                              

That nagging, unhelpful, shape-shifting anti-Muse: Doubt. It's the seldom-seen unicorn of a writer who doesn't suffer doubt's visits. For most of us writers, doubt is our constant companion. Can we use this potentially debilitating state as a stepping stone, and not a setback? Can we use doubt to our advantage? Susan Hill Long will share insights from her own writing journeys, talk about life on the editor's side of the desk, and invite the audience to look a little differently at doubt.

7:30pm-8:15pm  Lecture: David Greenberg, Author.                                                            The Story Behind His First Novel, A Tugging String (Dutton)                                                                                  

 This book describes the Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March of 1965 led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an event to which he is very personally connected. He describes the times, events, personalities, and the powerful connection that inspired him to write this book.


Wednesday

8:00am-9:00am  Informal Discussion: David Greenberg and other instructors available for informal discussion.

9:00am-9:45am  Lecture: Jenn Reese, Author.

Crafting Compelling Action                                          

Action can be as simple as a character spilling her coffee, as sweet as a first kiss, or as earth-shaking as two armies meeting in an epic battle of good versus evil. Most people associate action and action scenes with plot, but in this workshop we'll discuss action's true purpose: a pulse-pounding way to deepen and elucidate character. We'll cover voice, rhythm, and pace — including ways to manipulate time itself in order to tell more compelling stories.

9:45am-10:15am  First Page Critiques

10:15am-12:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

12:00pm-1:15pm  LUNCH

1:15pm-2:00pm  Lecture: Susan Cohen, Agent at Writers House.

Working with an Agent                                                                                                                                              

One of the age old questions for children's book authors and illustrators: Do you need an agent? If you think you do, how do you find one? Once you have one, know what they can and cannot do for you. From picking an agent to working effectively with one, I'll try to unravel the realities and mysteries of the relationship, all the way from offering a manuscript that needs work, through finding an editor and then how it works once you have one or more editors. I'll also touch on the secrets of a long-lasting agent / client relationship

2:00pm-2:30pm  First Page Critiques

2:30pm-3:30pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

3:30pm-4:30pm  Lecture: Christine Fletcher, Author.

Are You A Plotter? A Pantser? Or Something Even Better?                                                                                      

Should you outline your novel before starting to write? Or should you just dive in and write "by the seat of your pants"? We'll discuss the pros and cons of each approach and help you identify which one you're more naturally drawn to. Then we'll explore a third strategy: how to utilize both plotting and pantsing (while avoiding their pitfalls) to create an energized, efficient writing process tailored to your individual strengths as a writer.

7:30pm-8:15pm  Lecture: Stephanie Shaw, Author.

Writing for Kids' Magazines (Rocking the Pediatrician's Waiting Room)                                                                  

Ever hear of the children's book author Eileen Spinelli? Valeri Gorbachev? Joy Cowley? All successful picture book authors — and children's magazine writers! You are in great company when you are published in a children's magazine. Magazine submissions are tougher than they look. We'll examine various types of stories and articles children's magazine editors look for. These little gems are a challenge for even the most seasoned writer!


Thursday

8:00am-9:00am  Informal Discussion: David Greenberg and other instructors available for informal discussion.

9:00am-9:45am  Lecture: Kaylan Adair, Editor at Candlewick.                                                        

The Anatomy of a Picture Book: Defining, Dissecting, and Discussing Successful Picture Books                                            

What makes for a successful picture book? We'll discuss the defining characteristics of the medium and then look at some well-known examples in an attempt to pinpoint why these stories are so successful — and how you can apply these lessons to your own work.

9:45am-10:15am  First Page Critiques

10:15am-12:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

12:00pm-1:15pm  LUNCH

1:15pm-2:00pm  Lecture: Susan Cohen, Agent at Writers House.

Deals and Contracts 101                                                                                                                                            

This is a nuts and bolts look at the basics of publishing deals and contracts. What rights are you granting? How will you be paid? What does an advance against royalties mean? How does an author know "the going rates"? Who sells non-print subsidiary rights, like Audio, TV / Movie and Foreign language? When do publishing rights terminate? How are agents involved in creative collaborations? Can they get me work with packagers or ghost-writing gigs? Even if you have an agent, it's good to understand all this.

2:00pm-2:30pm  First Page Critiques

2:30pm-3:30pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

3:30pm-4:15pm  Lecture: Jenn Reese, Author.

Steeped in Character                                                  

Point of View isn't only what characters say and do, but how they see the world based on their past experience, their current situation, and their emotional state. We'll discuss ways to infuse even the quiet spaces of your manuscript with character using word choice, sentence structure, and rhythm. There will be a few short, fun exercises if we have time.

6:30pm  Dinner at David and Susan Greenberg's Home

Located at 5715 Norwester (a healthy walk from the classroom; I'll give directions), 503-842-1290. All food provided, friends and family very welcome (as much as we love them, no quadrupeds please). No objections will be made if you bring a beverage of any sort. David and Susan do not morally object to good beer or wine. If you drive up, it's vital that you not park in front of anyone else's house. Neighbors tetchy about this. There are a few vacant lots before and after our house.


Friday

8:00am-9:00am  Informal Discussion: David Greenberg and other instructors available for informal discussion.

9:00am-9:45am  Lecture: Erica Finkel, Editor at Abrams Books.

The Character Arc: The Hidden Ingredient of a Satisfying Story

We know all good stories have a conflict and a resolution. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But the best stories have more than just a gripping external plot, they also have a well crafted character arc. This talk delves below a story's external plot to explore the inner journeys of our favorite characters. We'll study examples from classic children's literature to see how protagonists change over the course of a story, and we'll also look at some common issues that come up with character arc during revisions. I'll share some recent projects I've edited and how we navigated the revision, and participants will come away with helpful tips.

9:45am-10:15am  First Page Critiques

10:15am-12:00pm  Writing Time and Individual Consults: Optional sharing with other students.

12:00pm-1:15pm  LUNCH

1:15pm-2:00pm  Lecture: Ruth Musgrave, Author.

Get out of Your Way and Write: The Art of Self-Editing                                                                                            

The real secret to publishing is writing. Sounds simple, yet everyday life, self-doubt, and getting in our own way create obstacles to finishing and submitting manuscripts. Find the balance between the creative freedom and being a tough sharp-eyed editor of your own work.

2:00pm-2:30pm  Q&A: All Instructors

Question-Answer Session with Instructors                                                                                                                  

This session will be with instructors about all aspects of course including marketing and technical details of manuscript submission.

2:30pm-End of Day  Final Discussion

 

2016 OCCBWW Instructors 

2016 OCCBWW Instructors 

 

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