Getting Your Middle Grade and Young Adult Novel Unstuck 2018

About This Event

An intimate workshop for middle grade and young adult authors looking to explore or revise and polish a work in progress.

Whether you’ve jotted down ideas for a novel but can’t get your story off the ground, you’re stuck in the middle of a draft with no idea of where to go next, or you’ve written most of the book but can’t figure out the ending, this workshop is designed to help! Two award-winning, New York Times best-selling authors and their guest, author Hannah Barnaby, will share their writers’ toolbox for getting unstuck, with a focus on character development, plotting and outlining, revision, journaling, and improvisation/play.

Before the workshop, participants will be asked to submit 10-12 pages from a work in progress and a brief synopsis or story description for critique. Participants will receive an initial one-on-one critique as well as individual “ask the editor” meetings with our guest editor, Kate Prosswimmer of Sourcebooks, with time for revision and additional writing in between.

Faculty blog posts:

Chris Tebbetts: Visual Outlining

Chris Tebbetts: As Simple As Possible: Three Ways To Tighten Your Prose

Preliminary schedule:

Day 1


Optional tour of Highlights for Children and Boyds Mills Press.

Arrival and check in.


Appetizers & Dinner

After Dinner:

Welcome, Intros, and Group Discussion: Where are you stuck? What stage of the process is most often sticky?

Journaling: Active introspection as a tool for getting unstuck: a discussion with Julie

Day 2



Romeo at the Balcony: Persistence and Optimism in Pursuit of the Ideal: A lecture by Chris

Character Development: Discussion and workshop with Julie


Lunch. Possible discussion: craft book recommendations

Play and Improv: A workshop with Chris

Free Writing Time

Also: 20-minute Individual Manuscript Critiques with Julie and Chris


Appetizers & Dinner

After Dinner: Writing and Publishing: Self-moderated panel discussion and Q&A with Julie, Hannah, Chris

Day 3



Plot and Outlines: A workshop with Chris

Chapters and Scenes that Propel the Reader: A workshop with Julie


Lunch. Possible discussion: fiction book recommendations

The Writer’s Toolbox, Strategies for Getting Unstuck, Part I: A workshop and discussion with Chris and Julie

Free writing time.


Appetizers & Dinner

After Dinner: Movie Night: Bird by Bird with Annie followed by a group discussion

Day 4



Revision: A panel with Hannah, Chris, and Julie

The Writer’s Toolbox, Strategies for Getting Unstuck, Part II: A workshop and discussion with Chris and Julie



Plot Meets Character: finding the intersection between plot structure and character development to optimize your story: a lecture with Guest Editor Kate Prosswimmer from Sourcebooks

Free writing time

Also: scheduled one-on-one “Ask the Editor” consults


Appetizers & Dinner

After Dinner: Student Readings: optional but strongly encouraged! Participants may read aloud up to 750 words from their work in progress.

Day 5



Q & A with Kate Prosswimmer from Sourcebooks

Writing Prompts

Also: remaining one-on-one “Ask the Editor” consults

Goal-setting: Group discussion


Lunch and goodbyes.

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
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