Nuts & Bolts of Science Writing 2019

About This Event


Energize readers through active fiction and nonfiction writing that shines the light on exciting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.

You love science and our world, and want to share your knowledge and passion with kids. How do you accomplish it? Learn the dynamics of engaging fiction and nonfiction science-based writing for children and teens, whether you’re published already or just beginning.

What You’ll Learn

Through presentations, hands-on workshops, one-on-one manuscript critiques, ample writing time, and sessions with acquiring editors, this workshop will give you the tools and insights you need to advance on your path to success.

Plenty of time for writing, revising and networking.

Ideas: How to generate, evaluate, and shape them to engage and attract agents and editors.

Hands-on: Creating proposals, researching content and photos/images, and the big picture on NGSS/Common Core.

Writing: Formats and genres, including science-inspired fiction, narrative nonfiction, expository nonfiction, concept books, poetry, and everything in between.

Craft: Work with experts to improve the accuracy and depth of your writing; draw on your research to write cohesive, energetic, nonfiction and fiction books, articles, or other science-based works for picture book, middle grade, or young adult age categories.

Attendees will be able to submit to all editors participating in the workshop.

Who Should Attend

This course is for beginning, intermediate or advanced authors or author/illustrators who:

Want to learn the dynamics of engaging fiction and nonfiction science-based writing for children and teens.

Would benefit from receiving multiple feedback perspectives from faculty.

Would like to meet with editors and have an opportunity to submit to them.

Want to find out about new markets for their writing or illustration.


Day 1


Arrival and check in


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

Faculty welcome and brief introduction of us, our backgrounds, books we’ve worked on, and how it all relates to science.

Group Chat: introductions. Go over the schedule for the conference.

Day 2



STEAMing into Fiction and Nonfiction, Jennifer

Use the STEAM acronym to show writers how to find engaging, intriguing STEM/STEAM ideas/topics, write them in active, exciting ways

Getting Creative–Poetry, Short Formats & Concept Picture Books, Miranda

Learn how to blend science topics into engaging, short formats through reading/performing examples and making up some of our own! Let’s have fun, be active, and think creatively. We will discover ways to balance the concepts, facts, and illustration to make content engaging and understandable to young readers in grades pre K-4. Bring your silly side!

Nature Walk: Notice the Science All Around You, Heather & Miranda



Talk with Editorial Director Carol Hinz

Free writing time

Educational vs. Trade Publishing Panel, Miranda, Jennifer, Heather, Carol, Baptiste, Higgins, and Beth

The difference between them, and making the jump from educational to trade.

Individual critiques with Jennifer and Miranda and Heather and editors

Writing time for those not in critique—rewrite for next group critique and other writing, if time allows.


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

Fireside discussion (S’mores Science), Miranda

Day 3



Life and Illustration, Higgins Bond

Book talk, Heather



Editor talk with Beth Terrill

Narrative Nonfiction & Fact-Inspired Fiction Picture Books, Miranda

Get a solid overview of how to craft a creative nonfiction picture book or an informational fiction picture books that follow traditional narrative structure and formatting.

Concept Picture Books, Miranda

Write engaging science books that aren’t necessarily “story” books with characters and elaborate plots.

Extra consultations with workshop leaders


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

Writing time/Small table discussions

Day 4



Life & Illustration, Baptiste Paul

Researching Your Nonfiction book, Jennifer

Where to look for topics, writing a proposal, photos, and speaking with experts.



Nuts and Bolts of Submitting, Heather

Polishing the dreaded cover letter, basics of preparing a work-for-hire package, and figuring out where to send your work.

Mini-Networking Groups: First pages, and more.

Individual critiques with everyone (Writing time for those not in critique)


Appetizers & Dinner

After dinner:

Open Mike

Day 5



Q&A Panel: Marketing, Networking, and Agents, Oh My!, all faculty

Two Editor Skype sessions:Andi Diehn and Samantha Gentry

Lunch & farewells


Jennifer Swanson: Setting a Scene with a STEM Book

Miranda Paul: Making Science Fun (or Funny)

Jennifer Swanson: Science Writing…It’s Not Just for Nonfiction

Miranda Paul: The Intersection of Science & Social Studies: Can Creative Combinations Enhance Your Writing?

Jennifer Swanson: STEAM-ing Into Nonfiction

Jennifer Swanson: 3 Myths About Why Writing Science Books for Kids is Hard

Carol Hinz: Elements of Excellent Science Books


“All the faculty, especially Miranda Paul and Jennifer Swanson, were fantastic! They were warm, fun, and knowledgeable. They all seemed to take a personal interest in helping us further our career and were always accessible.”

“It could not have been better, no way, no how. I was amazed and mesmerized and my brain almost exploded (in a good way)! Why did I wait so long? Glad I found out about these workshops!”

“Miranda Paul and Jennifer Swanson were thoroughly prepared, worked hard on their presentations, and were so nurturing of all the writers there. The whole workshop was very well thought-out. You could tell that the session leaders had spent a great deal of time preparing for the week.”

“I appreciated having two authors who do very different types of writing – as well as four editors (the Skype conferences, though short, were very good) and an agent.”

“Their willingness to critique participant manuscripts is invaluable. Miranda Paul was exceptional in her ability to not only point out flaws, but to help steer a writer toward re-envisioning a better product.”

“I had the pleasure of attending “The Nuts & Bolts of Science Writing” in the spring of 2017. I cannot express how much my participation influenced the way I think about writing about science. Jen Swanson and Miranda Paul modeled for us how to increase our chances of being published in the educational market –fiction and non-fiction, including poetry. There were also several editors with whom we Skyped and a few onsite to share secrets of the trade. The variety was amazing. Everyone one of them engaged us with strategies and activities that allowed us to hone our science-writing skills. During the four days, we met one-on-one with Jen and Miranda for personal critiques of our manuscripts. They also helped us to decide possible publishers for our edited pieces. If you have any doubt about whether you should be a part of “The Nuts & Bolts of Science Writing,” take the plunge. I promise that you won’t regret it.”

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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