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Morning Workshops 2024

The heart of Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is its morning workshops, where attendees have the opportunity to workshop their manuscripts with an industry professional. You will be in small groups of 20 or fewer students in each class during the morning portion of the conference.

Registering for one of the following workshops also includes: 

  • feedback from faculty on your manuscript

  • an agent/editor consultation on the first 750 words of your manuscript (not included in Claudia Mills' three-day class)

  • the Afternoon Sessions (plenaries, HOWs, & break-out sessions)

  • an in-class visit from an editor/agent

David Miles | Specialty Class: Acquired!

Early Bird: $725
After April 15: $775

 
Workshop Description

*Exciting news! As part of this course, David has guaranteed WIFYR that at least one lucky manuscript produced in his class—if not more—will be acquired by his own press, Bushel & Peck Books. Class is limited to 20 slots. Board book, picture book, nonfiction, and middle grade writers are welcome. Note: If you write middle grade, we won’t work on a full manuscript, but just a first chapter.*


“It's so hard to get published," writers say. Yes and no. Only a small percentage of books are acquired, but crafting a manuscript that publishers want isn’t as hard as it seems. Chances are, you’re simply missing the mark—and you might not even know why. This class sets out to change that and, most importantly, to give you your very best shot at being . . . acquired! During your week with David—co-founder of the award-winning press Bushel & Peck—you’ll work to create at least one manuscript that stands a real chance at getting . . . acquired! by a national publishing house. That’s the goal, and nothing less. 
No need to bring existing manuscripts. You’re going to blow up your entire process and start from scratch, working directly with David to come up with ideas that tick all the boxes for a hungry publisher. Once you have a real gem of a manuscript, David will close the week by providing an insider’s tips on crafting a pitch-perfect submission. 
With a little luck, an attractive manuscript, and a brilliant pitch, you’ll be writing us back one day to say, “Thanks to this class, my manuscript got . . . acquired!” 

NOTE: David will teach this class from California. He'll work with you for two hours each day and then give you assignments for the remaining two hours of the morning workshop. This will be directed by assistant Melanie Skelton on-site at the conference. David will be in person on Friday for five hours of class (instead of the usual four). 

This is not a virtual class.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • PB, Chapter/Intermediate, MG

  • Nonfiction & fiction

Bio

David Miles, along with his wife Stephanie, is the founder of Bushel & Peck, a children’s publisher based in California. In just a few years since launching its first titles, Bushel & Peck has become one of the fastest-growing independent publishers in America. Today, their authors now include some of the most recognizable names in the industry. In addition to their growing list of starred reviews and awards, Bushel & Peck is growing a social mission: for every book they sell, they pledge to donate one to kids in need, with that pledge now reaching over 300,000 books. David himself is the author or illustrator of dozens of children’s books that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies. He graduated from BYU in business and was named the general business
Outstanding Graduate of his class. Originally from Pennsylvania, he now lives in California with his wife, son, and too many beagles.

Specialty Class with David Miles

Acquired!

Starts Jun 10, 2024

$725

Fully booked

Heidi Taylor Gordon | Specialty Class: The Art of Writing Clean Fiction – and Why it Matters

Workshop Description

The fiction landscape is a cluttered one, regardless of the age or genre. But a trend has emerged, especially in YA, where more and more stories include adult content. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I love a good horror novel, but as the Publishing Director for Shadow Mountain, we look for talented storytellers who have the skills to create manuscripts that don’t include profanity, graphic violence, or sex, yet still create storylines that engage, uplift, and enrich. Readers are hungry for this kind of content.

 

 In this workshop, we’ll take your idea from a concept to a full-blown outline with the parameters of keeping that content clean for the audience you’re writing for.  We’ll be looking at creative ways to engage readers without the adult content and we’ll be talking about why that matters. Join me for a week of creative brainstorming and content creation.

Should we come prepared with ideas already? 

Yes, I would love for you to come with an idea you’d like to explore.

 

Should I have a first page done? Anything written at all? 

No! We’re going to start from scratch.

 

Will you do page critiques as the week goes on? 

Yes. You'll have an assignment each day that we’ll review first thing the next morning – nothing huge, just idea generators and creativity stimulators. But all the assignments will point back to the story you want to write.

 

Will there be a limit on how much I can create? 

I don’t want to put a limit on you. I’d like you to feel you can go with whatever creative flow hits you. I’ll try to accommodate it all.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • MG & YA fiction

  • All genres
     

Bio

Heidi Taylor Gordon has been with Shadow Mountain for the past fifteen years. She graduated from the University of Utah where she had the opportunity to study English and Creative Writing. Heidi works as a publishing manager for Shadow Mountain, and as a brand manager for the Proper Romance imprint – Shadow Mountain’s line of clean romances. Her job allows her to work one-on-one with authors to acquire and develop their manuscripts from conception to publication. She loves searching for diamonds in the slush pile!

Early Bird: $725
After April 15: $775

 
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Specialty Class with Heidi Taylor Gordon

The Art of Writing Clean Fiction – and Why it Matters

Starts Jun 10, 2024

$775

Available spots

Early Bird: $605
After April 15: $655

Kathryn Purdie | MG/YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi Novel Class

Workshop Description

In this class, I will help attendees deeply analyze and revise the first 5,000 words of their manuscripts, with a special focus on elements of writing great fantasy, including magic systems, world-building, and making fantasy personal. We will also pay attention to character development, strong plotting, prose, voice, and pacing. I work hard to foster a positive class environment, and in that vein, I encourage discussions that focus on what each writer is doing well, not only what he or she can do to improve. I’m confident our class will enjoy an exceptional week of learning together!

 

This class caps at 15 students.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • MG & YA fiction

  • All speculative fiction (fantasy, sci fi, dystopian, etc.)
     

Bio

Kathryn Purdie is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of the Burning Glass series, the Bone Crier's Moon duology, and The Forest Grimm. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write her first novel while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. In her spare time, she loves writing songs on her guitar for her characters, binge-watching TV, and baking sourdough bread.

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Carol Lynch Williams | From Prose to Verse: Making Every Word Count

Workshop Description

So we’re doing something different this year! And why not? It’s our 25th anniversary. :)

In this middle grade/young adult novel class, we’ll discuss verse novels and other novels that play with line in some way (epistolary works, etc.), as well as the typical prose novel. We’ll talk about structure, voice, moving your story forward, character development, and emotion. We’ll work on 4,000 words of your book, preparing your words in such a way that you generate interest in a compelling way. We’ll also look closely at line breaks (if you bring a novel in verse) and paragraph breaks (if you don't) to see if they’re doing their job, if language is working for you the way it should, and if the book is working as presented.


PLEASE NOTE: You DO NOT need to write a verse novel to take this class. All work is accepted.

Class caps at 15.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • MG & YA fiction

  • All genres, not required to be in verse

Bio

Carol Lynch Williams, who grew up in Florida and now lives in Utah, is an award-winning novelist with five daughters of her own. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. Her books have been featured on numerous lists of recommended YA fiction. Carol’s other novels include The Chosen One, Glimpse, Miles From Ordinary, Waiting,  and several other titles for young readers.

Early Bird: $605
After April 15: $655
Early Bird: $605
After April 15: $655

Shelly Brown & Chad Morris | Writing the Unputdownable Book: Structure That Works

Workshop Description

In this class we'll learn how to leave your readers breathless, and how to write a novel that changes readers forever.

We will learn how to:

  • Structure your plot to keep readers reading

  • Build an effective character arc so your readers experience the story through the character's eyes

  • Use world-building to enhance the reader's engagement with your world without bogging down the story

Wherever you are in your writing journey, this workshop will improve your stories and keep readers turning pages. If you've written a book already, we'll examine the skeleton to see what bones might be missing. If you're just starting out, we'll make sure you’re on the right path before you invest too much time in the prose. 

Whether you write contemporary or speculative fiction, this class will overflow with practical tips and tricks for the elements of story structure as you work on the first 4000 words of your novel with two novelists. We’ll go over how to make your beginning powerful, how to keep the middle of your characters' journeys from sagging, and what kind of punch readers like in endings. We’ll check out a few plotting structures to inspire you to find those spots where your story will shine even brighter. We’ll also dissect popular novels to discover how they tick, look at markets, and create pitches and synopses.

Class caps at 15.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • MG & YA fiction

  • All genres
     

Bio

Chad Morris and Shelly Brown are the husband/wife duo behind such middle grade bestsellers as Mustaches for Maddie and The Wild Journey of Juniper Berry. They have won awards across the country in states from Pennsylvania to Oregon. They have five children, four chickens, three jobs, two pseudonyms, and one another.

Early Bird: $605
After April 15: $655
Workshop Description

Writing a salable picture book manuscript requires an understanding of the way text works with illustration. It’s a partnership in storytelling, even before the pictures have been created. This is a brain teaser that took me many years to figure out.  I’ll give my students a thorough brain-rewiring that will change their understanding of picture books, improve the way they craft their manuscripts, and give them greater hope of publication. We’ll also talk about the market, finding an agent (or not), AI and the future of writing, and many other important aspects of this business. We’ll read picture books and analyze them, write stories, and give each other helpful feedback. But best of all, we’ll make friends, laugh, eat chips and salsa, dance the watusi, or whatever we feel like doing for fun. We guarantee that one PB manuscript will be reviewed, but bring two just in case there's time to look over both.

This Workshop is a Great Option for
  • Picture Books

  • Fiction & Nonfiction

Bio

Kristyn Crow is a children's picture book author with numerous titles including the Zombelina series (Bloomsbury), Skeleton Cat (Scholastic), and All Aboard the Moonlight Train (Doubleday). She has received starred reviews from School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and won a blue ribbon from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's books (BCCB). She was a Utah Book Award Nominee, and her book, Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker won the 2016 AML Picture Book Award. Her books Zombelina and Zombelina School Days were featured in the New York Times.
Kristyn has been a keynote speaker, instructor, faculty member, and repeat presenter for many events and organizations including the BYU Symposium on Books for Young Readers, Provo Library Family Literacy Symposium, the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop, Children’s Literature Association of Utah, FanX Comicon, Provo Children’s Book Festival, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, LDS Storymakers, and the Utah Humanities Council. She was the 2017 Recipient of The Women In the Arts Recognition Award presented by the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she gave the keynote address.
Kristyn is the screenwriter for The Accidental Astronauts, a Clark Planetarium dome theater movie that teaches children about the Earth, moon, and sun. The movie is playing at 21 planetariums internationally. She loves to visit schools around the country, putting on assemblies where children participate in a rhythm symphony with the refrain of her books. She also directs an after school program for at-risk children.

Kristyn Crow | Picture Book Class

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Interested in a full novel workshop?

If you are interested in a full novel class, please contact Carol Lynch Williams at carolloveswifyr@gmail.com.  

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