Writing for teens is less complex and easier than writing for adults. Right? Wrong. As adults, we can’t fully know what it’s like to be a teen right now. So we have the extra job of trying to bridge that gap.

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Time: eight Mondays, 18:00 to 20:00

Duration: 4 March - 22 April, 2019

Location: QWF Office—1200 Atwater Avenue, Room 3, Westmount, QC View map

Description

This eight-week workshop is open to beginners and experienced writers both—anyone who has started work on a YA novel.

Writing for teens is less complex and easier than writing for adults. Right? Wrong. As adults, we can’t fully know what it’s like to be a teen right now. So we have the extra job of trying to bridge that gap. 

In the first hour of class, we’ll workshop excerpts from participants’ novels-in-progress. We’ll look at YA-specific issues (e.g., teen dialogue) and also at general craft issues such as characterization, setting and use of flashbacks. 

In the second hour, we’ll discuss the following topics and more: 

Week One: YA novels we have known and loved. Please bring a favourite and describe it to the group. This week only, we’ll do in-class exercises instead of workshopping; we’ll take passages from adult novels and “YA them.” 

Week Two: Which famous Canadian work of adult fiction was submitted to its publisher as YA? What are the differences, really? Could your book go either way? 

Week Three: “YA novels must have happy endings, or at least hopeful ones”—true or false? We’ll look at examples including Lauren Oliver’s popular Before I Fall.

Week Four: World building in YA novels. We’ll look at successes such as Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Week Five: “YA can’t be too violent or sexually explicit”—true or false? For examples, we’ll talk about Raziel Reid’s controversial Everything Feels Like the Movies and Elise Moser’s Lily and Taylor.

Week Six: Discussion and in-class exercises in dialogue. We’ll revise some successful dialogue from adult novels to make it more teen friendly.> 

Week Seven: How not to sound dated when working with music, technology, and slang. Which big-selling author put a “vintage” form of technology in his book, as a way to get around this? 

Week Eight: We’ll close things off by looking at elements of a great YA love scene. I’ll bring examples including one from Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks. 

Workshop leader

Sue Macleod headshot
Credit: Photo credit: John Oughton

Sue MacLeod has recently completed her second YA manuscript, “Slow Dancing at the Revolution.” Her first YA novel, Namesake, was described by Kirkus Reviews as “suspenseful, emotional and powerful,” and earned a starred review in Quill & Quire. It was a 2013 Best Books for Kids & Teens selection (Canadian Children’s Book Centre); a Canadian Family Magazine Best Summer Read; and a finalist for the IODE’s national book award. Sue has also published three books of poetry and is a freelance editor.

Register

Registration for this workshop is now closed.

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