As middle grade writers, it’s often difficult to get substantial feedback from industry professionals on our work. Here are five opportunities that give you more feedback than the average conference critique:
Rutgers One-on-One Plus
Date: October 21, 2017
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Application Deadline: June 27, 2017
The One-on-One Plus pairs each writer in attendance with a mentor. In a morning session, you meet five-on-five (five mentors, five writers) for a roundtable discussion on topics relating to writing and publishing. Your afternoon one-on-one with your mentor lasts a full 45 minutes. Interspersed are speakers and panel discussions as well as a meal.
Big Benefit: a substantial amount of time to discuss your work one-on-one with an industry professional.
SCBWI Nevada Mentorship
Dates: January 26-28, 2018, and the following 6 months for revision (remote); possible and optional writer’s retreat in May 2018 for mentees
Location: Las Vegas
Application Deadline: June 15, 2017
The Nevada Mentorship is open to all SCBWI members. The mentorship kicks off with a three-day conference where you meet with your mentor and attend workshops. Each mentor works with 2 or 3 writers, and the six months after the conference allow for extended work on revisions with your mentor.
Big Benefit: working with the same mentor for critique and revisions.
Better Books Marin
Better Books is a small workshop for MG and YA novelists (25 maximum). Faculty this year: Stephen Fraser, Emma Dryden, Harold Underdown, Tiffany Liao. On the first day, all participants receive 45 min. small group critiques of their 25 pages, let by a faculty member.
Big Benefits: Extended critiques, six to one ratio of participants to faculty, and extended time on your own built into each day.
Big Sur Writing Workshop
Dates: December 1-3, 2017
Location: Big Sur, California
Registration: not yet open.
(Big Sur at Cape Cod is September 22-24, 2017; registration is open.)
The Big Sur Workshop is put on by the Henry Miller Library and Andrea Brown Agency. All the faculty are industry professionals, and you work with three different faculty members during the weekend. Workshops are designed for writers with completed or partially completed manuscripts.
Big Benefits: working with a number of industry professionals in an intimate setting; meeting other writers with comparable experience.
Story Genius/Author Accelerator
Dates: 10 weeks starting June 7, 2017 (standard workshop); 10 weeks starting September 26, 2017 (premium workshop)
Applications: May 21, 2017 (standard workshop); application not available yet (standard workshop)
The Story Genius Workshop follows the strategies and exercises in the book Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Each week, you turn in assignments and get individual comments from a book coach. For the premium session, you’ll receive a personal written assessment from author Jennie Nash at the start of the course, a 30-minute phone call with Lisa Cron at the end of the course, and a live Q&A with Jennie and Lisa.
Big Benefits: structured assignments and deadlines; weekly feedback.
What recommendations do you have? We’ll add them to the post!
Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop
The Pacific Coast Children Writers Workshop, near Santa Cruz, offers full novel critiques on MG and YA manuscripts with an agent or editor (45-min plus 30-minute face-to-face consults), or critiques on fifteen pages by both agent and editor. Enrollees get to watch the other critiques after reading the submissions, which is really helpful. As a bonus, your manuscript may be read by teen writers attending the concurrent TeenSpeak writing conference.
Date: September 22-24, 2017
Location: Coastal Santa Cruz area
Application Deadline: June 4, 2017 for fulls; June 20 for partials, or until full.
Small and collegial with only 16 writers.
Anne-Marie Strohman (co-editor) writes picture books, middle grade novels, and young adult short stories and novels. She is trained as a teacher, an editor, and a scholar, specializing in Renaissance Literature. She is an active member of SCBWI and will graduate in July 2020 with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find her at amstrohman.com and on Twitter @amstrwriter.