Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
Find us on Facebook
  • “An innovative, engaging format, and a lively, dedicated group of writers make this workshop memorable. Stimulating on many levels. I enjoyed every action-packed minute.”
    — Deborah Noyes Wayshak, novelist; executive editor, Candlewick Press
  • “PCCWW has helped me hone my craft and make contact with esteemed editors and agents. Constructive, inspiring. This workshop is a definite 10.” — Annemarie O’Brien; debut author
    of Lara’s Gift (Knopf) (Annemarie landed her contract with our workshop editor.)
  • “I’m impressed by how in-depth the masterclass critiques were. I was totally revved up by
    the end of the workshop!” — Heather Tomlinson, author of The Swan Maiden
    (Henry Holt) (Heather landed this debut contract at our workshop.)
  • “PCCWW combines the support and camaraderie of an educated, informed critique group
    with a rare opportunity to connect with editors and agents in an intimate setting.”
    — Joni Sensel, author of four youth novels (Holt; Bloomsbury)
  • “The most valuable writing event I’ve ever attended. Presenters were generous and
    genuine. The insights I received from each one on my manuscript was invaluable.”
    — Mary Cronk Farrell; author of the award-winning Clarion novel, Fire in the Hole!
  • “Well-organized, interactive, informative, congenial. The Pacific Coast Children’s Writers
    Workshop is one of the best I’ve attended.” — Cece Meng, former winner
    of the Writer’s Digest contest (Children’s Fiction category)

WRITERS: In-depth, editor or agent critique on your whole novel—or editor and agent critiques on your partial.  Concurrent teen workshop benefits youth and adults. Full house in 2017! Contact us anytime for 2018.


Envision and Edit Your Story with the Pros

Are you a skilled writer, published or aspiring, looking for something “different” in a fiction workshop? Our intensive seminar offers editor or agent feedback on selected whole-novel manuscripts, including two in-person consults with your mentor. Or maybe you’re ready for editor and agent critiques on your polished, opening chapters. Whichever stage you’re at, here’s how we assist goal-oriented writers like you:


    Annemarie O’Brien relishes faculty tips
    before signing with our next year’s editor.
    Photo: Marsha Diane Arnold
  • At our intimate event, you’ll have continuous close contact with a supportive, top-notch editor and/or agent. Our open clinics, aka master classes, will allow you to learn from advanced colleagues, as well as from faculty.
  • To maximize your benefits, you may critique peer manuscripts before the seminar—then, at our event, compare your assessments with those of the pros. Our collegial format provides behind-the-scenes glimpses that reveal, in depth, what agents and editors really want.
  • Top-notch faculty will guide you on your path to publication.
    Below: Our 2017 faculty; 2018 faculty to be announced by January 2018.

Katherine Harrison, Editor at Knopf Books for Young ReadersKatherine Harrison, Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers for nearly 10 years, acquires mainly character-driven middle-grade and YA, including graphic novels. Previously, she has worked on books by R.J. Palacio and Markus Zusak. Katherine’s own acquisitions include bestselling middle-grade novels, such as Liesl Shurtliff’s Rump (a fractured fairytale, it’s a new take on Rumplestiltskin in which 12-year-old Rump can weave straw into gold but finds it’s a curse)and critically-acclaimed YA novels, such as Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (a funny, heartbreaking romance that begins in a supermarket when a 15-year-old develops a crush on a 21-year-old college student), The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson (15-year-old Laila is exiled from an unnamed Middle Eastern country to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. when her father, the king, is killed in a coup), and Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan (a teen misfit seeks to stop the wild parties next door that are disturbing his Iraq vet father who had PTSD, but he ends up falling for his enemy’s sister).

Katherine’s published and forthcoming novels also include A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig, Neptune and A Bandit’s Tale by Deborah Hopkinson, Two Girls Called Alice by Andrew S. Chilton, This Is the Part Where You Laugh by Peter Brown Hoffmeister, A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff, Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols, Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson, Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister, and We Regret to Inform You by A.E. Kaplan. Enticing!

Editor wish list: In the middle-grade category, Katherine looks for humor (think Sachar or Dahl), but she’s also a sucker for a good tearjerker—provided there are moments of levity to balance out the sad bits. In YA novels, she is seeking smart, heartfelt contemporary tales, richly developed fantasy, and novels that grapple with feminist themes or characters learning to be their authentic selves.

Across the genres, Katherine is always delighted to see diverse voices, well-researched historical fiction, and nerdy characters obsessed with science, nature, politics, or the arts. She also likes to be taken by surprise, noting that sometimes it’s the books which don’t fit neatly into any of these categories that speak to her the loudest—“‘narrative voice’ pun intended.” Welcome, Katherine!

Brianne Johnson, Senior Agent at Writers HouseBrianne Johnson, Senior Agent at the prestigious Writers House since her internship in 2007, was recently chosen as a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree. She’s cultivating a largely omnivorous list in young readers’ books—everything from historical fiction to magical realism, and “fresh, beautiful, fun, thoughtful stories that make that first real step into adulthood seem brand-new, all over again.”

In older readers’ books, she’s seeking “exciting, high-concept, gobble-down-in-one-sitting  novels that keep me up way past my bedtime (I love creepy/horror/suspense… and creative fantasy in general), as well as beautiful, literary works that explore the coming-of-age theme from a truly original angle and beg for multiple re-readings.”

Brianne has also sold Cheryl Klein’s The Magic Words, an outstanding guide to writing for children and teens.

We’re delighted to welcome Brianne Johnson to our 15th annual event; she, in turn is eager to connect with potential new clients. One of her memorable quotes for writers: “I want unforgettable characters that I’d follow anywhere, who burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” — Jack Kerouac

Sarah Landis, Agent at Sterling Lord LiteristicSarah Landis, Agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, represents middle-grade and YA authors. For the past 15 years she has worked as an editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Hyperion Books, HarperCollins Children’s, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books For Young Readers. She has edited many award-winning authors and titles, such as Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You, and Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies.

In middle-grade novels, Sarah is seeking fantasy and contemporary with heart, humor, and magic. In the young adult space, she has an affinity for Southern voices, high-concept and speculative plots, sci-fi/fantasy, historical, mystery and thrillers, and contemporary stories set overseas. Sarah will be offsite faculty this year, offering additional opportunities for our enrollees!

bullet  Read more about Brianne Johnson, as well as our previous esteemed presenters, in our faculty interviews.

  • Savvy teen enrollees give adults target-reader feedback within their own, concurrent workshop. The intergenerational exchanges prove mutually stimulating—and fun. Our teens edit adults’ novels for editor-agent submissions; some manuscripts have resulted in published books. Come see what an objective young reader will say about your story!
    Teen enrollment is partly funded by our TeenSpeak Scholarship Fund. To support
    teens passionate about writing, contact us
    year-round. Indicate an author or individual
    you wish to pay tribute to; we'll add the name
    (plus web link) to our “Treasured Authors and
    Friends” page.
    “I'm thankful that I have been able to talk to thousands of [young] students about my love of writing—and I'm thankful for being able to believe that I may have inspired some of them to follow their dreams, and perhaps even become fellow writers.” — Elaine Marie Alphin, blog: "Thoughts on the Writing and Reading Life"
  • Our Novel Writer’s Personal Retreat offers solitude in a serene coastal setting. Immerse yourself for up to four days: hone your craft, intermingle with advanced/published peers.

Creating a marketable novel is a multi-layered challenge. Join us for a working retreat or seminar—learn fiction-crafting with the masters. Pinpoint the tools you need to propel your novel from page-turner to published success!

For a compact view of the workshop, see our flyer.

Opportunity    Camaraderie    Craft

“This workshop played a huge role in my success. My novel improved largely due to
faculty and peer critiques, which led to my first sale. Outstanding seminar.”
— Tracy Holczer, The Secret Hum of a Daisy (G.P. Putnam)
bullet  INQUIRE EARLY for maximum critique options and lowest fees on full novels or partials. See schedule, interviews, masterclass critiques. Integrated teen event. Enroll now or CONTACT us.
© 2003 - by Nancy R. Sondel. All rights reserved.