Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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“Fabulous event. The kicker for me was the draw of a full-novel critique.
I can receive critiques on short manuscripts anywhere. Hats off to PCCWW.”
— Christopher Ledbetter, author of Caenus and the Quiver of Artemis


I’ve attended workshops in which critiquers either don’t like my genre/subject, or they try to re-write my story. Can I expect anything different this workshop?

YES! We take steps to avoid these kinds of mismatches.

  • Our faculty is chosen not only for their “big names,” but for their likely and/or demonstrated receptivity to aspiring writers. Faculty must be specifically interested in and experienced with character-driven, upper-middle-grade and YA novels. The workshop director interviews potential faculty to determine their personal tastes. Each must also be an experienced teacher, and, of course, be congenial!
  • For our masterclass critique clinics, writers choose peer manuscripts from our pre-workshop anthology, which includes a wide range of character-driven genres and themes.

    Peers and faculty are asked to use our critique guide sheet, which (a) targets strengths as well as areas needing improvement, and (b) reminds critics to use “I” messages, to look for strengths as well as flaws, and to avoid “fixing” what doesn’t seem to work. Specific questions are asked about dialogue, pacing, voice, and more. Critiquers are urged to make notes within the manuscripts as well.
  • Peers are asked to provide sensitive, conscientious feedback, giving each manuscript the same consideration they’d want—not only as a courtesy to colleagues, but to maximize their own learning.
“This workshop gives participants an amazing opportunity to spend quality time
with agents and editors. Fantastic weekend of learning, laughs, and friendship.”
— Jill Corcoran, literary agent; previous workshop enrollee

What if I get contradictory or inappropriate reactions to my manuscript?

Whether peers or pros critique a manuscript, each reader is an individual. Tastes vary. Allow this fact to help, not hinder, your progress. Savor diversity. Weigh the merits of each critique based on the story you want to tell. If opinions are split 50-50, don’t despair—go with your gut. Considering these odds, some agent or editor is bound to agree with you!

If one viewpoint prevails, consider how you may address that concern—even if it initially disturbs or baffles you. With time and objectivity, you may discover a truth within (or triggered by) the original “inappropriate” feedback.

Can I skip the prep—just attend the workshop and soak everything up?

Our seminar-style, interactive aspect distinguishes us from large conferences. For our format to be effective, writers must come prepared. Otherwise, there’s far less to “soak up.”

Pre-workshop materials include (a) novel-crafting exercises specific to our weekend theme, suggested by faculty; (b) e-anthologies with fiction-crafting and marketing articles, as well as peers’ workshop manuscript submissions.

The more carefully you critique your peers’ manuscripts, the more you may expect to benefit from our faculty reviews and discussions. All participants should critique one entire novel manuscript, plus at least four partials (each usually taking 60 to 90 minutes). In brief: The greater your time and energy investment, the greater the yield!

“However great a man’s natural talent may be, the art of writing
cannot be learned all at once.” — Jean Jacques Rousseau
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.