Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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  • “Masterclass critiques were profound and enlightening. I was thoroughly impressed
    by the caliber of participants’ writing, and amazed at how supportive
    everyone was with each other.” — Elizabeth Fais, alum
  • “I really liked the small setting and personal connections. Masterclass clinics
    were invaluable—hearing others’ critiques spurred ideas which I believe will breathe
    new life into my story.” — Natasha Yim, author of Otto’s Rainy Day (Charlesbridge)
  • “I was nervous about being critiqued in the master class. But faculty and peers were
    so friendly and helpful. I really liked the format, and left inspired to make my novel
    much deeper than I had originally planned.” — Linda Covella, alum
  • “The masterclass format is incredibly helpful. For me, critiquing these
    peer manuscripts was the best part of the workshop.”
    — Joni Sensel, author of The Farwalker’s Quest (Bloomsbury); more


Our Unique Critiques

Have you ever wished to:

Two faculty await Author’s Chair
occupant in congenial master class.
Photo: Melody Lane Cryns, alum
  • Know what really goes on inside an agent’s or editor’s mind?
  • Observe one-on-one critiques with top-notch professionals in the children’s book industry?
  • Enjoy continuous close contact with faculty in an intensive, seminar setting?

If so, our seminar may be perfect for you. We blend traditional one-on-one critiques with peer group observation in an intimate “masterclass” (open clinic) format.

Master classes are a “novelty” at children’s writers workshops. We’ve adapted this collegial format to allow our entire group to respectfully observe faculty critiques. Masterclass manuscripts are available for you to select and critique in advance. Then at the workshop, you may compare your analyses to those of the pros.

Critiques on whole novels (Group A enrollment) take place twice for 30 to 45 minutes with an editor or agent. Critiques on partials (Group B enrollment) take place for 20 minutes with both editor and agent. Each faculty offers the author comments; general discussion may follow.

Two of our workshop’s perks: Faculty critiques address whole-novel story development in the full manuscript, or in the synopsis of a Group B partial. Group B writer’s submissions may include a later chapter, beyond the standard opening pages, since those early chapters often get “workshopped to death.”

In doing peer critiques, you’ll be asked to provide sensitive, conscientious feedback—not only as a courtesy to colleagues, but to maximize your own learning. The more carefully you critique manuscripts, the more you’ll benefit from master classes.


What are master classes? Am I required to share my manuscript?

We do have an option for the traditional one-on-one critique. However, since writers learn so much from each other, we've introduced master classes to maximize your workshop value.

This format allows you to observe faculty critiques on other enrollees’ opening pages or whole novels. You may read these peer manuscripts before the workshop, then compare your evaluations to those of the pros. A great self-editing tool.

When faculty team-teach a master class and discuss sample chapters, their comments may reinforce or contradict each other. Common threads may emerge. Throughout the weekend, these key points are developed—enlightening not just the individuals receiving critiques, but the entire group of writers.

Isn’t it intimidating to receive feedback in a “master class” among peers and faculty?

Less than you might imagine! We thrive on a spirit of collaboration, not competition. Through pre-workshop manuscript sharing, participants “meet” each other and develop a camaraderie before the workshop begins.

Our masterclass format is based on everyone’s commitment to learning. Enrollees read selected peer manuscripts, analyzing them with a friendly, professional tone. Participants share a passion for fiction that helps offset self-consciousness—especially since faculty and peers are genuinely supportive. If this weren’t true, our workshop wouldn’t continue to enjoy more than a decade of success.

From the first fleeting notion
through multiple revisions,
novelists knead words.

Our workshop can sprinkle
professional “yeast” to help you
rise to the occasion!

Masterclass manuscripts may demonstrate that even very accomplished writing can benefit from constructive feedback. Or, the manuscript may offer some element, perhaps unusual but of common interest, to round out the rest of the submissions being critiqued.

Read as many manuscripts as possible for the master classes, critiquing at least four partials and one whole-novel manuscript. This prep can sharpen your self-editing skills—invaluable in improving your own novel.

For example, observing a critique session you might conclude, “Both the editor and agent considered one writer’s flashback intrusive. I glossed over that passage myself. Now I know why—it threw me out of the story, giving me more info than I needed. Now I’d better rethink my own flashbacks…”

It’s always fortunate when a critique hits the mark, and ricochets to help multiple writers. Our masterclass format increases that likelihood for you.

“Before and during the workshop, PCCWW offers many personal touches
to make us feel at home.” — Annemarie O’Brien, author of Lara’s Gift (Knopf)
(Annemarie met her future editor at our workshop.)

Critiques FAQs »

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.
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