Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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“This workshop stimulated me to use my brain in fun ways.
It has truly meant a lot to me.” — Megan, age 16


It’s a long journey from an author’s imagination to the polished novels you love to read. Our workshop will take you through portals along the path to publication.

Feedback at various stages is essential. As you (and adult authors) develop and revise your work, it can be helpful for others to view it. TeenSpeak Novel Workshop offers adults the “fresh eyes” of their ultimate audience—you. In turn, you’ll receive support from the older generation, as well as peers.


Before the workshop, plan to read and critique some enrollees’ manuscripts. The samples will be emailed to you in an e-anthology, in summer. You’ll choose:

  • One whole teen novel, written by an adult (fantasy, realistic, etc.)
  • Two samples written by teens (short stories, journal entries, or personal essays)
  • One or more 12-page excerpts from an adult-written teen novel

Your instructions will suggest points to consider as you read, then you’ll write comments on a brief form.

At the workshop, you’ll hear these same manuscripts discussed by faculty; some in open clinics or “master classes.” That way, everyone learns from each other’s work. You’ll observe rare, behind-the-scenes glimpses of how a big-name editor and agent think—how they choose and work with novels that may eventually end up on your bookshelf.

Will you find the same strengths and flaws in the writing as our editor and agent do? Or will your teen perspective grab something the pros have missed? Come and find out!

Join us even if you’re an avid reader, but not a fluent writer. Writers always need readers.

PERKS that make our workshop a splash

SplatIncreased reading pleasure. What makes a story gripping and/or entertaining? When you dissect their elements, such as character and plot arcs—and the harder to define “distinctive voice”—you see how these help make a story successful.

Top faculty feedback on your writing. Peer critiques can be helpful—but we offer another option, rarely available to young writers. You may sign up for a complimentary critique (usually on 5 to 12 pages) with an accomplished and/or published Assistant Faculty Author. Novelists may also include a one-page synopsis, or informal story summary, or questions you need help with. PLUS: You’ll have a chance to submit one page to our faculty editor and agent for supportive, honest feedback.

Truth #1: Teen voices rule. Our adult participants are intensely interested in your opinions about YA novels. Your responses provide authenticity—adult writers and faculty won’t depend on what they think teens like or do. You are the voice of authority. No one knows better than you what makes a YA novel irresistible!

TeenSpeak Critiques If you already read adult novels, tell us why you like them and how they differ from YA novels you’ve enjoyed.

Truth #2: Teen sessions rock. These meet for 1 to 3 hours each day, along with sessions you’ll attend with adults. Teen sessions combine learning new writing techniques, revision time, and optional sharing with friends. There may also be special activities, such as improvisation as a gateway to character. More: See our weekend schedule.

Broad benefits. If you participate fully in our workshop, the director’s written recommendation will be a great addition to your future job or academic pursuits. If you attend our optional Personal Essay session, it can be invaluable in crafting a college application. Plus, we’ll give you tips on publishing your essay or fiction in a teen periodical. Or, enter your piece in a writing contest. Possibilities bloom!

Fun. Enjoy our coastal setting with sports courts (basketball, volleyball, tennis), lagoon, and nature walks. Hang with friends. Our Teen Planning Committee and chaperone will brainstorm ideas for free time. Your pizza party and beach bonfire with s’mores are highly entertaining, too! smiley

“The purpose of an editor is to encourage you and to help your writing grow. Anyone who doesn’t do those two things is not a good editor for you.” — Marion Dane Bauer,
What’s Your Story? A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction

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Check out our photos and enrollees’ feedback. Register before we fill,
then enjoy our September 28-30, 2018 workshop at the beach!
© 2003 - by Nancy R. Sondel. All rights reserved.