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This workshop is a definite 10. For eight years, it helped me hone my craft and make contact with esteemed editors and agents. Pre-workshop materials about character development gave me a new way of looking at my novel. Then I met an editor at the workshop who loved my novel and offered me my debut contract.
This seminar’s intimate masterclass structure allowed me to hear first-hand from professionals what worked (or didn’t) in each manuscript. I learned as much from the critique of my own manuscript as from those of peers. Reading these manuscripts in advance encouraged me to develop my critical skills, then compare them with those of the faculty. I recommend this great workshop and community of writers. (California)
My full-novel critique from HarperCollins executive editor Kristen Pettit was priceless. Her feedback was clear, insightful, sharp, and inspiring. She is a gem. Adding to that, the care and love that Director Nancy Sondel puts into the workshop is beyond incredible and much appreciated.
Though I live on the East Coast, PCCWW was SOOOO special and worth the trip!! I definitely plan to tell my friends about it. I can’t wait to hear all of the success stories that come out of this 2015 workshop! (Pennsylvania)
UPDATE: Christian Yee’s book (below) is the first of those success stories!
Each time I come to this workshop, it’s better than the last. The level of whole-novel feedback is among the best you can get at any conference or peer group on either coast. That includes my 2015 teen critiquers—they articulated when and how my characters were relatable to young readers. It would have been extremely difficult to get that unbiased feedback anywhere else.
I have never in all my years of attending professional workshops and conferences seen anything as well organized as this one!
I liked doing peers’ written critiques before the event, because I was able to put thought into them. The
pre-workshop exercises were challenging and useful—really forced me to focus.
When I brought my fledgling novel to this workshop, I had little confidence in my ability to craft a good story. The application process, plus faculty and peer feedback, boosted my self-confidence—helping to pave the way for the sale and publication of my first novel. The next two manuscripts that faculty critiqued at this event have also been published. This workshop is very helpful! (Utah)
Amazing, extraordinary, enlightening, inspiring, and fun! I’m so glad I was here to be part of it all. (California)
Thanks to Nancy Sondel for creating a unique workshop that I will never forget! I enjoyed the teens so much—their insights have made me a better writer already. The editor and agent were amazing. I’m so happy and thankful I was able to enroll in this event! (Oregon)
The unique format mixing professionals, peers, and teens sparks a stimulating synergy that ups our creative game at every level. The intimate, comfy setting fosters a spirit of support and encouragement while providing helpful information on every aspect of writing. Thanks for another wonderful experience! (Colorado)
I loved this workshop’s craft focus. The event played a huge role in my success. My novel improved largely due to faculty and savvy peer critiques, which led to my first sale. Outstanding seminar. And our beachfront venue was the perfect spot for honing my writing. (California)
This workshop’s chief attraction for me was the chance to get professional feedback on a full novel manuscript. I got valuable, actionable input on my pacing and character development... It also meant a great deal to me that my YA novel connected so powerfully with my teen critiquer. (California)
Mary Cronk Farrell
The Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop is the most worthwhile writing event I have ever attended. I learned so much I would not be surprised if it turns out to be a major turning point in my fiction writing. The faculty showed such passion, and were so skilled in communicating their extensive knowledge and understanding of literature.
All presenters were generous and genuine. The insight I received from each on my manuscript was invaluable. The weekend was also great fun. I enjoyed meeting other writers and felt a spirit of camaraderie and support.
Update: I have just signed with a great agent. I could not have written my second novel, Ellie Paints the Sky, if I had not attended this workshop! (Washington)
This workshop combines the support and camaraderie of an educated, informed critique group with a rare opportunity
to connect with editors and agents to a degree that’s impossible in larger workshop or conference settings.
An absolutely marvelous weekend. This workshop is magic. Grateful times a gazillion. (Washington)
Statement made shortly before Mel’s 2008 death. An enthusiastic educator, Mel bequeathed a generous donation to our first TeenSpeak Novel Workshop scholarship fund. He is missed in the children’s book world!
This workshop attracts real talent. It will have lasting effects on many.
I gained helpful insights about my manuscript and enjoyed peer authors immensely. The size of the entire group was perfect. Everything ran efficiently, on schedule.
The perspective of the professionals was well-balanced—i.e., having both an editor and one or two agents on the panels worked well. I liked that we all had the opportunity to read the open clinic, aka master class, submissions before the workshop. That made such a difference to me in understanding the pros’ responses. The Spot Critiques (First Pages) by multiple faculty were also very helpful and illuminating.
I enjoyed Saturday night dinner “on your own.” It gave me a chance to bond with peer writers. I also liked having intimate conversations at meals with faculty. Finally, I loved the beachfront setting. I’d return to it just for a vacation! (California)
This workshop helped me develop new strategies for my whole novel. The feedback inspired me to be more conscious of the parts as well as the whole, to strengthen each element in its own right. I considered whether each character simply filled a role rather than living his or her part of the story. I also more closely examined each chapter as its own production—a progression of steps and character development, rather than a single step forward in the story. I'm happy with how much more streamlined and focused it is now.
The faculty’s enthusiasm and generosity were truly heartening. Their interest in enrollees’ manuscripts brought a positive and hopeful energy to the whole writing gig. Listening to the open clinic critiques highlighted ways to hone my critical eye. An educational weekend with spectacular setting! (California)
Christopher S. Ledbetter
Fabulous event. The kicker for me was the draw of a full-novel critique. I can receive critiques on short manuscripts anywhere. The beachfront setting was great. I enjoyed the summer-camp type feel of it all, strolling back and forth from “cabin to cabin” along the winding paths. Hats off to PCCWW for the logistics and planning. I had a wonderful time. (North Carolina)
Excellent faculty, format, craft focus, and caliber of peer submissions. The most valuable feedback and best workshop instruction I’ve ever received. (Alabama)
Mandy Robbins Taylor
I loved PCCWW’s small size and the opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. I also really, really enjoyed networking with these writers.
I was so excited to talk one-on-one with an agent and editor without having to “shove through the masses,” as one does at larger conferences. I left this workshop feeling much more enthusiastic about the ins and outs of the publishing industry. The faculty had everything to do with that—they emphasized pleasing individuals, no matter how huge and intimidating a publishing house may seem.
The whole event was very refreshing and inspiring. Definitely a positive experience for writers like me! (California)
In just a few hours, this workshop helped me more than any other I had attended. Thanks to the director for envisioning a highly interactive workshop, then following through on her dreams. (Louisiana)
Extremely practical, fun seminar. I loved the camaraderie, level of professionalism, access to
faculty, beachfront venue, and refreshing participation of teens.
I also appreciated the quality of my peers’ writing; it was nice to chat with other authors about the
challenges of writing novels. I definitely give this workshop a 10! (California)
Susan L. Lipson
Overall, the Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop has been my favorite professional workshop or conference ever. It offers children’s novelists of middle-grade or YA books—novelists who have either been published or have seriously studied their craft—an opportunity to convene with other serious writers, and learn from each other via in-depth written critiques and discussions. Attendees can receive multiple critiques from publishing professionals as well as credible fellow writers. I found this format extremely valuable.
This workshop is a great service to children’s authors—the friendships it helps form, the inspirations it helps generate, the excitement it encourages, and the professionalism it helps foster. I hope to return! (California)
I liked the attention to big ideas and major elements of storymaking. Terrific chance to meet and receive feedback from top editors and agents. I left the workshop re-energized and encouraged. Great faculty, committed writers. Plus, I first met my agent at this workshop! (California)
This workshop is extremely valuable for developing craft and
bringing a manuscript closer to publication. A unique opportunity to connect one-on-one with an agent, editor,
and peers. I was impressed by the participants’ high caliber of writing, and amazed at how supportive
everyone was with each other. I learned a tremendous amount listening to the critiques and fabulous faculty.
If you want to know what it takes to get published, this workshop will leave you with no doubts. Incredible faculty. An absolute pleasure to be in the company of such talented writers. Critiquing both the first and (optional) midbook chapter was incredibly valuable—a unique workshop approach.
This workshop did more to improve my craft than any other I’ve attended. It inspired me to write from the heart. My gypsies are calling to me to tell their story, no matter how outrageous... (California)
I really enjoyed the weekend. I’m thrilled with my new friendships and wonderful faculty insights. The workshop was well worth the price. (Georgia)
Inspiring! The weekend gave me lots to work on in the following months and made a real difference in my writing. I also enjoyed getting to know so many talented, nice writers. A wonderful experience! (California)
The workshop manuals and reference materials with personalized exercises really helped my writing.
Previously, my novel had been only a “That would be cool” idea; now it’s actually a work in
progress. I really can’t tell you how excited I am about my story... (California)
The workshop was well organized and well structured. I liked the intimacy of the room setting, enjoyed the
manuscript exchanges, and had fun meeting both writers and faculty.
Hearing feedback that other writers received on their manuscripts was invaluable to me; I learned a lot. The
comments spurred new ideas, which I hope will breathe new life into my story. (California)
Linda Joan Smith
This workshop is a great ongoing seminar in how to refine one’s writing, plot, and premise! I feel the gears moving again for me; my next rewrite will be far more profitable. (California)
Melody (Mary) Cryns
An amazing working workshop where you actually see editors and agents critique manuscripts. The critiques were honest and well thought out; very helpful. Well worth my time and money! (California)
PCCWW will keep me inspired and moving forward for many months to come. A high-end seminar; immeasurably beneficial. (California)
Writing a novel can feel like scraping a hole through concrete with one’s fingernails—huge, hard, and lonely. But the masterclass format is a great aid and inspiration. PCCCW is the best creative writing workshop I’ve attended. (California)