You will come into class having read each novel. Each week, you will be assigned closer readings of one or two chapters from our selected titles. The purpose of these readings is to identify and analyze, from a craft perspective, the four key components of a successful contemporary YA novel. Following the readings, we will meet online as a class (via IM) to discuss the passages.
Each week, you will also complete a short writing assignment (4-10 pages), demonstrating your ability to incorporate that component into your own work-in-progress.
Week 1. (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) | Establishing your main character’s voice and identity.
Week 2. (The Queen of Everything) | Populating your fictional world.
Week 3. (Looking for Alaska) | Building Tension
Week 4. (All) | The passage of time, particularly the delicate art of weaving in flashbacks.
You’ll have seven days to complete each writing assignment. I’ll respond to all work individually. You’ll also have the option of sharing your work with your classmates by posting your assignments on an in-class board. Guidelines will be supplied for peer responses.
Supplemental Materials | For fun, I’ll supply links to articles and essays on writing that will help inspire and motivate you. I’ll also post cheat sheets designed to help you outline your plot, analyze your characters, etc. These can be used while class is in session or afterward.
Carmen's workshop was the motivation I needed to really focus on my novel, and gave me the confidence to start seeing it as a real novel, and not just a dream. Her close commentary and feedback zeroed in on specific narrative problems and solutions, and the close reading of other novels gave me a blueprint for continuing to learn how to make my own writing better.-- Meghan Miller Brawley, Founding Member of ForeverYoungAdult.com