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Writing for Young People: Developing your manuscript

Join facilitator Alison Lohans in a four-session workshop on writing for young people. This workshop series will provide writers with an opportunity to get started on a manuscript for children or young adults, and move it forward. There will be opportunities for constructive group critiquing. Limit of 12 participants.

When: Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 22, 29 and Dec. 6 and Dec. 13

Where: SWG Regina Office

Fees: $49.00 + GST for full four weeks

To register please fill out the registration form and email registrations to swgevents@skwriter.com or mail to PO Box 3986, Regina, SK S4P 3R9. Cheques can be sent by mail or phone our office to pay via credit card.

For the first session, please bring along a page or two of text, and/or ideas that you'd like to work on. With reference to your own writing, we will discuss:

Week One: Sparking ideas across the ages, or "What's the problem?"
The first session will provide a springboard for generating ideas that will be an appropriate fit for the age group you'd like to write for. Strong story ideas are comprised of a cluster of challenges faced by your character. Layers of problems add depth. We will begin exploring the character we'd like to work with over the course of this workshop.
Week Two: Settling in with your character, or "Who's got a problem?"
Character development is key to crafting a memorable story for children or young adults. This session will focus on ways of making your characters fully alive as they tackle the problem-set you've given them.
Week Three: Plot and pacing, or "What's at stake? How will this problem be solved?"
Successful stories for younger people need to draw a reader in with a compelling plot, and clear, tight writing that shows the action unfolding on the page. Through the lens of your character, readers experience the ups and downs of plot set out through natural consequences of the character's action (or inaction) toward his/her goal. We will also look at active voice and showing rather than telling, and ways of getting rid of excess "stuff" that can slow the pacing (and give readers an excuse to set your story down).
Week Four: Putting things together, or "How do all these problems fit? Where do we go from here?"
This final session will be a wrap-up partially dependent on the progress of the manuscripts. Children's books should always leave a reader with hope, and growth in the protagonist. (This isn't always the case for today's YA novels.) We will discuss aspects of submitting to publishers, and the editing process. We may talk about writing groups, and the constructive roles they can play.

About Alison Lohans:

Born and raised in California before moving to Saskatchewan in 1976, award-winning Regina author Alison Lohans has been writing since childhood and was first published at age 12. To date she has published twenty-six books for young people and one poetry chapbook, as well as numerous short pieces in many genres. Her books range from picture books to early reader chapter books, middle grade fiction, young adult, and "crossover" YA-adult novels. Recent books include Leaving Mr. Humphries (Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2013); Crossings (Bundoran Press, 2012); and Picturing Alyssa (Dundurn, 2011). Also recent from Pearson Education New Zealand are Stop That Pup!; The Break; Dog Alert; Doppelganger; River Rat; and This Land We Call Home which won the 2008 SaskEnergy Saskatchewan Book Award for Young Adult Literature. Coming in September 2014 is a re-issue of No Place for Kids in the new Wandering Fox imprint of Heritage House. Alison has given hundreds of readings and workshops across Canada, and occasionally teaches writing as well. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 2012 YWCA Jacquie Schumiatcher Woman of Distinction Award for the Arts. Alison served as Writer-in-Residence at Regina Public Library in 2002-2003.


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