The ABCs of Writing for the Children’s Market: Penning through the Genres

with Brooke Bessesen
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Workshop Type: 2015, 4-Week, All Levels, Children's Literature, In-Person, Unlisted, Winter
Length: 4-Week
Genre: Children's Literature
Type: In-Person
Skill Level: This workshop is suitable for writers of all skill levels.
Location: Piper Writers House, ASU Tempe Campus» View Map
From: Wednesday, 15 January 2014
To: Wednesday, 05 February 2014

Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Ever dream of writing a children’s book? Now’s your chance to do it! This workshop explores the world of children’s literature from picture books to middle grade and young adult novels, poetry to nonfiction, always focusing on elements of craftsmanship. The instructive format is energetic, full of facts, anecdotes and encouragement to really get you started. Multi-media presentations are followed by guided discussions and opportunities for student readings and optional critiques. Experiment writing in several genres for young readers, knowledge gained will help make your dream of writing a children’s book a reality.


Week 1 – Wordplay: Solving the Writing Puzzle

The goal of the first week is to put everyone at ease and get them into an enthusiastic writing mode. After introductions, I lead a fun hands-on writing exercise designed to eliminate any fear/frustration with the creative or editorial process. We also discuss some basic strategies for writing for children, and after Q&A, there is a group discussion about why we write.

Week 2 – Picture Books: It Looks So Easy

Children’s writers should understand the unique roles of text and illustrations in picture books. We dissect a picture book to examine its composition, in terms of both format (word count, page layout and design) and story (age level, character and plot points.) I also introduce concept books and board books. After, students may share a piece of their writing and request group feedback.

Week 3 – Creative Nonfiction: Know Your Facts

Nonfiction (NF) accounts for 95% of all published material, so the goal is to introduce narrative nonfiction for children, including fundamental aspects of research, interviews, story-maps, structure, tone and sidebars. And since leveled readers are such a growing market, students also learn techniques for writing specific content across various grades. At the end, there is a group discussion on overcoming challenges.

Week 4 – Chapter Books to MG/YA: Writing a Novel Novel

The last week of this workshop focuses on projects with longer word counts, including early chapter books, middle grade (MG), teen, ‘tween and young adult (YA.) Topics include: appropriate lengths and subject matter, where to find viable ideas, how to create believable characters and improve settings, plots, and dialog. After, student readings and optional critiques and a final Q&A wrap up our session.

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Brooke Bessesen photoAbout Brooke Bessesen

Brooke Bessesen is the recipient of the Judy Goddard Children’s Author/Illustrator Award. In addition to writing nonfiction leveled readers, she has several popular picture books that combine humor and fact. Zachary Z. Packrat Backpacks the Grand Canyon was released in 2014 to follow Zachary Z. Packrat and His Amazing Collections, a Phoenix Public Library Project GOAL book and a Grand Canyon Reader Award nominee. Both were illustrated by Jenny Campbell. Two other titles were illustrated by Brooke herself: Look Who Lives in the Ocean!, a colorful introduction to marine life, and Look Who Lives in the Desert!, which received the Glyph Award for Best Children’s Nonfiction and Southwest Books of the Year Top Pick for Kids. Bessesen has also created nearly 100 pages of standards-based curriculum for grades K-8. She has given writing workshops and presentations to a range of book-loving audiences, including International Reading Association, Tucson Festival of Books, Society of Southwestern Authors, Phoenix Writers Club, National League of Pen Women, Women’s Expo, and Piper Writer’s Studio, always seeking to inspire.

Notice: Sorry, but registration is now closed.