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WSP 244 — Creating Memorable, Misbehaving, and Quirky Characters in Stories for Children and Young Adults

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Saturdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Oct 28—Nov 4
Time: 9:45 am—3:30 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 21
Unit: 1
Tuition: $355
Instructor(s): Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
Limit: 21
Status: Open
On-campus course
9:45 am—3:30 pm
Oct 28—Nov 4
2 days
Drop By
Oct 21
1 Unit
Lynn Hazen, Elissa Haden Guest
Why are readers drawn to quirky, funny, flawed, and troublemaking protagonists? How do writers create such unforgettable characters? Children and young adult readers live vicariously through the mistakes and triumphs of these fictional heroes and heroines. We’ll look at Curious George and current favorites including Here Comes Valentine Cat. We’ll also examine memorable middle-grade and teen protagonists.

In this workshop, students will analyze how successful writers create indelible characters who delight, distress, and grip their audience. We will explore techniques used to develop distinctive characters, both worthy protagonists and their antagonists. We will examine the inherent or acquired drama and conflict that propel their stories forward. Throughout the two sessions, students will participate in engaging in-class writing exercises drawing on both memory and imagination with an emphasis on character motivation, voice, action, story, and tension.

Lynn Hazen, Author

Lynn Hazen is the author of the young adult novel Shifty, which was named to VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction and was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children. Her other books include Mermaid Mary Margaret, Cinder Rabbit, and Buzz Bumble to the Rescue. She received an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College.

Elissa Haden Guest, Author

Elissa Haden Guest’s most recent picture book is Bella’s Rules. Books in her early reader series, Iris and Walter, have been named Junior Library Guild Selections and have received a PEN Center USA West Literary Award. Guest received an MFA in children’s literature from Hollins.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Frank Cotrell Boyce, The Unforgotten Coat (ISBN 978-0763657291)
(Recommended) Elissa Haden Guest, Harriet’s Had Enough! (ISBN 978-0-7636-3454-4)
(Recommended) Lynn E. Hazen, Shifty (ISBN 978-1582463223)
(Recommended) Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy, Moone Boy: The Blunder Years (ISBN 978-1-250-09716-3)
(Recommended) Katrina Nannestad, When Mischief Came to Town (ISBN 978-0544534322)
(Recommended) Deborah Underwood, Here Comes Valentine Cat (ISBN 978-0525429159)