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NVL 49 W — Write Your Groundbreaking Young Adult Novel

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Sep 1
Refund Deadline: Jun 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jun 26—Sep 1
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 29
3 Units
Malena Watrous
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
At a moment when “dead-tree publishing” seems imperiled, young adult fiction is experiencing a renaissance. It’s a robust and varied genre that runs the gamut from contemporary to historical, paranormal to science fiction, and contains all of the brilliance and complexity of adult fiction (some would argue more so).

Young adult and middle-grade novels tend to be tightly plotted and quickly paced, with an idiosyncratic and believable voice, often raising the kind of challenging moral questions that teens in particular struggle over. The “kid lit” books that become beloved grow from original ideas, feature nuanced characters and sharp dialogue, and take unpredictable twists and turns. Kids don’t like being preached to and resist moralizing as much as they’re open to exploring difficult moral questions.

In this course, we will study bestselling and critically acclaimed novels, using them as springboards for weekly guided craft exercises from which to build your opening chapters. Students will submit 750 words of new writing each week and will work in small groups. Students will concentrate on developing a solid premise, a plot, a cast of characters, and an opening section of their novel. Expect to have fun and learn a lot about how to write a groundbreaking young adult or middle-grade novel.

Writer; Former Stegner Fellow; Online Writing Certificate Program Lead and Creative Writing Coordinator, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me and co-author of the novel Sparked and the cookbook My Mexico City Kitchen. She has contributed to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Cheryl B. Klein, The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults (ISBN 978-0393292244)
(Required) Jessie Weaver, Live Your Best Lie (ISBN ‎978-1368078368)
(Required) Lauren Yero, Under This Forgetful Sky (ISBN 978-1665913799)
(Required) Laurel Snyder, My Jasper June (ISBN 978-0062836632)