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FICT 49 W — Writing the Groundbreaking Young Adult Novel

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 21—Aug 27
Refund Deadline: Jun 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 20
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jun 21—Aug 27
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 24
3 Units
Malena Watrous
Registration opens May 17, 8:30 am (PT)
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 by such authors as Louis Sachar, John Green, and Angie Thomas, using their work 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.

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) Mary Kole, Writing Irresistible Kidlit (ISBN 1599635763)
(Required) Louis Sachar, Holes (ISBN 1599635763)
(Required) Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (ISBN 1416905863)
(Required) Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (ISBN 9780439023528)
(Required) Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give (ISBN 0062498533)
(Required) Helena Echlin and Malena Watrous, Sparked (ISBN B075R69TLW)