Writing Contemporary Teen with Suzy Vitello - September 2014

Young Adult is bigger than dystopian landscapes and overly-complicated sorting rituals. In this four-week class, learn to accurately render real teens in contemporary settings.

Your Instructor: Suzy Vitello, author of "The Moment Before"

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: This class is not currently enrolling. To be notified when it is offered again, Click Here

Enrollment: 16 students

Price: $325

Class Description

Young Adult, as a genre, is bigger than blown-out landscapes and conspiracy-laden dystopian societies. 

Realistic fiction—stories about teens who aren't battling fascist governments—is a hot commodity in the Young Adult genre. With John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Gayle Forman leading the pack, authors are experiencing best-seller fandom, movie deals, and an increasingly crossover-saturated audience.

Clearly, young adult isn’t just for young adults.

And you'll explore that in Writing Contemporary Teen with Suzy Vitello

Suzy is the author of the critically-acclaimed contemporary Young Adult novel The Moment Before, as well as the upcoming The Empress Chronicles (available from Diversion Books on Sept. 2). 

She's also the den mother of Chuck Palahniuk's Portland-based writing workshop. Having sat around a workshop table with some of today's hottest writers—like Chuck, Lidia Yuknavitch, Chelsea Cain, and Monica Drake—she's seasoned in the mechanics and craft of writing. 

In this four week intensive, you'll go from concept to outline to the start of something you can build upon. The lectures are structured to inspire, motivate, and offer specifics that come from the inside of Suzy's experience.

What This Class Covers

Each week, there will be two lectures, a suggested reading list, and one peer- and instructor-evaluated homework assignment.

While questions will be welcomed along the way, the class will close with a few days of a dedicated Q&A thread to further explore what you learn.

Lecture One: We’ll look at the following questions: What are the parameters of Contemporary Young Adult? Can you create mash-ups that work with CYA? Which ones work best?

Lecture Two: Are grown-ups really embarrassed to read young adult novels? What are the prejudices and assumptions of the literary fiction world regarding books written primarily for a teen audience?

Lecture Three: The secrets of voice, and why first person/present tense is so popular in YA.

Lecture Four: What about the f-word? What about sex? Drugs? Difficult subject matter? This lecture delves into some strategies authors use to write about “adult” subject matter.

Lecture Five: We’ll get into the pantser/plotter discussion, and why a combination approach might be your best friend.

Lecture Six: The arcs. How to build them, tension strategies, romantic pacing, and the importance of continuing to make life hell for your main character.

Lecture Seven: Where to begin your story. We’ll look at several approaches, and offer pros and cons. We’ll also delve into optimal length for a complete manuscript.

Lecture Eight: Your opening chapter. Learn how to guarantee that your audience will beg you for the next one.

Goals Of This Class

  • Define Contemporary Young Adult and various YA terms such as high-concept, issue...
  • Develop a sustainable, clear concept for your YA.
  • Craft main and supporting characters that are appropriate to that concept.
  • Develop a plot board as an initial structure for your novel.
  • Create POV and tense strategies that work best for your concept.
  • Draft and receive feedback on your opening chapter.
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