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My YA Writing Class


I’m so excited to be taking a writing class this winter through Mediabistro. My instructor is Jill Santopolo, a Senior Editor at Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Jill started us out with writing an outline. This is to be our ‘road map’ for our novel. I’ve always drafted up a rough outline before I write and done character sketches, but she took us a step further. My outline ended up being 10 pages single spaced! She then went through it giving me detailed suggestions of what was working and what didn’t.

This pushed me to think about my plot’s flow as well as all of my characters’ development. It was tough work, but I’ll never go back. When I sit down to write my next scene or need to add foreshadowing, hello outline!

We are now into the 3rd week of the course and each week, minus the first for our outlines, we submit up to 15 pages of our novel. Jill’s notes and thoughts have pushed me to look at the details of my writing.

The class is a heap of work though. Not only am I trying to write a full novel, make edits as Jill and my class members suggest, but I also have to keep up with 11 other people’s stories in the class as well. It’s daunting but I’ve found that I’m learning when I read other people’s stories and Jill’s critique’s of their work as well.

I’m excited about my novel- of course!- but I’m also thrilled to see my growth as a writer. I’ll keep you updated how the class is going throughout the semester.

Here’s Jill’s bio if you’re interested:
Jill has worked on critically-acclaimed, award-winning, and New York Times best-selling titles. Jill holds a BA in English literature from Columbia University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is also the author of Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure, published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books imprint.

15 Responses to My YA Writing Class

  1. Kim Kasch says:

    Sounds like a great class. I’m anxious to hear more as you progress through the course.

  2. Ditto what Kim said! It sounds like a fabulous class.

  3. Rena says:

    This sounds like a great class!

  4. PJ Hoover says:

    It sounds like a great course! Jill came to our last SCBWI workshop here in Austin and gave great feedback!

  5. Marcia says:

    This class sounds wonderful. And a great prod to produce.

  6. Meg Wiviott says:

    The class sounds great. I’ll have to check out if she’s doing another. It sounds like something I need.

  7. Ghost Girl says:

    Awesome! I’ve met Jill, and she was really sharp. Enjoy your class and good luck with your novel!

  8. That sounds great. Keep us updated. If there’s a class that starts in late spring or summer, I am interested, too.

    Good luck!

  9. C.R. Evers says:

    Wow! That sounds awesome! It sounds like a lot of work, but work that is worth it!

    I may have to look into that!

  10. Yep. The class is awesome and Jill is amazing. I’m jealous that you got to hear her speak Ghost Girl. Jill really knows her stuff and it’s reasurring to ask a question about your writing and then to have an editor answer it for you.

  11. Nandini says:

    The class sounds awesome. A 10 page outline, that’s just what I need!

    I understand about the workload … I’ve taken online classes (through writers.com) and found the writing + critiquing very exhausting. But after a few classes some of us formed a critique group that has stayed together for a year now!! They’re my support system, I’m so glad to have them.

  12. Kate Fall says:

    Oh my goodness, Christy, that’s a lot of work! You’re amazing! And you improving as a writer can only be good for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Kiersten says:

    Wow, that sounds great! I should look into more things like this. I’ve been reading about Balzer and Bray, and they sound like a really great imprint. Good for you for putting in the work and time to grow as a writer!

  14. Brenda says:

    Wow this sounds like a great writing class…enjoy your class and I can’t wait to hear more on your progress…

  15. Lenore says:

    That’s awesome. I read and reviewed Jill’s book on my blog last year.

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