How to Write and Sell the Young Adult Novel with Mandy Hubbard

In this four-week writing intensive, you'll learn how to write Young Adult fiction that sells—straight from Mandy Hubbard, a literary agent and accomplished YA author.

Your Instructor: Mandy Hubbard (literary agent and author of young adult fiction)

Where: Online — Available everywhere!

When: June 23, 2014 - July 21, 2014

Enrollment: 12 Students

Price: $399

Class Description

Are you looking to make a splash in the hottest trend in bookstores?

Or perhaps you joke that you stopped maturing at sixteen?

Or maybe you'd rather watch The Vampire Diaries than True Blood?

If you're nodding your head, chances are you love Young Adult books, and maybe you even write them—or hope to. But there's more to this booming genre than teenaged protagonists and high school drama. There are multiple subgenres, hot or fizzling trends, and ever-increasing competition. That's where Writing and Selling the YA Novel comes in!

As a literary agent and author of nine teen novels, Mandy Hubbard knows what's selling—and what's not. She'll begin the class by discussing YA as a genre and reading your synopsis, to put you on sure footing, so you know whether your book is marketable (and if not, how you can fix that). 

From there, she'll help you uncover your teen-friendly voice, develop authentic teen characters, and hone your craft so you won’t miss out on this expanding market.

And in addition to critiquing your first 20 pages, Mandy will assist with developing a query letter to ensure you will stand out in the slush pile!

What This Class Covers

Lecture One, Defining YA

Just what is YA anyway? During this lecture, we figure out how old our characters can be, and what kind of content is okay—and totally off limits. Drugs, sex, rock and roll—how much is too much? Why are some books with teen characters published as adult novels, and others are published as Young Adult?

  • Synopsis Critique: A lot of writing YA is understanding the market and where you fit, and how to stand out in a competitive market. A strong synopsis is a great place to start, and Mandy will critique yours. 

Lecture Two, First Chapters

First chapters are vital in hooking your reader—and a potential literary agent. But where do you start, and what the heck is a hook or an info dump?

  • Manuscript Critique: Mandy will be critiquing the first 10 pages of your manuscript this week, so it’s time to figure it out!

Lecture Three, Voice and POV

Maybe you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fantastic voice. Learn tricks and tips for honing your YA voice, and figure out what POV you should be using for your novel.

Lecture Four, Characterzation

Katniss Everdeen, Jenna Fox. Mia Thermopolis. YA novels have characters that stick with you for days, weeks, and months. But nothing’s worse than a sixteen year old character that acts like she’s sixty—or six. Figure out how to create an authentic teen character with dimension!

Lecture Five, Revision

Some say “editors don’t edit anymore.” That’s never less true than it is in YA, where a dozen page revision letter is the norm! Learn how to deconstruct criticism and turn it into a to-do list, polishing your novel until it shines.

Tips for revisions
a. The Reality of Revision (aka, even published authors revise)
b. Filtering through the feedback
c. My debut novel took 9 drafts to sell—learn what I did wrong.
d. Tips and tricks to speed up the revision process without losing track of your goals.

Lecture Six, Concept vs. Plot

“High Concept” is all the rage in YA… but what does that even mean anyway? How can you use concept to hook an agent? How does concept differ from plot? And what if you want to write a plain old coming of age or boy meets girl sort of story.

Bonus Lecture and critique: Query Letter 101

Learn the basics of a query letter—as well as the most common mistakes, and load up on tips and tricks for finding and researching lit agents. Mandy will highlight a few query letters of clients she actually signed, and discuss why they worked.

  • Query Critique: Mandy will tell you what's working—and what's not working—in your query letter. 

Goals Of This Class

  • Understand the fastest growing genre in publishing, and where your book fits
  • Create a dynamic character and voice which reads authentically teen
  • Complete and polish the first three chapters of your novel
  • Draft and perfect your query letter--and know where to send it
  • Immunize yourself from the most common mistakes hopeful YA authors make
  • Explore key highlights from effective query letters that got new authors signed... and learn why.
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