Your Last Chance (for Now) to Take an Online Writing Class with Me!

Writers! Are you working on a YA or middle-grade novel and want some feedback and assistance polishing it up to submit to agencies and publishers? Well, maybe I can help.

I wanted to post quickly here to say that my eight-week online YA Novel Writing: Master Class with Mediabistro starts next week! I don’t want the class to get too big, but there are a couple spaces left, so I wanted to tell you.

The first assignment is due this coming Monday morning—and the first online discussion is this coming Wednesday night.

I don’t have plans to teach another class like this in the near future since I expect my schedule to be changing this year, so if you’ve been waiting to sign up, I’d say do it now! I may not lead this class again.

Here’s a post I made before, answering some frequently asked questions about the class.

And here’s where you can sign up to take the class with Mediabistro.

You should also feel free to email me directly to ask questions.

[ETA: Registration is now full—thank you to everyone who signed up!]


Teaching a Spring Session of My YA Novel Writing Class

mediabistroI’ve been teaching an online YA Novel Writing: Master Class with Mediabistro this winter, and I can’t even tell you how much I’ve been enjoying it. I love being a part of helping other writers polish their novels and write ahead to complete their drafts—and reading the pages every week, sometimes as they write, has been rewarding and eye-opening, both as an instructor and a writer. In fact, I’ve enjoyed leading this winter’s class so much, that I’ll be teaching a new session in the spring.

I wanted to announce here—in case any writers reading this blog are interested— that my YA Novel Writing: Master Class for spring starts in April. It’s eight weeks long and involves weekly online workshops as well as feedback from me on pages every week.

Please don’t be intimidated by the “master class” in the course title. This just means this is not a class for beginning writers who are new to writing fiction.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, but if there’s something you’d like to know about this class, you are welcome to email me.

Q: Do you need to have a complete novel to sign up for this class?

A: No, you don’t. You can sign up with a novel-in-progress. You can also sign up if you have a draft of your novel already written that you’d like to revise. You will be turning in up to 10 pages a week—new or revised, up to you. Some of the students in my class now have already written full drafts of their YA or middle-grade novels and are turning in pages with revision in mind. Some started the class with unfinished novels and are writing ahead, hoping to finish their first drafts. And others are beginning novels in this class and writing a new set of pages every week. It’s up to you—whatever would be the most helpful use of your eight weeks with me.

However, I would say that it would be most helpful to you as a writer to have a solid idea of what you want to be working on in this class. If you are not sure of what you want to write and are seeking a writing class to explore ideas, this wouldn’t be the class for you.

Q: How does the workshop aspect of the class work?

A: Each writer will be “workshopped”—critiqued—in our online text-based chatroom in detail two or three times in the eight weeks. This means we discuss all pages turned in by your workshop date in the online discussion. Other writers are also asked to leave written feedback for that week’s writers in the forums, so you will gain feedback from your peers in two ways.

Q: But do you read my pages every week?

A: Yes, even if you aren’t up for workshop that week, I will be reading and giving you written feedback on your pages every week.

Q: Will this class involve a lot of reading?

A: It could. The class is capped at 12 students, which means most weeks you will be reading pages from four writers and preparing to discuss their work in the online chat as well as leave them written feedback.

Q: Can I take this class from anywhere?

A: Yes, you can take this class from anywhere (and you can take it while wearing pajamas!), so long as you can access the discussions online every week. They will be at 9pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesdays. The chatroom is text-based and easy to use.

Q: Will you be able to read and critique my whole novel in this class?

A: No, I can’t read your whole novel in this class. We’ll just have eight weeks, so I’ll be reading 80 pages. They don’t have to be in order—so long as you turn in a plot summary of anything I’ve missed. I can’t read the rest of your novel after class ends, sorry.

Q: Do I have to be writing a YA novel to take this class?

A: You can sign up if you’re writing a middle-grade novel. There are usually at least a few middle-grade writers in the class, though most of the writers in class tend to be working on YA. However, if you are writing an adult novel—even if you think it has potential to gain a teen readership—this is not the class for you.

Q: Can I take this class if I’ve never written a novel before?

A: You are welcome to sign up even if you’ve never tackled writing a novel before, but I highly recommend that you have some experience writing fiction, even if it’s not YA or middle-grade. Many of your fellow students will have taken writing courses before, and some will even have MFAs. Some will have a lot of experience writing YA and knowledge of the industry. Others are writing YA for the first time, though they’ve written fiction before. This has made for a great, wise, helpful group when it comes to workshops and feedback, and varying perspectives. But if you are a brand-new writer not used to regular writing deadlines like this, I’d suggest taking an introductory class instead. If you’ve never written fiction before, this won’t be the class for you.

Mediabistro has some wonderful courses, and they are always adding new ones. Here, take a look. For example, here’s a YA writing class taught by an editor at Alloy… and it begins in March!

Q: Do you choose the writers who get to be in the class or screen the submissions?

A: No, Mediabistro screens the applications. You’ll need a two-page writing sample and a short letter of interest, explaining why you want to take this class and what experience you have. I find out who has signed up for the class about a week before. It’s always a fun surprise! Admissions are rolling, though, so you probably shouldn’t wait till the last minute to sign up. The class is capped at 12 students.

Q: Do I have to pay the tuition up front, in full?

A: Yes, I am pretty sure you need to pay in full for the class when you’re approved to register. You can apply here through Mediabistro, and you can ask them registration/payment questions directly.

Q: But I am busy this spring… will you be teaching this class again?

A: I am not sure if I’ll be teaching this class again—right now, I have no plans to do so—but if I am, I will announce it here.

If there are any questions I haven’t answered, please feel free to ask. Or here is Mediabistro’s FAQ.


Thank you to everyone who may be considering taking this class—and thanks to those who’ve emailed with questions and interest! I can’t wait to see who signs up this spring and to dive in and start reading the novels…

Teaching Another Online YA Novel Writing Class

I taught my first online class with this spring/summer—a twelve-week YA novel writing class with some truly amazing students. I loved working with them—and I can’t wait until their novels are finished and polished and their future book deals come to be so I can cheer and tell everyone to read their books. Just wait.

I wasn’t sure if I’d teach the class again, because it surely is a big time/heart commitment, but guess what? I am teaching online again this fall… This time, the Young Adult Novel Writing Master Class. This class is different from the first one: It’s eight weeks long, and it will be all workshop-based—yes, it is my plan to workshop students’ chapters in the weekly chats.

If you’re in the midst of a YA novel and want to sign up to work with me, I would love to have you. The online classroom opens November 20, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday—and my residency at the Millay Colony in November—the first chat will be on Thursday, November 29.

If you have any questions about the holiday schedule or the class itself, please feel free to email me or leave a comment on this post and I will answer!

Just to answer some of the questions I’ve gotten so far: 

  • Yes, you can sign up even if you have a draft of your novel already written. You will be turning in 10 pages a week—new or revised, up to you.
  • Yes, I will be giving you detailed feedback on your pages every week.
  • Yes, you can take this class from anywhere, so long as you can access the chats online every week.
  • No, I can’t read your whole novel in this class. We’ll just have eight weeks, so I’ll be reading 80 pages.
  • Yes, you can sign up if you’re writing a middle-grade novel.
  • If you’ve never written fiction before, this may not be the best class for you, but if you don’t think you’re ready for the master class, there are many options for you! Why not check out my talented friend Micol Ostow’s YA Novel Writing class, which starts September 24?
  • Yes, I am pretty sure you need to pay in full for the class when you register. You can apply here through Mediabistro, and you can ask them registration/payment questions directly.

If there are any questions I haven’t answered, please feel free to ask. Or here is Mediabistro’s FAQ.

I’m excited to lead the class and read everyone’s novels… Can’t wait to see who signs up this November!

Nova, Are You Home Yet?

Tomorrow! I am home tomorrow!

And here are four things I want to tell you now that I’m back to real life:

My new novel 17 & Gone is moving along and I can’t wait to update you and tell you all about it! All I can say for the moment is that the season is Spring 2013 (which could be anywhere from January to April, 2013). I don’t have a cover yet, but the cover nightmare I had—incongruously involving an unrelated cameo from a young Leonardo DiCaprio—has not come true, so we’re good.

The 12-week *online* YA Novel Writing Class I’m teaching with Mediabistro starts NEXT WEEK, on Thursday, April 19, and as far as I know there is still room in the class and you can still apply! I can’t tell you how much I look forward to working with all the writers in the class. We’re going to have a blast… and get a ton of writing done. (I wish I could also tell you I’m teaching the same class in person this summer, but alas my summer schedule is still up in the air as I wait for some applications I have out, so I couldn’t commit. But if I get the chance to teach a future class with Mediabistro, in person or online, I will keep you posted.)

You can still donate to support me in my walk for my sister in Walk MS: Philadelphia next month. Here’s why I’m walking and links to donate if you want to help me reach my fund-raising goal.

And what’s happening next with this blog, huh? It’s time for the resurgence of a blog series you may remember from some months ago:

On Monday, April 16, It’s time for a new round of the YA Debut Interview series, in which I pick ten debut YA novels that I’m excited to read from the upcoming season and do a Q&A with each of the authors. But here’s an exciting thing… For the Summer 2012 series, there are 11 debuts to be featured here! (One of the debuts that had been fall turned out to be summer, and I was way too excited about the book to not include it.) So come back on Monday for interviews with the authors and ways to win signed ARCs and pre-orders of these Summer 2012 YA debuts… Each day I’ll reveal a new debut!

Next time I post, it’ll be from New York City. xo

I’m Teaching an Online YA Novel Writing Class

A little interlude for an announcement: 

I’ll be teaching a twelve-week *online* Young Adult Novel Writing class with! Here’s information about the class (though my syllabus will be different; what’s up there is a sample).

The course starts April 19, and the goal is to come away with the first draft of a YA novel (or middle-grade novel—writers of middle-grade are welcome) by the end of the class! We’ll be talking about ideas, characters, plotting a novel, outlining and how it can help to write the dreaded synopsis before you finish your book, voice, strategies for moving forward and making it to the end, and we’ll also be thinking ahead to revision strategies and agent querying and what publishers are looking for. But mostly, if you take the class, you’ll be writing, writing, writing, and I’ll be reading and commenting on your pages as you go, as will other writers in the class with you! I can’t wait to read the students’ novels.

The class is entirely online, so you don’t have to be here in New York City to take it… There is a one-hour chat session each week, and it’s late enough to accommodate writers on the West Coast (and a transcript will be saved every week if you happen to miss it). So the class will be a lot of work, but it’s flexible… and I think that’s the best part.

You can apply for the class on

And here’s information from MediaBistro on what their online courses are generally like.

If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to email me. If you have questions about the application process, though, please ask MediaBistro directly.