Writing YA Fiction: Bringing Young Narrators to Life On the Page


Writing YA Fiction: Bringing Young Narrators to Life On the Page


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Saturday, November 11, 2017
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Classroom A
Northwest Film Center (934 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97205)
$75.00 (tuition includes admission to Wordstock)
taught by Selene Castrovilla, Jessica Kapp and Meagan Macvie / class size limited to 15

This workshop focuses on young adult first-person narrators. Workshop participants will investigate how writers use Immediacy, Voice, and Transformation to accomplish this great feat of sensory and emotional osmosis.

Immediacy refers to the sense that decisions and actions in the story feel urgent, intimate, and consequential.
Voice is the unique personality—the interior ‘I’ narrating the story—that serves as the window or lens through which readers experience.
Transformation means something or someone has or is changing as a result of events and actions in the story. In coming-of-age stories, characters often move away from the child self and toward the older self.

The three authors leading the workshop will share excerpts from classic and contemporary young adult literature, and will lead participants in guided writing exercises. Example paragraphs by award-winning writers (including Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gayle Forman, John Green, Karen Hesse, and J.D. Salinger) demonstrate how writers can use Immediacy, Voice, and Transformation to compel a reader to feel along with a story’s teenage main character. A printed handout with all excerpts and the writing prompts will be provided to participants.

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning YA novelist and nonfiction author who leads writing workshops for students of all ages. Her third young adult novel Melt, Book One of the Rough Romance Trilogy, was the recipient of six honors including the SCBWI Spark Award. Signs of Life, Book Two, takes multiple narration even further in a medical thriller tour de force. Book three, Unpunished, releases in 2018.

Jessica Kapp began her writing career as a television news reporter before transitioning to print news as the editor of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business. She still freelances as a contributor for print and online newspapers, as well as Northwest magazines, but spends most of her free time creating fictional worlds. She writes contemporary and speculative fiction for young adults, and her debut, Body Parts, releases August 2017 from Diversion Books.

Meagan Macvie grew up in Alaska writing poems about injustice and hot boys. Her first novel, The Ocean in My Ears, is set in her hometown and was a 2016 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest finalist. Meagan’s short work has appeared in Narrative, Fugue and Barrelhouse, as well as the story anthology, Timberland Writes Together. Her short story, “Dinosaur Guys,” recently was awarded second place in the 2017 Kay Snow Writing Contest. Meagan has an MFA in fiction from Pacific Lutheran University. She lives with her husband, daughter, dog, two stinky goats and ranging chickens in the Pacific Northwest.