About the Course:

This is a four-week online course. In addition to pre-recorded sessions that you are able to work through at your own pace, the course features LIVE sessions with faculty, writing exercises, a community forum, a LIVE peer-to-peer roundtable, and an opportunity for editor or agent feedback on your manuscript.

The dates for the LIVE sessions:

  • Session 1: June 4
  • Session 2: June 11
  • Session 3: June 18
  • Session 4: June 25

Online Workshop Participant Cap: 20 Students

Join Us To:

Deepen your understanding of your characters and how they are the foundation for every aspect of your story. Explore resources and complete writing exercises to unlock your characters' secrets and make decisions about your point of view, plot, pacing and more. Participate in weekly faculty LIVE lectures and Q&A sessions, and receive faculty feedback on your work.

Please note: our online courses use the Thinkific platform, so when you click to register, you’ll land on the Thinkific site and you’ll register there.

What You'll Learn & Experience:

Character can tell you so much about your story, both what goes "on the page" and what happens behind the scenes. In this course, you will:

  • Engage in Q&A sessions and hear weekly faculty lectures.
  • Explore resources and complete writing exercises (2 per week).
  • Participate in a community forum to connect with peers.
  • Receive editor or agent feedback on your cover letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your novel.

The Lectures:

  • Getting to know your main character
  • The influence of secondary characters
  • Seeing characters through Scene
  • Strengthening your characters with the help of outlines, storyboards, and other tricks

Special Guests: We’re thrilled to have editor Katura Hudson and agent Kelly Dysterhouse offer critiques to workshop participants following the 4-week character intensive.

Join Us If: 

  • You have an in-progress or completed draft of a chapter book, middle grade or young adult novel. Whatever point you're at, exploring character will help you grow your story.
  • You want to learn strategies to improve your novel draft. Exploring your characters will help you with every aspect of your story: plot, voice, point of view and more.
  • You want to make sure that readers connect with your characters. The better you know your character, the more likely they will resonate with readers.



Sarah Aronson

Sarah Aronson has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has published three novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe as well as the chapter book series, The Wish List (Scholastic). Her first picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg, was released in March 2019 by Beach Lane Books. When she is not writing, Sarah loves working with writers to help them discover the hearts of their novels. She speaks regularly at SCBWI events and writing conferences--mostly about the power of play, creativity, and curiosity and how to ignite the writing process. Do you need writing tips? Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, Monday Motivation, on her website, www.saraharonson.com.

Special Guest

Katura Hudson

Special Guest Katura J. Hudson is a children’s book author, editor, and a communication strategist. A native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, she got her start in publishing as a kid working for Just Us Books, the children’s publishing company her parents founded in 1988 and has since edited and led marketing campaigns for dozens of children’s books. Katura’s books include I’m A Big Brother Now and I’m A Big Sister Now, which won the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Award for picture books (age 4-7 category), both illustrated by Sylvia Walker. You can find Katura on Twitter and IG (@Arutak1) posting about books, diversity & inclusion, and gushing over New Edition.

Special Guest

Kelly Dyksterhouse

Special Guest Kelly Dyksterhouse is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency. She specializes in fiction and non-fiction from PB to YA. Kelly has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has worked in the agenting world for a little over 8 years. Her joy is working with authors as they develop their project from rough idea to polished manuscript. She thrives on connecting individual works with the right editor, and considers it a great honor to help bring children’s books into existence.

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