Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book Manuscript (Webinar Series)
February-March 2017

Dates: Evenings (9-10 pm Eastern, 6-7 pm Pacific), February 15, February 22, March 1, March 8, March 15, March 29. Make-up date April 5. We skip March 22 due to our Alumni Revision Retreat.

A free preview session, The Unwritten: What You Don't Say When Writing a Picture Book, was held on January 25. A recording is available.

Workshop registration: Registration is now closed, since the class has started. If you are eager to take the class, even if have missed a live session, please contact us and we will set up an arrangement.

Limited to 100 live participants: Total registration will be limited to slightly more, allowing for some who will watch the recorded version. Recordings, transcripts, and text chat will be available following each session to all students.

Special critique offer: Available only to workshop participants, we will be offering picture book critiques at much less than our usual rates. The linked page provides information and instructions for how to sign up for one.

Picture books are short and simple, written for young children, so they must be easy to write--or so we hear from people who have never attempted one. Picture book writers know that's not true, but their length does make it more practical to revise them, perhaps multiple times, and even to completely re-think or "re-imagine" them, than when working with longer forms.

That's what we aim to help you do in this webinar series with your picture book manuscripts, both during the class and for years afterwards. As independent editors, and in-house children's book editors in New York before that, both of us have years of experience in working with writers on picture books. So we created our successful "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book" in-person workshop. We then developed this online presentation in spring 2015, and have now revised and updated it for this encore presentation. The webinar series, like the workshop, teaches you techniques to help you find problems with your manuscript, reshape it, and then polish it up before you send it out.

To see what people have said about our past workshops, see our What Our Students Say page.

Some of what we will cover in the webinar:

February 15 -- Using Reader Response Theory to Deepen Our Understanding of How Picture Books Work: After some introductory points about the unique challenges of writing picture books, in this session we will look at the two opposing approaches to understanding literature and explore how to use the least familiar of the two, reader response theory, to enrich your picture book.

February 22 -- Revising at the Big Picture Level to Get Your Story Working: In this session we will explore ways of seeing your story in a new light--the true meaning of "re-vision." We will try out techniques from the one-line summary to the story grid.

March 1 -- Re-Imagining Character and Setting to Find a Fresh Approach: Sometimes there's nothing much wrong with a story, but it needs a fresh approach. It, or part of it, needs to be re-imagined. In this session we will look into methods to learn more about your main character and how to use different settings to tell a different story.

March 8 -- Re-Imagining POV and Voice to Find a Fresh Approach: In this session we will continue to re-imagine, this time looking at point of view and voice, and find ways to transform how we are approaching them.

March 15 -- Revising at the Word Level to Polish Your Story: In this session, we will present and demonstrate self-editing methods that you can use to clean up your manuscript without hiring a copyeditor.

March 29 -- Discussion, and the State of the Market: In this session we will review the course, answer all remaining questions, and take a look at the current picture book market and how it affects (and doesn't) what you have to do as writers.

April 5 -- Make-Up Date: Please hold this date open as a make-up date in case we have to cancel a session due to weather or technical difficulties.

We are also providing, as a free bonus session, a recording of "Getting Feedback from Others" from a recent webinar series, on critique groups, beta readers, and working with children.

In each session, we will provide a clear framework, examples from current and classic picture books ("touchstone" books), hands-on exercises, handouts and tools, recommended resources, and time for questions and discussion. Every session after the first one will open with examples from the "homework" from the previous week or from critiques (more on those below).

We deliberately set this class up as a protected space in which you can feel free to make mistakes, ask questions you worry are stupid, and try out new directions; in this class, there will be no agents sitting in, no pitch sessions, no "opportunities to submit a manuscript" to win, because we want you to be able to focus on your writing and revising and on what you are learning in the class without feeling self-conscious and anxious to get it "ready." This will be six weeks of digging deep into your picture book writing, and we want you to enjoy it and be challenged by it in a good way.

The webinar will be presented on the Zoom platform, which works on Mac and Windows computers and tablets (and, in a pinch, smartphones).

Special critique offer: Available only to workshop participants, we will be offering picture book critiques at much less than our usual rates. The linked page provides information and instructions for how to sign up for one.

Frequently asked questions: If you have questions, you may find them answered on this page.

Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson have worked together since 2008 to bring something different to aspiring authors. They have created online classes and tutorials and in-person workshops, presenting and working with writers at SCBWI conferences, recent workshops in western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh, and an annual 4-day retreat at the Highlights Foundation. More information on our backgrounds.

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