Creative Writing for Teens

This 5-module workshop is for tweens and teens who love writing fiction in any genre. Explore the writing craft with activities that will help develop your unique voice and activate an understanding of advanced fiction writing techniques.

Discover the art of fiction writing and learn how stories are made: from imagination, to starting a first draft, to writing THE END.

Each module focuses on a lecture combined with one or more writing activities designed to develop a particular area of storytelling, such as character development, plot and structure, and narrative voice. Students are encouraged to set a project goal for this course, such as “finish a short story” or “write the first three chapters of my novel.” 

This course is led by Michelle Schusterman, author of over a dozen critically acclaimed novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Her books have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher's Weekly and have received honors including multiple Junior Library Guild selections, the CBCC Best of 2019 List, ALA's Rainbow List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List, and the NC State College of Education Comic Relief Reading List. 

Michelle documents her own writing journey and discusses the writing craft and the publishing industry with a growing community of subscribers on her YouTube channel.


COURSE OUTLINE


Module One

Turning an idea into a story. Michelle kicks things off by sharing the three ingredients writers need to take that seed of an idea and create a plot around it, using her own novel Spell & Spindle as an example. The lesson includes a writing activity designed to help writers come up with a story idea and find a plot. 

Module Two

Perspective and Tense. Michelle discusses the different perspectives and tenses writers use and how to choose the right combination of each for a story, using several examples from published novels to illustrate why authors choose past or present, and first, second, or third person, and what effect those choices have on the tone of the story. This lesson includes a perspective/tense-swap activity designed to help students think more critically about these important elements and settle on a perspective and tense for their story-in-progress. 

Module Three

Character Motivation. Michelle will lead a discussion on maybe her favorite topic of all time: finding protagonists’ internal and external wants and needs. This lecture includes an analysis of several well-known stories and protagonists, along with three writing activities focused on characterization that will help writers get to know their protagonists even better. 

Module Four

Narrative Voice. Michelle will get into the nitty gritty details on the elusive topic of “voice” in fiction; what is it? How can we find our unique voice as writers? This lesson includes an activity that focuses on the old “show don’t tell” rule with a special focus on voice.  

Module Five 

Reaching the End. Michelle will lead a discussion on figuring out the end of a story. What makes a satisfying ending? Can you have a few loose ends? What about cliffhangers? This lesson includes a fun activity called “The Neverscene” that never fails to help writers break through writer’s block and discover new and exciting elements of their stories.  

Testimonials

Students love working with Michelle!

  • Michelle was AMAZING!!!! She gave reader specific feedback and taught us a lot of beneficial things.

  • Ms. Schusterman was a very kind and open instructor, providing us with lots of advice and kindness. She was one of the best writing instructors I have ever had!

  • She's a real published author with her own wiki page and I can't believe I got to study with her!

  • Ms. Schusterman is one of the best writing teachers I have ever had and I am very grateful for everything she has done to help me. Thanks to this course and her guidance, I have been able to start my book. I am indebted to Ms. Schusterman.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Introduction

    • Welcome!

  • 2

    Turning an Idea into a Story

    • Lecture 1

    • Mix and Match Exercise Instructions

    • Mix and Match

    • From Premise to Plot

  • 3

    Perspective and Tense

    • Lecture 2

    • Lecture 3

    • Perspective and Tense SWAP Exercise Instructions

    • Perspective and Tense SWAP

  • 4

    Character Motivation

    • Lecture 4

    • Exercise #1 Instructions

    • Exercise #2 Instructions

    • Exercise #3 Instructions

    • 3 Character Exercises

  • 5

    Narrative Voice

    • Lecture 5

    • Lecture 6

    • Complex Emotions Exercise Instructions

    • Complex Emotions

  • 6

    Reaching the End

    • Lecture 7

    • CWT I Lesson 5 Exercise

    • The Neverscene

  • 7

    Wrap Up

    • Thank you!

This Course Also Includes:

  • If you have any questions about the course content, you can post a question within the course and Michelle will answer it for you.

  • Downloadable Course PDFs

  • The next step in your writing journey!

Michelle Schusterman

Michelle Schusterman is the critically acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, including Spell & Spindle and The Pros of Cons, as well as the Kudo Kids mystery series co-authored with Olympic medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani. Michelle’s books have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly and have received honors including multiple Junior Library Guild selections, the CBCC Best of 2019 List, ALA’s Rainbow List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List, and the NC State College of Education Comic Relief Reading List. In the last seven years, Michelle has led hundreds of creative writing workshops with organizations including Writing Workshops Dallas, Writopia Lab, and Lawson Writers Academy.