MG and YA Verse Novel First Pages, with Rena Rossner

July 29th, 2022 - August 23rd, 2022

with Emily M. Bailey

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of your opening 15 pages (2,500 words) of your verse novel from literary agent, Rena Rossner, of Deborah Harris Agency, plus get the opportunity to speak to Rena individually in the live group call that follows critiques. You'll also exchange critiques within your group of up to 8 writers.

How it works

You'll submit your pages at the group start, then spend the next weeks critiquing peer stories. Rena will submit her notes near the critique deadline. After critiques are complete, we host a 2-hour group debrief, in which each writer gets 15 minutes of individual time with Rena to dig into feedback, brainstorm next steps, and discuss any writing questions. 

Our goal with these events is to help writers become stronger storytellers. That said, each opening pages event we offer also comes with a submission opportunity.

About the group workshop format

Participants should be sure they have at least 1 hour to give for critiquing each person's manuscript (plus reading time). Because this is a group of 8, this means you should have at least 7 hours available for your peers' stories.

This makes for an intense workload for the few weeks of peer critique. However, we've also found that this format accelerates learning because you are able to read a professional's feedback on each story you have read and critiqued, and you will listen to each one-on-one in the debrief. Many writers have told us that listening and learning from the professional's notes to others has been just as beneficial to their learning as the feedback on their own work.

We are pleased to offer a workshop spot free of charge to a writer of color or from a traditionally marginalized background.


Who this workshop is for: This workshop is best suited for writers querying, preparing to query, or who have an agent but are looking for a high level educational opportunity.

Focus: Children's - Middle Grade - Contemporary fiction - Children'…

Group size: 8 writers

Submissions: There will be one submission of your first 2500 words (approximately 15 pages) at the workshop start. Participants should also plan to share their pitch/short summary with their pages. Your pitch is not included in the word count and will not be critiqued.


Members: $105; Non-members: $127

We are pleased to offer a spot free of charge to a writer from a historically marginalized group. Applications for this scholarship have closed.

About Emily M. Bailey

Rena Rossner hails from Miami Beach, Florida. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars program, Trinity College, Dublin, and she holds a MA in history from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She currently lives in Israel, where she works as a Literary Agent at The Deborah Harris Agency. Her debut novel, THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD, was listed as "One of the 100 Best Books" of the year by Publisher's Weekly. Her sophomore novel, THE LIGHT OF THE MIDNIGHT STARS, released in 2021 from Redhook/Orbit Books. Her grandparents and great grandparents immigrated to the USA from Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova - their stories, together with her love of Jewish mythology and fantasy, inspire her work.


Fri, July 29th - Writers submit
Wed, Aug 17th - Critiques due
Sun, Aug 21st, 12 pm-2 pm ET (5 -7 pm GMT, 7-9 pm IST) - Debrief call on Zoom.
Tues, Aug 23rd - Group officially closes.