Advanced Picture Books, with Karen Boss

September 9th, 2022 - October 9th, 2022

with Karen Boss

Group started

In this intimate workshop, you'll receive a written critique of a picture book manuscript from Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge Publishing, plus get the opportunity to speak to Karen individually in the live group call that follows critiques. You'll also exchange critiques with your workshop peers.   

Who may apply

You must be an Inked Voices member, and you must meet one of the following for this advanced group: 1) traditionally published or under contract; 2) agented (or previously agented in the past 2 years); or 3) querying and getting requests for additional manuscripts. APPLY.  

How it works

You'll submit your pages at the group start, then spend the next weeks critiquing peer stories. The editor will submit their notes near the critique deadline. After critiques are complete, we host a live group debrief over Zoom, in which each writer gets individual time with the editor 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, this workshop 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 9, this means you should have at least 8 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.


Who this workshop is for: This workshop is an advanced group. Please see "Who May Apply" above for the application and rules.

Focus: Children's - Picture Books - Fiction - Children's - Picture…

Group size: 9 writers

Submissions: Submit one picture book. Fiction submissions should be under 900 words; nonfiction should be under 1500 words.


Members: $101; Non-members: $121

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

About Karen Boss

Karen Boss is a senior editor at Charlesbridge. She holds an MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons University and is a mentor in their MFA program. Karen also has an MA in higher education administration and worked at colleges and in the nonprofit sector for 15 years. She edits fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and YA. In her free time, Karen watches far too much television, and she often plans “Auntie Karen adventures” for her four nieces (Sonia, 14; Sage, 11; Olive, 7; and Morgan, 5).

Critique style:
I focus on structure and flow first and foremost. For me, details are secondary because they can always be tweaked and perfected in the editorial process. But without a strong structure, plot, and story arc, I believe that the manuscript is less likely to be contracted. I also get a little pedantic, and often offer small punctuation or wording notes for folks. :)


Fri, Sept 9 - Submissions due
Sat, Oct 1st - Critiques due
Thurs, Oct 6th, 7-9:15pm ET - Debrief call
Oct 9th - Group closes