Advanced YA & MG Novel Workshop, Summer 2021

June 7th, 2021 - August 30th, 2021

with Sarah LaPolla

Group started

Have you received extensive feedback on your opening chapter, but not enough on what follows? Has your novel-in-progress been through Big Picture self-edits, and ready for deeper feedback to reach its full potential?

In this workshop, Sarah LaPolla will provide a detailed critique on your novel involving character development, plot development, pacing, and sentence-level writing tips to take your story to the next level. Participants will also receive a full query critique for the project they submit. You will submit one query letter and the first 20,000 words of your novel at the workshop start. You will have 2 weeks to read and post critiques for each query letter, and a total of 8 weeks to read and provide written critiques for the first 20,000 words of each other's novels. At the start of the workshop, Sarah will post a guide on what to look for in a query and best practices for how to critique work.

You will also be invited to an introductory group call to meet the other members and discuss workshop expectations. After exchanging critiques, you will be invited to a group discussion call where you will have the opportunity to discuss your manuscript with Sarah and receive tips on how to apply critique notes you receive to future revisions. After the workshop’s end, you will have the option for a 15-minute one-on-one call with Sarah to discuss final feedback and any lingering questions. 

*This workshop has a zero tolerance policy against racist, sexist, harassing, or otherwise offensive behavior. Writers who engage in this behavior against the instructor or fellow writers, or present material that promotes this behavior, will be removed from the workshop without a refund.


"Sarah lets you know where you need work on a manuscript and WHY in language that is specific and not nebulous. I would absolutely recommend her again." - Poppy P. (Spring 2020 participant)

"This was a great value workshop. So rarely do we, as writers, find a small group that is willing to dive so deep. Not only did Sarah deliver in both her written and spoken feedback, but the participants provided full-fleshed feedback that made every step of this process enjoyable." - E. M. (Spring 2020 participant)

This group will be limited to 4 writers, plus Sarah to keep the peer workload manageable.


Who this workshop is for: The workshop is for upper MG and YA writers with at least 20,000 words of completed work. Different genres are welcome and encouraged, but this is not a workshop for non-fiction projects or books meant for younger (under age 10) children’s books. In addition, this workshop is designed for writers who have started querying or will be soon. This is not the right workshop for someone finishing a first draft. At minimum, participants should have 20,000 words of completed work that have been self-edited for grammar and style errors.

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

Group size: 8 writers

Submissions: You will submit your query letter and the first 20,000 words of your novel at the workshop start.


Members: $410; Non-members: $460

About Sarah LaPolla

Sarah LaPolla is a freelance editor with over a decade of experience in the publishing industry. After starting in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd., she became an associate agent there in 2010. In 2013, she continued to grow her list as an agent at Bradford Literary Agency, where she primarily represented Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction in various genres, for over six years. Sarah has an MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from The New School and a BA in Creative Writing from Ithaca College. In 2020, she started Next Chapter Editorial & Consulting. She regularly teaches workshops and offers critiques for writers through Inked Voices, Manuscript Academy, and other writing programs and conferences.


June 7: Workshop opens
June 9: Introductory Group Call (30 minutes)
June 11: Post first 20,000 words of novel + Query Letter (two separate docs)
June 25: Written critiques of Query Letters due
August 6: Written critiques of 20K words due
August 10: Debrief conference call (2 hours)
August 13: Workshop closes
August 27: Optional follow up calls. Book a 15-minute one-on-one phone call with Sarah to discuss your revisions in process.