Verse Novels Intensive

September 27th, 2021 - November 5th, 2021

with Rajani LaRocca and Chris Baron

Group started
Novels in verse for young people are becoming more popular among publishers, schools, and readers. Shorter than their prose counterparts, yet not as intimidating to some as pure poetry, verse novels can be a bridge for reluctant readers and can tackle difficult subjects in a way that is accessible rather than overwhelming. 

But how do you write a novel in verse? In this two-part intensive, you'll learn from two acclaimed authors currently publishing verse novels. In part 1, Rajani LaRocca, author of RED, WHITE, AND WHOLE (Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 2021) will talk about how to approach writing a verse novel. Then in Part 2, Chris Baron (THE MAGICAL IMPERFECT, 2021, ALL OF ME, 2019, both Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan) will dig into the challenge of revision.

The intensive includes two live 90-minute webinars and weekly opportunities for office hours with Rajani and Chris within the group discussion board so that participants can ask questions as they put the ideas into practice. The recordings of the live sessions will be available for re-watching for 30 days after the course ends. 

Part 1, Drafting, with Rajani LaRocca

In Part 1, Rajani will cover

* Advantages and limitations to the verse novel format

* What types of stories are best suited for verse

* Balancing character, voice, and plot

* Poetic forms and how to use them

* How to write the most powerful “chapters”

* Imagery and theme

* Verse novels to study

Part 2, Revision, with Chris Baron

Revising verse can be a challenge: we have often already taken great care to count every syllable, imagine every image, and puzzle our words together in a structure we believe in. In this class, we will look at both wild and practical strategies to practice how revision can actually be dynamic, revitalizing, and get to the heart of our stories. 

  • *Why drafts are not sacred texts
  • *How the brain and revision connect 
  • *How to see a manuscript in new ways
  • *Revision strategies that don’t seem to work 
  • *How to develop the characters we want to know more
  • *How to make the setting come alive through imagery
  • *Thinking about how the poems speak to one another and the whole story 
  • *Finding closure poem by poem


Who this workshop is for: This class is for people interested in digging deep into the process of crafting and revising a verse novel. The workshop is suitable for adult and children's writers crafting novels in verse.

Focus: Adult - Poetry - Poetry - Children's - Middle Grade - Contempora…

Group size: 8 writers

Submissions: There are no submissions with this workshop; participants may opt for a paid critique in conjunction with the class.


Members: $40; Non-members: $75

About Rajani LaRocca and Chris Baron

Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning novels and picture books, including Midsummer’s Mayhem (2019) a Massachusetts Book Award Honor; Seven Golden Rings (2020), the 2021 Mathical Prize Winner for Grades 3-5; Red, White, and Whole (2021), an Indie Next Top Ten and Junior Library Guild Selection with multiple starred reviews; Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers (2021) part of the Storytelling Math series, Much Ado About Baseball (2021), a Junior Library Guild Selection with a Kirkus starred review. She’s always been an omnivorous reader, and now she is an omnivorous writer of fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, prose and poetry. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks. To connect with Rajani and learn more about her and her books visit her at and @rajanilarocca on Twitter and Instagram.

Chris Baron is the award winning author of two Middle Grade novels in verse, ALL OF ME, and THE MAGICAL IMPERFECT (2021) from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, a contributor to the Young Adult Anthology, EVERY BODY SHINES, (2021) from Bloomsbury, and the author of Under the Broom Tree, (2012) from CityWorks Press as part of Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems: winner of San Diego Book Award. He is a Professor of English at San Diego City College and the director of the Writing Center. Baron has published numerous poems and articles in magazines and journals around the country, performed on radio programs, and participated in many readings, lectures, and panels. He grew up in New York City, but he completed his MFA in Poetry in 1998 at SDSU. HE lives in San Diego with his family. He is represented by Rena Rossner from the Deborah Harris Literary Agency. Learn more about him at and on Twitter: @baronchrisbaron Instagram: @christhebearbaron


Part 1 -Mon, Sept 27th- 8-9:30pm ET
Part 2 - Mon, Oct 18th, 8-9:30pm ET
Weekly: office hours discussions