Programs for Writers
Candice Ransom has written more than 100 books for children in every genre, from preschool books to young adult fiction, board books to biographies. She has presented lectures and workshops and performed manuscript critiques at dozens of writers’ conferences. She earned her MFA in writing for children at Vermont College (2004) and her MA in children’s literature at Hollins University (2007). A former adjunct professor at Spalding University’s MFA writing program, Candice is currently on the faculty of Hollins University’s MA/MFA children’s literature program.
Candice can speak on any topic with regards to writing for children. Here is a sampling of her programs.
“Chapter Books: Not Just Short Novels” – The author of 40 chapter books, I give an overview of the requirements of transitional readers and how chapter books fulfill those needs. Participants will learn fundamental differences between chapter books and middle grade novels, how to create a larger-than-life character, and how to stretch an idea into a chapter book series. Handouts, bibliography, exercises.
“So You Want to Write a Picture Book” – Based on my university course and follow-up tutorial, I walk beginning writers through the elements of a successful picture book. Participants learn basic rhythm and rhyme techniques, the Big Idea, the four cornerstones of structure, and elements of language. Exercises include analyzing texts and creating a storyboard and a dummy.
“Can This Marriage Be Saved? Keeping the Passion Alive Between You and Your Novel” – Writing a novel is like falling love, but the honeymoon is often over in the middle. Participants will learn how to keep their novel’s interest from drifting away, how to stay tuned to their novel’s feelings by listening to what their characters are really saying, how to spend quality time with their book, and how to renew their vows. Handouts and fun exercises.
“Mid-grade Novels Rule!” – I’ve written nearly 40 mid-grade novels, and that feel fiction for eight- to twelve-year-olds forms the backbone of children’s literature. Participants will learn to develop their idea into a workable “day planner.” This workshop is based on my own notebook formula and university course. Handouts, exercises.
“Think Inside the Box: How Mixed-Media Art Can Jumpstart Your Fiction” –
Participants will learn to create assemblages—art projects—that incorporate elements of their work-in-progress. Projects use simple, inexpensive materials and supplies such as craft cigar boxes and picture frames. Expanding text into collages or a “book-in-a-box” is not dependent on being a “good artist.” I have taught mixed-media art in a local scrapbook store, where I am also a designer, and my MA thesis, a memoir, was accompanied by 20 mixed-media assemblages. PowerPoint. Handouts.
“‘Dear Author, When Is Your Next Book Coming Out?’ or How to Create Irresistible Series – As the author of several successful series, (Time Spies, Boxcar Children) I teach participants how to develop an idea into a pitch page, a synopsis, and a proposal. Attendees also learn how to set up the series in the first book. Handouts, exercises.
“The Not-So-Easy Reader: How to Crack the Emergent Reader Code” – Easy readers, a vital step in the journey of the beginning reader, are more difficult to write than they appear. As the author of several easy readers, I will analyze the texts of successful easy readers. Participants will learn to create character-driven stories and use distilled, crystalline language. Handouts, exercise.
MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE SERVICE
Stuck writing your picture book, easy reader, chapter book, middle grade novel, nonfiction narrative, or young adult novel? I can help. The author of 115 books for children and young adults, I’ve published board books, biographies, fantasy, history, contemporary fiction, mystery series, and young adult fiction.
In my 30-year career, I’ve worked with dozens of editors and publishers. In addition to publishing book-length projects, I’ve sold more than 150 magazine stories and articles.