Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Highlights Foundation Workshop: Picture Books & All That Jazz (PB&J)

Leslie Helakoski, Darcy Pattison, Kelly Bennett
DarcyPattison & Leslie Helakoski


JAZZED. That would be me after attending the PB&J Workshop.

Our group of about twenty writers toured Highlights Magazine which is celebrating its 70th year! We learned how to make submissions, and were encouraged to do so. Then we walked across the parking lot to Boyds Mills Press. There, Cherie Matthews, Assistant Editor, gave us priceless information about their inner workings.

I became teary-eyed grateful for this opportunity as we weaved through the Pennsylvania countryside towards the Highlights Foundation’s campus. When we pulled into the driveway, I felt as though this was where I was meant to be.

The Barn.
Darcy and Leslie made us feel welcomed. We ate dinner. And then we dove right into writing lessons. A mere two hours later, I sat down in my comfy, cozy room, took out my manuscripts and eww, eww, ewwed all the way through. Which did not feel so comfy and cozy, but made me realize that this was exactly where I needed to be.

Over the next few days we learned how to generate valid story ideas. We learned how to harvest words and place them properly into stories. To create pitches for agents or editors, and keep our focus while writing. We learned about structure, voice, rhythm, and editing. And so much more.

My brain operated at full speed. Learning and writing was all I wanted to do. I hardly slept. And I LOVE my sleep. One morning I awoke with a jolt at 4:17 with an idea bred from a newly learned technique. I grabbed paper and pen, and feverishly wrote.

I treasured being immersed in writing, elbow to elbow with peers sharing the same passion. We celebrated accomplishments. We supported each other through the joys and pains of becoming better writers.

Back at home, I missed that camaraderie. But not for long. Lindsey, one of the other attendees, started a private Facebook group where we continue to share in one another’s journey.

Jazzed Jeanne
Thanks to PB&J, I am equipped with valuable knowledge, an even stronger desire to write, and have a support group. JAZZED. My only regret is not taking this workshop sooner!


·         FOUR priceless critiques!

·        Getting to know our intelligent, patient, and kind instructors.

·        Meeting and listening to Kelly Bennett, Kelsey Murphy, and Tim Gillner.

·         Distractions were at a minimum.

·         The gracious and generous staff.

·        And oh, the food! I’m still savoring the apple chutney pork chops and that wild rice dish, and the specially made gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies! Mmmm . . .

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Everyone interested in writing picture books. All levels.
HOW TO PREPARE? Read, read, read classics and newly published picture books.
WHAT TO BRING? A laptop, one or two of your favorite picture books, imagination, and your passion for writing. Of course clothing and toiletries are helpful, too.


#Workshop #Highlights #PictureBooks #WritersLife #Author #GetBrave #LiveLife


Rose Cappelli said...

A wonderful experience in every way!

jeanne curtin said...

Absolutely! The workshop exceeded my expectations.
So glad you attended too!😃⭐️

Karen said...

Great account of all that happened and how special it was! I am missing everyone too.

jeanne curtin said...

Thanks, Karen. And yeah, i miss our group. It would be great to have an annual reunion, don't you think?