NEW! Session #2—Six-week Online Intensive—Writing Picture Book Biographies from the Inside Out

Dates: Sundays July 5, 12, 19, 26, Aug 9, 16 (no class Aug 2)—2020

Times: 4pm-6pm CDT / 2pm-4pm PDT / 5pm-7pm EDT

Class Size Limit: 16

Class Level: All levels

Tuition: $395

Register Now

By popular demand! Registration for session two is now open!
Session Two is a repeat of Session One
(Scroll down for testimonials from Session One Students)

The best picture book biographies are constructed with subtle layers that are stitched together to form a three-dimensional snapshot of a subject’s life. After spending months or years in research, collecting facts and details about their subject, how does an author transform those raw materials into a layered narrative? In this six-week online class, we will embark on an introspective and pragmatic deep-dive into writing picture book biographies from the inside out—from choosing a tight focus and point-of-view to zeroing in on the best structure, thematic throughline, and voice to create your storytelling intention. Throughout the class, you will be challenged with open-ended questions designed to help you find clarity about the story you want to tell.

My own writing and publishing journey began with a years-long apprenticeship of self-study, followed by formal study for an MFA in Writing from VCFA, during which I focused my critical thesis on picture book biographies. I owe all of my publishing success to the study of craft and sheer determination. I look forward to being a part of your journey, too.

This course is appropriate for all experience levels but especially meaningful for intermediate writers who have a picture book biography subject in mind.

In this intensive class, we will cover:

  • How to analyze mentor texts
  • Your connection to your character
  • Determining if your subject is marketable
  • Choosing a tight angle/focus
  • Point of view and perspective
  • Theme (the heart of your story)
  • Character development
  • Narrative arc
  • Voice
  • Structure (there are so many great options!)
  • Research & organization
  • Backmatter
  • The various ages of picture book readers

Class recordings will be available to registered students for two weeks after each session

BONUS #1 — If the schedule allows, guest author(s) will join us for Q&A sessions

BONUS #2— To facilitate ongoing conversation and to create a community of like-minded colleagues, class attendees will be invited to a private Facebook group

BONUS #3 — At the end of the 6-week class, you will have the opportunity to purchase an individual critique from me at a steeply discounted rate.

“Whether you’ve never written a picture book biography—or if you’ve already published in this genre—you’ll find Donna Janell Bowman’s course inspiring. She is a superb teacher—well-organized, thorough, and sensitive to students’ needs. Her knowledge of the creative process and the business side of picture book biography is invaluable.”    ——Patricia Bell-Scott, author of the award-winning adult biography, The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice.

“Donna Janell Bowman’s Six-week Online Intensive—Writing Picture Book Biographies from the Inside Out is one of the most outstanding courses I’ve ever taken. Donna’s brilliant skill, organization, and insight is invaluable to anyone aspiring to write picture book biographies. The teaching is spot on. The atmosphere of the webinars is homey and comfortable. And, the lesson material is indispensable.” ———Phyllis Lyte, Writer.”

“Donna’s Picture Book Biography six-week intensive was truly outstanding! I looked forward to each week of her well-organized and very thorough presentations on the many craft elements of PB biographies. Donna covered all aspects of writing from start to finish – from choosing a topic to finding a publisher, and I honestly can’t think of anything she left out! I especially loved her emphasis on the importance of analyzing and comparing mentor texts and will continue to do this on my own. The course was packed with really practical information and handouts along with great exercises to put into practice what we learned – and I can’t wait to learn from her again.”   ———Susan Stewart

Writing Picture Book Biographies from the Inside Out is an excellent class taught by an exceptionally talented and generous author. Donna Janell Bowman shares her wealth of experience in a course that includes craft insights, industry updates, individualized feedback, group discussions, and class camaraderie. And Donna offers all of this in a flexible format to suit writers at any stage of a project—from polishing an existing WIP to plotting a new narrative.” ———Ashley Walker

“This class was everything I hoped for and more. A deep dive into craft, a community of like-minded people, and the perfect combination of practical information and inspiration. I left each session energized and ready to write!” ———Jessica Fries-Gaither


Register Now