On Viney's MountainMichigan Writers welcomes acclaimed children’s book author, Joan Donaldson who will lead a writing workshop entitled From the Beginning, on Saturday, November 16, from 1 to 3 pm at the University Center, Room 219, on Cass Road.

The first hour of From the Beginning will focus on elements of craft: conjuring a sense of place, choosing which point of view will best serve the story, developing characters, with numerous tips on how to avoid pitfalls. From a selection of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, the participants will reflect upon the opening pages and discuss how the author set up their story.

In the second hour of the workshop, Donaldson will read the opening paragraphs of the participants’ manuscripts and facilitate a discussion about what is working in the manuscript and what elements could be strengthened.

For those who would like feedback, those participants are welcomed to send their first pages to Donaldson and she will offer a brief written critique. Contact Betsy Emdin at [email protected] for further information.

The workshop is free for Michigan Writers members and $10 for non-members (who can join onsite).

The workshop will take place Saturday, November 16, 1-3 p.m., Room 219, NMC University Center
2200 Dendrinos Drive, Traverse City.

Joan Donaldson’s latest novel, On Viney’s Mountain was a finalist in the 2011 Bronte Prize for Romantic Literature, and received the Friends of American Writers 2010 Award for outstanding Young Adult novel. On Viney’s Mountain was included on the Bank Street List of the Best Books of 2010, and represented the State of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress. Her other works for young people include two picture books, The Real Pretend, illustrated by Tasha Tudor, The Secret of the Red Shoes, illustrated by Doris Ettinger, and the young adult novel, A Pebble and A Pen.

Over the past fifteen years, Joan’s personal essays have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Jane’s Farms, Victoria, Michigan History, and A Simple Life magazines. This spring, a collection of her essays, Wedded to the Land: Stories for a Simple Life on an Organic Fruit Farm, was release. She writes and records features from her farm for the NPR affiliate, WMUK broadcasting from Western Michigan University.

She is a graduate of Spalding University’s Master in Fine Arts program. For the past four years, she has served as a workshop facilitator at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference sponsored by the University of North Texas. Her webpage is www.joandonaldson.com.

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