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Writing Young: Drawing from Personal Experience to craft YA Characters 2-Week Zoom Intensive, Wednesday July 17th & 24th, 2024
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Writing Young: Drawing from Personal Experience to craft YA Characters 2-Week Zoom Intensive, Wednesday July 17th & 24th, 2024

Unit price per

Wednesday, July 17th & 24th, 2024

Live Seminar via Zoom will meet on consecutive Wednesdays from 7:00PM - 9:00PM Eastern.

Now Enrolling!

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Instructor Alicia Carroll is a screenwriter and playwright based in NY and LA. She got her start in theater and news before moving to screenwriting. Previous writing credits include BUMPER IN BERLIN (Peacock), THE WATCHFUL EYE (Freeform), ZOEY'S EXTRAORDINARY PLAYLIST (NBC), and Crooked Media's comedic live show and podcast, LOVETT OR LEAVE IT. As an advocate for consent-aware entertainment, Alicia spoke at TEDxBeaconStreet in Boston. She has also participated in fellowships and labs across mediums in film, television, and theater, including Film Independent: Project Involve, Women In Film: Insight, IAMA Theatre's Emerging Playwrights Lab, The Workshop Theater’s Rewrite Intensive, and Ensemble Studio Theater LA’s Ignite Lab. Her play HORSE PLAY was recently named an O’Neill Theater Center NPC Semifinalist. She also runs the Substack publication Write Bites, which is a community for busy artists to develop a writing practice. Alicia is an Emerson College graduate.

Learn more about Alicia in our Meet the Teaching Artist series. 

This is a workshop focused on writing "YA" characters, which focuses on teens and early adulthood. The class will guide students through several exercises to mine from their own youth to build an authentic foundation for a new character and how to "keep up with the youths" as generations evolve. 

Alicia will guide writers through a character workshop to help them dig into their own youth, adolescence, and early adulthood to mine flashbulb memories and authentic emotional moments for their own young characters.

The class will offer a basis of Character—types of characters and how to formulate a good protagonist and antagonist. The core of both is focusing on a character's wants.

This two-week intensive will include a series of writing exercises and discussions to help students pull a specific flashbulb memory from their youth and bring it to the forefront to fuel their writing. What did they want at that time? What was the issue they were dealing with at the time? What do they remember feeling and why?

Part of investing in young characters is believing that their problems are real and have stakes, so taking writers back to a time when molehills felt like mountains can help drop them into the headspace of a character much younger than them.

Once we pick a memory, expand on it, and mine specifics we can apply to a new character, we will do a writing exercise with a new "fictional" character grounded in their personal narrative.

Then, we will do a final exercise to look into generational speak to figure out how to make our new character SOUND youthful on the page. Students will come away learning how to mine personal experience for a new fictional young character, and then how to "update" youthful characters for a particular time period to make them feel authentic. A challenge many people have the further away they get from present day adolescent age. 

Excerpts and examples may include Lady Bird, Stranger Things, Edge of Seventeen, Booksmart, Love & Basketball, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.' Dickinson, Euphoria.

  • How to ground young characters with high stakes and emotionality without "talking down" to them,
  • How to use personal experience to fuel new characters. 
  • How to keep youthful characters authentic to the time period you're writing in. 


Class 1: This class is broken into 2 sections: first is a lecture-style primer on character, want, and stakes. The second hour will be writing prompts and discussion meant to draw out highly emotional moments in the students' past that they can draw from their scenes. We will end with what will also be their homework: breaking down their stories into elements they can then separate from their personal experience: an objective, a motivation, stakes, and an emotional arc. 

Class 2: We will focus on embedding those elements into a NEW character of their design, and writing a scene with their new creation, then learning how to fine-tune dialog to make it feel youthful, depending on the time period they focus on. 


"This was the second class I took with Alicia. She is beyond prepared, her materials are informative and well organized, and the course is structured, but students have the flexibility to ask questions. I would absolutely recommend this class. Alicia is the best!" - former student

"I have an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, and this class was already light years ahead of most of the classes I took there" - former student


You can pay for the course in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Wednesday, July 17th & 24th, 2024

  • Live Seminar via Zoom will meet on consecutive Wednesdays from 7:00PM - 9:00PM Eastern. 

If you have questions, please use the Chat Button or contact us via email HERE.