Course Catalog

Yearlong Manuscript Class in Young Adult Fiction


In weekly meetings over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year, class will provide advanced and dedicated writers with an intensive path toward finishing a publishable draft of a book. Whether you are early in the writing process or already have a rough draft, this yearlong course will help you set and active clear goals, as well as write and revise with intention. The first third of the class will focus on developing proficiency with the writing tools (craft elements) that you will need to use, and the remaining two thirds of the class will be comprised of workshops and writing toward personally devised deadlines. At the end of the year, there will be a two-day, weekend-long intensive on the book business and finding a market for your book, and Hugo House will host a culminating celebration and reading. Previous workshop experience required.


This class is open to those writing in any genre of fiction intended primarily for a teenage audience. Through reading assignments, craft exercises, and workshopping your manuscript, you will develop and polish the teen voice, pace your storylines, and write the engaging characters that readers of young adult fiction have come to expect. Industry professionals specializing in YA fiction will visit the class.

No class Oct. 8, Nov. 26, Dec. 17, Dec. 24, Dec. 31, Jan. 7, Apr. 8.

Publishing Intensive Weekend: May 16 and May 17, 1–4 P.M.

Beginning Fall 2021, we will be adding select in-person classes back to our course catalog. The majority of our classes will still be offered via Zoom.

If a class says IN-PERSON in its title, it will take place in person at our permanent home in Seattle.

If a class says ASYNCHRONOUS in its title, it will take place on Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform.

If a class does not have a marker after its title, it will take place via Zoom.

Instructor: Stephanie Kuehnert

Start Date: 09/17/2014

No Class On: See class description

End Date: 05/27/2015

Days of the Week: Wednesday

Time: 7:10 PM – 9:10 PM PDT

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$1125.00 Member Price:
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$1250.00 General Price:

Class has begun, registration is closed.

Stephanie Kuehnert

Stephanie Kuehnert is the author of two young adult novels, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone and Ballads of Suburbia, and she has a young adult memoir forthcoming from Dutton in 2017. Stephanie has also been a contributing writer to Rookie, an online magazine for teenage girls, since its inception in 2011. She received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2006 and has been teaching since 2009. She’s taught general Fiction Writing courses, classes that focus on character, and Young Adult Fiction courses to teenagers, undergraduates, graduates, and working professionals both in person and online at a variety of institutions including Columbia College Chicago, StoryStudio Chicago, MediaBistro, Hugo House, and Seattle University.

Teaching philosophy: I believe that learning to write is a never-ending process (and this is why I take classes at Hugo House too!). I strive to help my students build their writerly toolbox by providing helpful exercises and ways to look at storytelling that they can continually revisit. All of my classes include a generative component and a focus on craft. In workshops, I aim to create an environment that is positive and productive and helps each student zero in both on what needs work and what already is working.

Writers I always return to: Francesca Lia Block, Melissa Marr, Libba Bray, JK Rowling, John Steinbeck, and Louise Erdrich

Favorite writing advice: Let reading be your greatest teacher. Study the books you love, examine them at a craft level, and use what you learn. Also: Butt. In. Chair. Fingers. On. Keyboard. Do what you need to do to finish your draft. There is no one magical routine, but you know what works for you—do it!

Past Student Feedback:
“I loved Stephanie's year-long class. Stephanie is smart and organized, all-around supportive, and a great mentor. She was always open to new ideas, considered everyone equals, and was encouraging of all discussion, never shying away from emotion. Very inclusive. She has a unique view of the world, and that perspective seems to put everyone at ease. She's a kind and funny person with a good sense of humor, but also gave honest and valuable critique. I learned a lot quickly, and also felt like there was time for questions and building community. Great experience!”

“Stephanie is the kind of teacher who uses positive, thoughtful feedback to tease the best stuff from writers in her classes. On the other hand, she's not shy about giving exercises that stretch us out of our zones of comfort, including identifying (and pushing) our story's main idea and diagramming our entire book (drawings optional) before we've even finished chapter four. She's organized and prepared. She really knows her stuff, which gives her students confidence in her.”

“Stephanie is an inspired teacher with a gift for bringing out the best in her students. She is always well prepared to discuss every angle of the writing process and brings a tremendous amount of energy to each class. Stephanie is extremely supportive and engages with her students’ work, always finding positive ways to help. I was constantly amazed at how meticulously she read each student’s work and gave constructive feedback. Her enthusiasm and passion for the craft of writing is contagious.”

“Stephanie Kuehnert is an awesome, talented combination of teacher and facilitator. At the start of our yearlong YA fiction writing class, she provided the class with a well-organized syllabus and suggested reading list. After each class, we received class notes in email form which proved useful both for people who missed class and for those in attendance. She also provided us with in-class writing exercises and handouts that I continue to reference. Along with being very knowledgeable about the craft of writing, Stephanie is also skilled in the art of critique. She provided helpful feedback on my writing, both in written and verbal form, offering encouragement and suggesting areas that could be changed to make my writing stronger. During in-class critiques, she would start the class off by providing her own, brief feedback on a student's work, and would then open the discussion up to the class. While she allowed the discussion to flow organically, she kept it respectful and on topic, which was appreciated. She also kept the class on schedule, both in regards to the syllabus and to the individual classes, which is no easy feat. I found Stephanie's YA fiction writing class to be the best writing class I've ever taken (and I've got a BA in Creative Writing). Not only did I learn countless writing techniques and tips to add to my writer's toolbox, but through her encouragement, I have started querying my novel with literary agents. I greatly respect Stephanie as a teacher, a writer and an all-around supporter of the writing community.”

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