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368568: How to Create Original Middle Grade Concepts

  • Summer 2019
  • Section 1
  • 08/31/2019 to 08/31/2019
  • Modified 09/16/2019

Saturday, August 31, 2019

10:00 am - 1:00 pm

10920 Lindbrook Dr, Room 201, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Contact Information

Instructor: Mr. Henry Lien

UCLA Extension Public Contact: Writers' Program


Original concepts are some of the rarest and most powerful tools in a middle grade novel writer’s arsenal. This workshop guides middle grade writers through concept generation, analysis, and development to create concepts that are unique and personal and differentiate themselves. Workshop techniques will include combining ideas to form unique hybrids, genre challenge exercises such as creating fantasy worlds that contain no magic, surrealist parlor games, exercises and rituals to promote brainstorming, and in-class workshopping with analysis by the instructor and fellow students. Students will leave the workshop with at least one polished concept to begin developing into a middle grade novel.


1. Students will examine what constitutes a middle grade novel, as opposed to a young adult novel, in today's publishing landscape, including analyzing trends in subject matter, theme, and tone.

2. Students will create concepts for unique middle grade novels through in-class exercises divided into three categories: concept generation, concept analysis, and concept development.

3. This course is not graded.


By the end of the course, students will be able to apply their knowledge of what defines a middle grade novel and the exercises for concept generation, analysis, and development to create at least one concept for a middle grade novel, and an itinerary of next steps to develop the concept(s).


Instructor will provide all written materials

Course Policies

Intellectual Property Confidentiality Statement

The story ideas of other writers should be treated as confidential and must not be shared outside of this class. There is no protection under U.S. copyright law for mere ideas. However, as a matter of professional courtesy, we will treat any idea that a writer comes up with and shares in this class to be the intellectual property of that writer and you will not use or disclose that idea without permission from that writer. If any writer is working on the same, or an extremely similar, idea as one shared in class by another writer, please alert the instructor during or shortly after the class so he can make a note of it for the record to follow up with this after the class is over. This policy promotes the free and open sharing of ideas so that students can get the most from the class.

Attendance Policy

· It is a student’s responsibility to know what is expected of him or her in order to receive a passing grade in the course.
· It is a student’s responsibility to inform you when they cannot attend class.
· It is fully at the instructor's discretion to decide whether to accept work outside of class, before or after the class meeting in which it is due.
· The instructor is not responsible for helping a student catch up if the student habitually misses class.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, Suite 113, 10995 Le Conte Ave., Westwood; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    If you need assistance downloading student materials from your course, please contact Canvas Support or the UCLA Extension Learning Support Team.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays: