How to Write for Children and Young Adults

How to Write for Children and Young Adults

Become a children's author

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write fiction for 8 to 18-year-old readers

You will learn:
How to create believable characters and dialogue
The ideal way to plot and structure your story
Which topics are acceptable to publishers
How to get into the young fiction publishing market
And much more

This is the course formerly known as Become a Children's Author






Online classroom
Starts Monday 10 June 2019 , Any time during the week
5 weeks (Allow 3-4 hours per week)
Book Now
Starts Saturday 27 July 2019 , 10am-4pm
2 consecutive days
Book Now

Inspire and entertain

  • Are you interested in writing long fiction for older children (8-12 yrs) and teens (13-18 yrs)?
  • Unsure where to begin?
  • Wondering what kids these days actually want to read about?
  • Keen to learn the secrets to getting your book published?

If so, read on… (Preferably under the covers with a torch.)

Please note: If you’re looking to write picture books for younger children, you might be interested in our course on Writing Picture Books.

A story for the ages

Writing for children and teenagers. It’s easy, right? After all, if there’s one thing we ALL were once, it was a kid. But just as eating ice-cream doesn’t automatically make you a gelato expert, so too with children’s fiction.

There’s a special craft in writing fiction for older children and teenagers. These unique readers are looking for characters they feel passionately about and strong stories that amuse, entertain and challenge – all without talking down to them. In many ways, they’re some of the toughest critics you’ll ever face!

Whether you want to write middle grade stories like Nevermore, Wonder or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or young adult bestsellers like the Harry Potter series, The Fault in Our Stars, The Book Thief or The Hunger Games this course is for you.

Unlock your imagination

Many of us have great book ideas for children and teens, but simply aren’t sure where to start. That’s where the Australian Writers’ Centre can help. Whether it’s epic fantasy, comic adventure, romance or realism you want to write, this course covers all the essentials of writing fiction. And more specifically, we tackle the most common questions about the dos and don’ts of writing for children and young adults:

  • What age reader is my story best suited for?
  • Are there rules about vocabulary in books for children and teens?
  • How long should my book be?
  • What topics are acceptable to publishers and the adults who buy the books?
  • How do I know what today’s young people are interested in reading about?

When a story hits the mark, it can be extremely rewarding. It can also find universal appeal – in recent years, great novels for kids and teens have “crossed over” to be read by adults with equal enthusiasm. In fact, during tough times, it’s often these types of books that keep the publishing industry afloat.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Your first words – how to get started.
  • Finding the right voice – one that won’t alienate your readers (unless you’re writing about aliens, that is…).
  • Creating characters and stories young readers will enjoy.
  • Talking the talk – how to write believable dialogue.
  • Common assumptions about writing for children and about young readers in general.
  • Ups and downs – how to structure a story that works.
  • Plotting and scheming – the secrets to plotting for different age groups.
  • Your next steps – everything you need to know about getting into the children’s and young adult publishing market.
  • And MUCH more!

Remember, this course will focus on longer fiction for children aged 8+ and teenagers. If you’re thinking more along the picture book lines, please check out our course on Writing Picture Books.

This was a thoroughly accessible, non-intimidating way to begin thinking seriously about the process of writing books for young children.

- Katherine Norbury

Kids these days…

You may have kids of your own. Perhaps you know someone who does. Maybe you once saw some in a park. Whatever the case, it’s really important you understand your audience. The world of writing for young readers changes quickly. You’ll learn what to avoid if you really want to get published and be guided step-by-step on how to approach a publisher. In short, you’ll gain a blueprint for succeeding in this market!

A captive audience

Duelling wizards, angst-ridden vampires, high school dramas and hungry games… The characters may change, but the fundamentals to writing great children’s fiction never go out of fashion. This course can’t guarantee you a movie franchise (sorry). We can’t even promise you’ll be any better at making gelato. But what we can do is provide you with a hefty bunch of keys to help unlock your imagination and inspire a new generation of young readers. And that’s an epic win in anyone’s book…

The AWC methodology

We truly believe that every person needs to tap into their own creative intuition. It’s YOUR ideas and imagination that will make your stories unique – and find your voice in your writing. However, we also know there are clear frameworks and techniques that will make you a better writer. AWC’s methodology will equip you with the right tools and skills you need, but also show you how to harness the creative process and tap into your own innate talents.

I am writing more, and within a week of finishing the course, I was able to have a fresh look at one of my manuscripts, re-edit the work, and finally take the plunge and submit it to publishers.

- Jacy Kattan

Q: What's the difference between the online course and the classroom course? Which one is better?

A: Great questions! Both our “online” and “in-person classroom” courses cover the same material. So regardless of which one you choose, you’ll be receiving the same quality resources. Naturally, each of our talented presenters brings their own unique experience and flavour to the lesson material, but the core lessons feature the same quality content. It all comes down to personal preference and what fits best into your schedule.

Q: How does the online course work?

A: You’ll get access to our online classroom. You and your classmates (yes, you have classmates!) receive weekly course modules in the form of audio MP3s or videos. You can learn at your computer, in the car or even while you’re at the gym. You’ll also get handouts and resources. And if you complete your (optional) weekly assignment you’ll get personal feedback from you tutor. You can also ask your tutor any questions.

Enjoy exclusive access to our AWC Graduates’ Club

Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? The Graduates’ Club of course! Now, calm down – there’s no cigars, leather armchairs or loud ticking grandfather clocks here. But it IS exclusive invitation only (on completion of a course) and it’s free!  Meet other writers online and share successes, seek help or just get something off your chest. Many students believe this ‘legacy learning’ is one of the most valuable things about our AWC community, and who are we to argue? So if you want to receive feedback, support and a heads-up on opportunities … join the Club!


We’ll bring the world-class course content, industry-savvy presenters and a diverse community of like-minded people.
You just bring yourself.