How to Write for Children and Young Adults

How to Write for Children and Young Adults

Your step-by-step guide to becoming a children's author

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write fiction for readers aged 8 to 18

You will:
Learn what stories appeal to children and publishers
Create believable characters and dialogue
Find the right voice to suit your reader
Receive feedback on your writing
Explore the YA market and all publishing options

“This was a thoroughly accessible, non-intimidating way to begin thinking seriously about the process of writing books for young children”
– Katherine Norbury

Where

Starts

Duration

Presenter

Price

Online
Starts Monday 14 October 2019 , Any time during the week
Bookings close soon
5 weeks (Allow 3-4 hours per week)
$450
Book Now
SYDNEY (Milsons Point)
To be announced
2 consecutive days
$450

Where

Starts

Duration

Presenter

Price

Online classroom
Starts Monday 14 October 2019 , Any time during the week
Bookings close soon
5 weeks (Allow 3-4 hours per week)
$450
Book Now
OCW1icons

Enjoy the benefits of your online classroom

  • This course gives you access to your own online classroom, where you’ll be able to connect with other classmates and share your stories with each other in a supportive environment – with people who share your passion!
  • Your class also has its own online tutor – on hand and online for any questions you may have and to provide personal feedback on your work. Our tutors are experienced experts with years of knowledge to draw on. They’re your secret weapon!
  • Each Monday we’ll release a new learning module in the form of audio lessons, along with handouts and other resources. You can choose to save the audio and listen to it later on – perhaps during your favourite walk or on the commute in the car. It’s up to you!
  • A fan of 9am starts? Easy. 2pm before the kids get home? Sure. 10pm? 5am? You choose the time and place that best suits you schedule. A practical weekly assignment (assessed by your tutor) will help you stay on track and gauge your progress along the way.
TICKiconAWCblue

How to Write for Children and Young Adults

Five-week online course

In this online course, you’ll discover how to write memorable stories for children and teenagers. 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 – and this course will show you how!

There’s a special craft in writing fiction for young readers. They respond strongly to stories that amuse, challenge or entertain but also never talk down to them. In this course, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of writing for children, what topics are acceptable and gain a blueprint for succeeding in this market!

Each Monday, a module covering a new topic is unlocked. A small weekly assignment is due each Sunday night – with direct feedback from your online tutor – an expert in the world of young fiction.

Lessons include:

  1. All about children’s literature

    In your first week, we will be challenging some assumptions about children and the books written for them. You’ll work through many examples of writing for children including the current trends for each age group and why publishers are making these choices. This process will help you choose the kind of story you want to write. You’ll receive feedback on a point of view exercise.

  2. Finding your voice

    This is a key part of writing for children. We’ve all been a child, but capturing the appropriate voice to suit the age of our reader is not always as easy as it seems. To do this, we build on the idea of point of view of your characters, including making them as believable as possible – complete with back stories, appearance and motivations that drive their decisions. You’ll receive feedback on a character dialogue assignment.

  3. Beginnings

    Having established characters and points of view, we have all the kindling – we just need to figure out how to get the story fire roaring. We’ll explore contemporary examples to see how they launch their characters into the story and why the decisions you make here are crucial in capturing your reader’s attention. You’ll receive feedback on writing the beginning of your own story.

  4. Structure

    Once the story is up and running, it’s all about three things – character, plot and pace. In this week’s module, you’ll look at how to manipulate each of these elements to create desired narrative tension that will keep your young reader engrossed (under the covers, with a torch). Along the way, you’ll look at the three-act structure and controlling pace, as well as why the number of scenes is so important. You’ll also receive feedback on writing the climax to your story.

  5. Writing for Young Adults

    Previous weeks lessons were universal to all children’s fiction, however this final module takes a look specifically at the Young Adult (YA) segment – as most children’s authors will write YA at some point. You will explore what YA publishers are looking for and how to handle topics like sex, romance, violence and more. Even if you don’t plan to ever write for teens, you’ll learn a lot from understanding this age of readers – with feedback given on writing in a teenage voice.

There is no prior reading required for this online course. However, we recommend visiting a local bookstore or library (or your child’s bookshelf!) to get acquainted with the current selection of books on offer for children and teenagers.

Enter your details and we'll email you the course outline right away

Privacy Policy: We'll never sell or distribute your personal details. Any details collected will only be used by the Australian Writers' Centre to notify you of relevant course information.

Catherine Pelosi completed How to Write for Children and Young Adults

“During the course, there were also many opportunities to write and share our work. To me, this was the most useful aspect of the course. Receiving feedback from peers and the presenter was incredibly helpful in figuring out what I was doing well and what areas I needed to work on. If it wasn’t for the Australian Writers’ Centre I don’t think I would be as far into my writing career as I am. It really gave me a great boost of confidence right at the start when I needed it most.”

– Catherine Pelosi, published children’s author

Tamsin Janu
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre, author of "Figgy and the President" and "Figgy in the World"

Tania Blanchard
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre, author of "The Girl from Munich"

Magic & Mayhem
The free ebook and podcast series for children's authors


SEE MORE SUCCESS STORIES

“Is this course for me?”

How to Write for Children and Young Adults has been designed as an introduction to writing middle grade and/or YA fiction – appealing to a range of aspiring writers. People like these:

This course covers writing middle grade stories in the vein of Nevermore, Wonder or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, as well as YA bestsellers like the Harry Potter series, The Fault in Our Stars, Throne of Glass or The Hunger Games.

NOTE: We also offer courses in Writing Picture Books and Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 Year Olds.

Ongoing story and publishing support

How to Write for Children and Young Adults provides you with all the foundation skills you need to start creating middle grade (8-12 years) or YA (13-18+ years) fiction. Once you have these skills under your belt, our Novel Writing Essentials course helps you get YOUR story off to the best start through workshopping and theory. Finally, your manuscript is in safe hands with our motivational six-month Write Your Novel program – Australia’s best!

By the end of this online course you will have:

KNOWLEDGE: You’ll understand not just what young readers want, but how to present it to them in the best way.
CONFIDENCE: You’ll gain the skills to begin properly structuring stories immediately.
INSPIRATION: Even if you didn’t have ideas before, after five weeks you’ll have a notebook of story starters to take you to the next level!
MOTIVATION: This course will have you fired up to start writing the next big thing for little readers – and our pathway can help you get there...

Graduates have gone on to score book deals and be a part of the HUGE children’s and YA fiction market.

But don’t just take our word for it…

“I did take a lot away from the course. There were various ideas and tips which were lightbulb moments which were quite powerful. The written material was excellent. Listening to the audio while reading the handouts is really useful and provides a 'double dipping' way of reinforcing the useful information.”

– Amanda Snowden

“It was relevant content, delivered in a professional and passionate way. The course provided me with practical tools that I can start using immediately in my writing and the online classroom, peers, and tutor inspired me to keep going.”

– Meran Robinson

“I enjoyed being able to do the course in my own time. I got a lot out of sharing my work and reading the work of my classmates. The online tutor was excellent! Very informative.”

– Elizabeth Pigott

“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

Become a children’s author!

  • Duelling wizards, angst-ridden vampires, or high school dramas?
  • The characters may change, but the fundamentals to writing great children’s fiction never go out of fashion.
  • Unlock your imagination and inspire a new generation of young readers!

Enrol in this online course today...

Where

Starts

Duration

Presenter

Price

SYDNEY (Milsons Point)
To be announced
2 consecutive days
$450
TICKiconAWCblue

How to Write for Children and Young Adults

2-day weekend workshop

In this weekend workshop, you’ll discover how to write memorable stories for children and teenagers. 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 – and this course will show you how!

There’s a special craft in writing fiction for young readers. They respond strongly to stories that amuse, challenge or entertain but also never talk down to them. In this course, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of writing for children, what topics are acceptable and gain a blueprint for succeeding in this market!

Across both days, you will work through lessons that cover the key topics for children’s and YA fiction and have the opportunity to ask your presenter any questions – they’re an expert in this area.

DAY 1

  1. All about children’s literature

    We kick off the weekend by challenging some assumptions about children and the books written for them. You’ll work through examples including the current trends for each age group and why publishers are making these choices. This process will help you choose the kind of story you want to write. Before breaking for lunch, you’ll complete a writing exercise to cement your learning so far.

  2. Finding your voice

    This is a key part of writing for children. We’ve all been a child, but capturing the appropriate voice to suit the age of our reader is not always as easy as it seems. To do this, you’ll focus on characters’ point of view, and how to make them as believable as possible – including their back stories, appearance and motivations. A dialogue exercise will help you reveal your character’s personality.

  3. Beginnings

    Rounding out day 1, you’ll take the ingredients so far and explore the best way to get your story started. As a class, you’ll explore contemporary examples to see how they launch their characters into the action and why the decisions you make here are crucial in capturing your reader’s attention.

OVERNIGHT

  1. We suggest setting some time aside on Saturday evening to complete a small assignment, to cement what you learnt in the final part of day 1.

DAY 2

  1. Structure

    You’ll begin the Sunday by exploring three things – character, plot and pace – and how to manipulate each of these elements to create desired narrative tension that will keep your young reader engrossed (under the covers, with a torch). Along the way, you’ll look at the three-act structure and controlling pace, and why the number of scenes is so important. It’s all about satisfying your reader. You’ll complete an exercise on writing a climax for your story.

  2. Writing for Young Adults

    Everything in the weekend so far has related to all children’s/young adult (YA) fiction, but in the final afternoon, you’ll take a look specifically at the YA market and its quirks. As a class, you’ll explore what trends YA publishers are looking for and how to handle topics like sex, romance, violence and more. Even if you don’t plan to ever write for teens, you’ll learn a lot from understanding this age of readers – and their unique narrative voice.

There is no prior reading required for this course. However, we recommend visiting a local bookstore or library (or your child’s bookshelf!) to get acquainted with the current selection of books on offer for children and teenagers.

Enter your details and we'll email you the course outline right away

Privacy Policy: We'll never sell or distribute your personal details. Any details collected will only be used by the Australian Writers' Centre to notify you of relevant course information.

Tamsin Janu completed How to Write for Children and Young Adults

“On the second day of the course I remember that’s when I came up with the idea for my first book! The course gave me a good insight into the publishing industry and what children’s book publishers were looking for – but it was also a very practical learning experience. Basic craft things like how to write good dialogue, how to create a likeable character, things like writing voice that I’d not really known that much about.”

– Tamsin Janu, published children’s author

Catherine Pelosi
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre, freelance writer, author of "Quark's Academy"

Tania Blanchard
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre, author of "The Girl from Munich"

Magic & Mayhem
The free ebook and podcast series for children's authors


SEE MORE SUCCESS STORIES

“Is this course for me?”

How to Write for Children and Young Adults has been designed as an introduction to writing middle grade and/or YA fiction – appealing to a range of aspiring writers. People like these:

This course covers writing middle grade stories in the vein of Nevermore, Wonder or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, as well as YA bestsellers like the Harry Potter series, The Fault in Our Stars, Throne of Glass or The Hunger Games.

NOTE: We also offer courses in Writing Picture Books and Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 Year Olds.

Ongoing story and publishing support

How to Write for Children and Young Adults provides you with all the foundation skills you need to start creating middle grade (8-12 years) or YA (13-18+ years) fiction. Once you have these skills under your belt, our Novel Writing Essentials course helps you get YOUR story off to the best start through workshopping and theory. Finally, your manuscript is in safe hands with our motivational six-month Write Your Novel program – Australia’s best!

By the end of this weekend workshop you’ll have:

KNOWLEDGE: You’ll understand not just what young readers want, but how to present it to them in the best way.
CONFIDENCE: You’ll gain the skills to begin properly structuring stories immediately.
INSPIRATION: Even if you didn’t have ideas before the weekend started, you’ll come away with plenty of story starters to take to the next level!
MOTIVATION: This course will have you fired up to start writing the next big thing for little readers – and our pathway can help you get there...

Graduates have gone on to score book deals and be a part of the HUGE children’s and YA fiction market.

But don’t just take our word for it…

“This is the first course I have ever done on writing so it was all worthwhile. I now understand some of the pitfalls of writing and some aspects of writing that were previously intuitive.”

– Annette Moran

“It was a great experience all round and extremely helpful. The class has given me an excellent sense of direction, it's fantastic.”

– Liam O’Leary

“I enjoyed sharing ideas with others. The presenter was fabulous. She really created a safe space for all and encouraged everyone wholeheartedly. The way she had us think about voice really opened up ideas for me.”

– Emma Steeper

“I liked being able to chat to people in the same boat as me – hearing everyone's ideas and being forced to confront my writing fears. The presenter was fantastic – so supportive of everyone and extremely knowledgeable. I feel much more confident and inspired, and was able to pinpoint areas that had been giving me difficulty.”

– Katya Dibb

Become a children’s author!

  • Duelling wizards, angst-ridden vampires, or high school dramas?
  • The characters may change, but the fundamentals to writing great children’s fiction never go out of fashion.
  • Unlock your imagination and inspire a new generation of young readers!

Places in our weekend workshops are limited – enrol today!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

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

LET'S DO THIS – SHOW ME THE DATES!