Writing Picture Books Weekend Workshop

Learn to create memorable stories across two days in Sydney

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write a picture book that publishers and kids adore

You will:
Learn about the picture book industry
Create characters children will love
Use language and rhythm to tell your story
Receive direct feedback on your own writing
Get guidance on publishing and illustrations

“Cathie was very generous with sharing her experiences with publishing and giving insights as to how to improve our stories. The other attendees were engaging, supportive and very respectful. It was a joy to attend the course.”
– Francesca Glozier, Writing Picture Books graduate

See more reviews
WPB

Writing Picture Books Weekend Workshop

Learn to create memorable stories across two days in Sydney

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write a picture book that publishers and kids adore

You will:
Learn about the picture book industry
Create characters children will love
Use language and rhythm to tell your story
Receive direct feedback on your own writing
Get guidance on publishing and illustrations

“Cathie was very generous with sharing her experiences with publishing and giving insights as to how to improve our stories. The other attendees were engaging, supportive and very respectful. It was a joy to attend the course.”
– Francesca Glozier, Writing Picture Books graduate

See more reviews

Writing Picture Books Weekend Workshop

Learn to create memorable stories across two days in Sydney

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write a picture book that publishers and kids adore

You will:
Learn about the picture book industry
Create characters children will love
Use language and rhythm to tell your story
Receive direct feedback on your own writing
Get guidance on publishing and illustrations

“Cathie was very generous with sharing her experiences with publishing and giving insights as to how to improve our stories. The other attendees were engaging, supportive and very respectful. It was a joy to attend the course.”
– Francesca Glozier, Writing Picture Books graduate

See more reviews
Where Starts Duration Presenter Price
SYDNEY (Milsons Point) 55 Lavender Street, Milsons Point
Opens:
Saturday 14 August 2021
10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Presenter:
Cathie Tasker
$450

Writing Picture Books

2-day weekend workshop – an overview

In this exciting and inspiring weekend, you’ll discover what you need to do to turn your story idea into a real picture book that kids – and their parents – will love to read. (Don't worry if you don't yet have a story idea – you'll receive plenty of inspiration across the two days!)

What is it that makes popular picture books so magical? How do you really know what appeals to children? Writing a picture book that publishers want is an art. But there are clear guidelines you can follow.

Across both days, you will work through lessons that cover the fundamentals of writing picture books and will have the opportunity to ask your presenter any questions along the way.

Day 1

The big picture (book)

What is a children’s picture book? To begin the weekend, you’ll explore examples of children’s picture books and how the text and illustrations should work together. As a class, you’ll discover the topics, themes and emotions that drive these stories.

Structure, pace, action and more

You will look at page count – in particular the constraints and joys of writing for the 32-page format common to picture books. You’ll discover how to write a “3-act structure”, and understand turning points, climaxes and resolutions. You’ll also learn about planning techniques, point of view and “show, don’t tell” and how to create clear main characters.

Technique, self-editing and trouble-shooting

Rounding out day 1, you’ll learn some key author secrets that will elevate your story – including ‘the rule of three’. As a class, you’ll look at various picture book formats and go through the suggested writing process and tips on editing your own work.

OVERNIGHT

We suggest setting aside some time Saturday evening to complete a small assignment, to cement what you’ve learnt on day 1.

Day 2

Language, word choice and rhythm

Now it’s time to look at poetic text to make your prose sparkle. You’ll also learn about some common traps for new picture book authors and discuss how to polish and edit your writing. Plus discover how different voices and reading patterns can change the rhythm and meaning of your work, as well as how to use onomatopoeia, repetitive texts, page breaks and ‘invisible punctuation’. As a class, you will look at the work of some of the greats: Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd.

The publishing process

In this final part of the weekend, you’ll learn “what makes a great picture book?” – how to submit your manuscript to a publisher, what to expect when working with an editor, and some legal and financial aspects. You’ll gain some great ways to research the industry and discover new trends. Finally, you’ll bring together all of the skills you’ve learnt and apply them to your own story, including editing and marketing blurbs, and leave with plenty of resources to continue your learning.

Learn at our Lavender Bay training centre

Our Sydney training centre allows you to learn directly from inspiring world-class presenters in a spacious and comfortable learning space.

We’re a short walk from Milsons Point station with beautiful views across Sydney Harbour.

Address:

Suite 3 (Ground floor),
55 Lavender Street
MILSONS POINT NSW 2061

Learn at our Lavender Bay training centre

Shelly Unwin completed Writing Picture Books

“If it wasn’t for this course I would most likely have started submitting and wondering why nothing was sticking. We learnt so much about the conventions of structuring a story, and identified the patterns in successful stories. We looked at pace, rhythm and cadence, voice and characterisation. It was all tremendously valuable. It was a really great course, I learnt what I didn’t know, and there’s so much that you don’t know about writing picture books, it’s such a craft. From reading a picture book it looks so simple, it’s only when you start to explore what’s involved that you learn how much there is to it. Go NOW and sign up!”

– Shelly Unwin, published picture book author

Penny Morrison
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre

Victoria Mackinlay
Graduate of Australian Writers' Centre, author of Ribbit Rabbit Robot

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

"Is this course for me?"

Writing Picture Books does not require any artistic skills (although if you have them, good for you!). It is a course in storytelling for anyone keen to explore this magical genre. People like these:

Ongoing story and publishing support

Writing Picture Books provides you with all the foundation skills you need to start creating fantastic picture book stories. And when you feel your story is ready to take to the next level, our Writing Picture Book Masterclass will cast an expert eye over your work. It’s the polish and publication advice all good stories need!

Meet your presenter

Cathie Tasker is a fiction editor with over 25 years’ experience. She has mentored many manuscripts to publication and guided and motivated many writers to develop their work.

Cathie works as a tutor for the Australian Writers’ Centre and in freelance editing and project management, notably for Magabala Books. She has worked as an editor and publisher with HarperCollins, Scholastic Australia and Koala Books. She also worked as Marketing Manager for Koala Books and as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Australia. In her career, Cathie has edited and commissioned about 800 books, many of which went on to become bestsellers and win awards.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: I'm a complete beginner. Is this course right for me?
A: You’ve come to EXACTLY the right place! Most students have simply read a lot of picture books (to themselves or to their kids) and that’s all the experience that is required.

Q: What do you mean exactly when you say “picture books”?
A: This course is all about how to write illustrated books for children under five. They're typically 500 words or fewer.

Q: Do I need to have a story idea?
A: Not at all. This course will teach the techniques to writing great stories, but you don’t need one at the start. Although it's quite common to have stacks of story ideas by the end!

Q: Do I need to have illustration skills?
A: Absolutely not. This is all about being an amazing author – publishers will normally match stories to an illustrator so it’s not something you need to worry about. (Of course if you ARE a good illustrator, this course will give you both skills!)

Q: How many others will be in the class – and are they all experienced writers?
A: The weekend workshop is a supportive learning environment and we purposefully keep classes small to make everyone more comfortable (no more than approx 16 per class). Everyone is there to learn and no experience is necessary, so you don't need to worry about being out of your depth.

Q: Do you have courses that focus on writing books for older children?
A: We sure do. Our Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds course is great if you'd like to write a book series for young readers, and our How to Write for Children and Young Adults covers everything from middle grade (8-12) through to teen YA novels. Complete all three and become the ultimate triple-threat children’s author!

Q: What happens if the Weekend Workshop can’t go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions?
A: We’re looking forward to bringing the Weekend Workshop to you in a safe and healthy classroom environment. But if COVID-19 government restrictions prevent the course from being run in-person, then we will deliver your course as online LIVE sessions via Zoom. You can enjoy the same comprehensive course materials and live interaction with your presenter and classmates, all from the comfort of home.

By the end of this course you will have:

KNOWLEDGE:There’s a surprising amount to learn about the mechanics of putting a picture book together.
CONFIDENCE:Having the skills to create your own stories and knowing the formula is a fantastic thing!
INSPIRATION:Even if you didn’t have ideas before, the course will help unleash your creativity.
MOTIVATION:The positive support and forward momentum this course offers, along with a continuing creative community, will drive you to write your own picture book!
Graduates have gone on to score book deals and work with illustrators on their own picture books. It’s an exciting marketplace to be a part of!

But don’t just take our word for it…

“Cathie was very knowledgeable and her feedback to individuals was helpful for all students. I enjoyed hearing so many different perspectives – great group discussions. Do it! Start on your dream, discover potential, find your style.”

– Gail Murray
(completed in Sydney)

“I loved the classroom atmosphere and getting to hear and talk with other budding writers. A great course for beginners who don't know what they don't know!”

– Sally Graham
(completed in Sydney)

“The AWC is THE PLACE to learn about children's picture books. The face to face experience was amazing. I wish I had completed this course years ago. Cathie has a wealth of knowledge and I was interested and engaged from start to finish.”

– Mistie Dal Molin
(completed in Sydney)

“Cathie was a great presenter. Very knowledgeable in her field of work and was supportive and insightful. Excellent location and amenities. I loved the close intimate class.”

– Amanda Uppal
(completed in Sydney)

Picture an exciting future!

  • Imagine being able to capture the imagination of children.
  • Imagine their wide-eyed wonder as they read their favourite stories.
  • Imagine … writing those stories yourself!

Enrol in this weekend workshop today and unlock a new world of picture book storytelling … you won’t regret it!

Where Starts Duration Presenter Price
SYDNEY (Milsons Point) 55 Lavender Street, Milsons Point
Opens:
Saturday 14 August 2021
10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Presenter:
Cathie Tasker
$450

About us

The Australian Writers’ Centre offers courses in creative writing, freelance writing, business writing, blogging and much more. Our practical and industry-proven courses will help you gain confidence and meet your goals faster!

Contact us

Phone: (02) 9929 0088 Email: [email protected] Head office: Suite 3,
55 Lavender Street, Milsons Point NSW 2061

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