Writing Young Adult Fiction

Create gripping, enthralling stories for teenagers

You will:
Learn the key elements of a young adult (YA) novel
Comprehend why writing for teenagers different
Develop skills in character development and point of view
Understand structure, including structure for a series
Receive feedback on your writing
Get up-to-date with the current state of YA publishing

WYA feature image website

Writing Young Adult Fiction

Create gripping, enthralling stories for teenagers

You will:
Learn the key elements of a young adult (YA) novel
Comprehend why writing for teenagers different
Develop skills in character development and point of view
Understand structure, including structure for a series
Receive feedback on your writing
Get up-to-date with the current state of YA publishing

Writing Young Adult Fiction

Create gripping, enthralling stories for teenagers

You will:
Learn the key elements of a young adult (YA) novel
Comprehend why writing for teenagers different
Develop skills in character development and point of view
Understand structure, including structure for a series
Receive feedback on your writing
Get up-to-date with the current state of YA publishing

Enrolments open Duration With
Course details:
Online live with tutor Learn in real-time using Zoom.
Enrolments open:
Soon
Duration:
5 weeks
6.30–8.30pm AEST
With:
Pamela Freeman
$450

Register your interest below to hear about new course dates as soon as they are available!

The popularity of books for the young adult market has exploded in the last decade, becoming one of the most successful areas of the industry. But what is it exactly – and who is it aimed at? What special skills or knowledge do you need to write successfully for this very sophisticated readership?

This course is designed for writers who intend to write fiction for this age group: it will help you improve your skills and gain a deeper understanding of this exciting area of publishing.

Here’s what you’ll learn

You will finish the course able to:

  • Understand exactly what a YA novel is and does – and what the ‘rules’ are in YA fiction
  • Develop great characters readers will identify with
  • Create an engaging voice for your main characters
  • Craft a cast of lively, believable characters who will enrich your story
  • Incorporate the key elements of a strong structure and a storytelling mode which works for this audience
  • Improve your writing through the feedback on your assignments, guiding towards writing a book which YA readers will obsess over.

Writing Young Adult Fiction will help you to turn your YA novel into a gripping, enthralling, emotional story that will grab its readers and never let them go.  You’ll finish the course more confident and far better equipped to succeed in this exciting but challenging area of publishing.

Lessons Include

Module 1: What is YA?

What’s the difference between a book for older readers and a book for young adults? What IS a young adult, anyway? We answer this in two ways: by looking at how YA publishing works, and discussing the themes and defining features of current YA writing. We will also answer some FAQs: Can you swear? Can you write sex scenes? Can you write LGBTQIA+ stories? How much violence is okay?  Who gets to decide all this?

Module 2: The YA character

How do you create a cast of authentic young adult characters – especially if it’s a long time since you were a teenager? This module helps students create believable characters whom readers will identify with and enjoy reading about. You’ll learn how to develop characters’ backstories so that readers will find them believable – and also how to present characters who are similar in age, gender and background so that each of them is vividly different. 

Module 3: Finding your voice  

Now you know your characters, we can look at point of view and getting the young adult ‘voice’ right. This is the most crucial part of writing for young adults – they have to believe that the person the story is told through is their age or not very much older. In this module we look at the elements of voice: not just point of view, but word choice, rhythm, syntax and attitude.

Module 4: Structure and storytelling

Once you have your characters and their relationships, you need to take them somewhere – to tell a story. YA stories have specific elements and story questions. We look at how these can be shaped to create great stories that readers will obsess over. 

Module 5: Creating a great cast of characters

Most YA novels also contain adult characters, and often have younger children as well. This module looks at the depiction of adult characters/authority figures, and how child characters can deepen and define the depiction of your main characters.

How does the online course work?

When you enrol:
  • You’ll receive login details to access your online course
  • Your course contains five weekly modules, each with audio lessons and handouts
  • Each week, you can submit a small assignment and receive feedback from your tutor
  • There are no set class times – complete each module when it suits you during the week
  • We suggest allowing 3-4 hours per week to complete each module and assignment
  • You can post questions and comments in the classroom and get to know your classmates
  • You’ll be able to enjoy access to the course for a full year – plenty of time to revisit your lessons and refresh your knowledge whenever you need.

Learn Online Live with Pamela Freeman

In this course, you will spend five evenings with author Pamela Freeman – an incredible opportunity to learn from an award-winning novelist.

With our Online Live courses, you participate online from the comfort of your own home in a live Zoom video classroom. Pamela and your classmates are right there with you in real time as you learn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I do this course or Creative Writing Stage 1? 

A: If you know for certain that you will be writing a YA novel, this is the course for you. If you’re just generally thinking about writing but you’re not sure what, Creative Writing Stage 1 is better for you.

Q: I know that I want to write for teenagers but I’m not exactly sure of the age of my reader. Will this course be relevant to me?

A: Absolutely! YA covers a surprisingly wide age range, from just-turned-teenager to almost-adult. This course addresses the needs of the whole readership. We’ll help you decide on the best age of your readers, depending on your story’s theme.

Q: I'm a complete beginner. Will this course suit me or do I have to learn how to write for younger age groups first?

A: This course assumes no knowledge or experience, so it’s great for complete beginners. You certainly don’t have to learn to write for younger kids first, if you intend to write YA novels. However, if you think you will be writing for younger kids later on, keep in mind that we have specific courses, such as Writing Chapter Books, or Writing Children’s Novels, which you can do later.

If you’re not sure what age group you will be writing for (except that they’re not adults), we suggest Writing Children’s Novels as a starting point, since that covers all the basic skills you will need.

Q. I don’t have a story yet. Do I have to have a story started in order to do the course?

A: No, not at all. All the assignments are designed so that you don’t need an existing story.  Although a lot of our students come out of the course with a story idea!

Q: I want to write YA fantasy stories. Should I do this or start off with Fantasy, Science Fiction and More?

A: Oh, this is a hard one! It depends on how advanced your story is. If you know the story you want to write, and have done some preliminary world-building, Fantasy, Science Fiction and More is probably where to start. However, if you’re just thinking about the idea of writing but you haven’t developed strong ideas about the world and what’s going to happen, Writing Young Adult Fiction is best.

But honestly, it doesn’t much matter which order you do them in – it works well either way.

Q. Is there any homework/assignments/activities/exercises?

A: Yes! Each module, you’ll be given a short assignment to complete and upload, and you’ll get feedback on that from your tutor and the other students. There will also be extra exercises for you to do if you wish, but you won’t get feedback on them.

You do the assignment in your own time, and upload it by a specific date – so you have up to a week to do the work. Of course, sometimes you’ll be able to share writing you’ve already done.

Sharing your writing is the very best way of improving – all our amazing, best-selling, award-winning tutors workshop their writing before they send it to a publisher.

Q. How many modules are there?

A: There are five modules, one per week. Each module looks at a specific element of writing for YA readers, such as point of view, or structure.

Q. I want to write a bestselling dystopian science fiction novel and get it adapted for film. Will this course help me do that?

A: No one knows why any one book becomes a bestseller – not even publishers! So we can’t guarantee a bestseller, nor that your book will be adapted for film. But your tutor can definitely guide you to resources and approaches which will help you create a dystopia.

And the course overall will help you improve your skills so you can write a good book that has an improved chance of being published.

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 are 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!

Register your interest below to hear about new course dates as soon as they are available!

Enrolments open Duration With
Course details:
Online live with tutor Learn in real-time using Zoom.
Enrolments open:
Soon
Duration:
5 weeks
6.30–8.30pm AEST
With:
Pamela Freeman
$450

About us

The Australian Writers’ Centre offers courses in creative writing, copywriting, freelance writing, business writing 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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Please note: 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 every fortnight or so. Read our full privacy policy.