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writing-childrens-books

Writing for Children

Discover what you need to know to write for children. If you are a beginning writer, this course will help you transform your book idea into a finished product. If you are an already successful writer, this course will help you explore new opportunities and markets for your work. 

You will explore the changing world of children’s literature and understand the various formats, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade or young adult novels. You will get insights from publishing professionals to gain a better understanding of the needs of today’s market. You will receive valuable tips about creating your manuscript, and even practice writing a query letter to submit to a publisher. By the time you finish this course, you will have all the tools and resources you will need to begin navigation the world of children’s publishing and to continue growing as a writer for children.

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Learning Method

Instructor-led

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Starting December 12 | January 16

Writing for Children

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Details + Objectives

Course Code: wfc

What You Will Learn
  • Learn about the changing world of children’s literature
  • Become familiar with different types of children’s books
  • Discover resources to help you with age-appropriate words and book lengths
  • Grow in the knowledge of middle-grade and young adult literature and the potential markets for each
  • Learn about nonfiction books and explore innovative research methods to keep your facts straight
  • Learn to choose the right story pattern for your book and use suspense and mystery
  • Polish your manuscript with tips and techniques
  • Learn the industry-accepted methods for approaching and editor and selling your work
How the course is taught
  • Instructor-led course
  • 6 weeks in duration
  • Courses begin each month
  • 2 lessons released each week
  • 24 course hours
How you will benefit
  • Become familiar with the different types of children’s literature and gain insight on the market to help you create books children will love
  • Gain support from organizations and online communities that offer support to writers
  • You will able to embark on your journey into the world of children’s publishing

Outline

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Week 1

In this lesson you will explore ways to learn about the audience and the different types of children’s literature. Then you will focus on children’s picture books. You will dissect a few samplings on the shelves—board books, cloth books, picture books, and picture storybooks.

Week 2

In this lesson you will look at books for beginning readers and discover resources available to writers. You will look at emergent readers and first chapter books. You will also examine the impact of Harry Potter on children’s book writing as a whole.  You will learn about the market and gain tips to help you create books children will love. Then you will explore the world of literature designed for the middle-grade and high school readers. You will look at reasons why these books are demanding a larger amount of shelf space in libraries and bookstores. 

Week 3

This lesson will look at nonfiction books. You will discover how you can improve your writing by uncovering facts through primary and secondary sources. You will also look at the myriad of different kinds of children’s nonfiction. Then you will learn the difference between story and plot. Once you understand story patterns, your children’s stories will almost write themselves.

Week 4

This lesson will show you how to make four dramatic elements work for your story. You will learn the importance of research and be provided with some important resources. You will also learn techniques on how to craft your critical first page and tips to keep the pages turning. Then you will discover how to read like an editor and improve your publishing opportunities. You will look at the difference between proofreaders, copy editors, and critique groups.

Week 5

In this lesson you will explore the needs of publishing houses. You will discover how to improve your chances of publication through market research and uncover the resources other writers use to target publishers. Then you will learn how to submit your manuscript like a pro. You will explore query and cover letters and see how to grab an editor’s attention. You will also learn the correct way to format your manuscript.

Week 6

In this final lesson you will explore the business side of children’s publishing. You will learn how to get your books off of bookshelves and into the hands of your readers. Finally you will look at some of the ways you can continue to grow yourself as a writer.  You will discover organizations and online communities that offer support to writers. 

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Instructors & Support

Steve Alcorn

Steve Alcorn is the published author of a wide range of fiction and nonfiction works. During the past decade he has helped more than 30,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, and many of his students have published novels they developed in his classes. His novels include the mystery A Matter of Justice, the historical novel Everything in Its Path, and the picture storybook Molly Builds a Theme Park. He is the author of the non-fiction books How to Fix Your Novel, Theme Park Design, and Write Your Life Story. When he isn't writing and teaching, Steve is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company.

Requirements

Prerequisites / Requirements

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements: 

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Microsoft Word or other word processing software.
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
Instructional Materials

You'll need access to a library or bookstore that stocks children's books.

Other instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

FAQs

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When can I get started?

A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.

How does it work?

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

How long do I have to complete each lesson?

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

What if I need an extension?

The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

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