Course Code: wfc
Are you a beginning writer with a story to tell or a published writer who wishes to build on your successes? Do you dream of creating books that children will love? In the first lesson, you'll explore ways to learn about the audience and the different types of children's literature. The lesson will also talk about the many awards given to honor this genre.
This lesson will focus specifically on children's picture books. It will start out by defining the broader category of picture books and then dissect a few samplings on the shelves—board books, cloth books, picture books, and picture storybooks.
In this lesson, you'll explore books for beginning readers and discover the resources available to writers. You'll dive into emergent readers and first chapter books and examine the impact of Harry Potter on children's book writing as a whole. You'll learn about the market and gain tips to help you create books children will love to read!
In this lesson, you'll explore the world of literature designed for the middle-grade and high school readers. You'll uncover the reasons why these books are demanding a larger amount of shelf space in libraries and bookstores. Young adult fiction is one of the hottest categories in publishing today, and this lesson will show you why.
In this lesson, you'll embark on a nonfiction book tour. Now, if your writing love is fiction, this lesson still has much to offer you. Like nonfiction, good fiction is rooted in accurate facts, so stellar research techniques are something you'll spend a good deal of time on. You'll discover how you can improve your writing by uncovering facts through primary and secondary sources. You'll also look at the myriad of different kinds of children's nonfiction—and how fascinating it is. The world has come a long way from bland biographies!
Do you know the difference between story and plot? There's a vital distinction that will make your writing easier. Speaking of easy, once you understand story patterns, your children's stories will almost write themselves! You'll also visit a panel of experts who will share tips on getting started.
Four dramatic elements form the structure of almost all children's literature. This lesson shows you how to make those elements work for your story. It will talk about homework—specifically, writer's homework! Research is important to writing well, and the lesson will provide you with some important resources. You'll also learn techniques on how to craft your critical first page, along with tips to keep the pages turning.
Grab your red pens—it's time to edit! In this lesson, you'll explore tools for turning first drafts into contracted manuscripts. You'll discover how to read like an editor and improve your publishing opportunities. You'll also explore the differences between proofreaders, copy editors, and critique groups.
In this lesson, you'll explore the needs of publishing houses. You'll discover how to improve your chances of publication through market research. You'll also uncover the resources that other writers use to target publishers and discover how to recognize the right time to send your manuscript.
In this lesson, you'll learn how to submit your manuscript like a pro. You'll explore query and cover letters and see how to craft them to grab an editor's attention. You'll also learn the correct way to format your manuscript—which will help you keep your submission out of the slush pile and get it onto an editor's desk!
In this lesson, you'll explore the business side of children's publishing. You'll move beyond the writing and submission components and into the world of contracts and promotion. You'll learn how to get your books off of bookshelves and into the hands of your readers.
As you wrap up this course, you'll discover some ways that you can continue to grow yourself as a writer. You'll discover organizations and online communities that offer support to writers. You'll also get some final words of advice from the guest authors as you embark on your journey into the world of children's publishing. Dream big, and happy writing!
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.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
Be prepared to reference and/or purchase children's books via online or instore.
Other instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.
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.
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.
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.
As a person just trying to understand the industry and write her first manuscript, I found the class extremely helpful."
Thank you for a delightful journey through children's writing. I have learned more than I thought possible. I will continue to work on my story and see where it goes."
Thank you very much for your comments and insight! I have so much work to do to get this manuscript ready! What has also helped is reading how you responded to the other students writings. Your advice is spot-on!!! You are a great teacher! Thank you so much for your patience and kindness!"
I feel my writing is stronger, and I have better tools to develop it. I am letting go of my fear that I wouldn't have a quality product to offer. Quality can be attained by effort, by reworking and trying again. No one, no matter how creative, will do everything right the first time. Having learned what you taught us here, I believe now I can focus my efforts in the right direction."
Thank you so much for all of the materials, resources, and information you shared in this class. As many others, I wish I had taken this years ago. I have learned so much that would have helped me with my writing throughout my career. My dream is to write for children. I plan to review and absorb your course thoroughly throughout the next months - then as I apply this I hope you'll come across my name sometime as an author for children. The best to you and thank you for assisting so many hopeful writers."
All the things we read also opened up new lines of thinking. I'm saving the lists of books you recommended since there are so many wonderful examples to learn from. I know that I will continue to learn from you after the class is over. (That's one of my measures of a good teacher. If I can still learn from someone, even when I'm no longer officially still their student, that's good teaching.) Thank you. I'm very glad I took this class. I'm also ready to take your advice and spend more time writing."
I cannot tell you what this class has meant to me. You are more than I could have ever asked for. Thank you for caring about us and guiding us ever-so-gently in a constructive, yet kind, way! So glad and honored to have this opportunity to take this class with you."
Taking this class was a wonderful experience. I learned so much, and I don't know how you managed to read, review, and respond to everyone's postings (with enthusiasm, no less). I would definitely be interested in a sequel to this class. In the meantime, I signed up for a class on writing for magazines. Your encouragement meant a lot."