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."
Course Code: wfc
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.