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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
Starting July 15, 2020

Offered in Partnership with your Preferred School

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Learning Method

Instructor-led

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Starting July 15 | August 12

Writing for Children

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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Through the Eyes of a Child: Exploring the World of Children's Literature

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.

Read to Me, Mommy: The Integration of Artwork and the Printed Word

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.

I Can Do It: The Beginning Reader

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!

Growing Up: The Next Level

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.

Beyond Biographies: The World of Nonfiction Writing and Research

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!

Story Patterns: The Easy Way to Create a Great Story

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.

Dramatic Elements: Structuring Children's Literature

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.

With Fresh Eyes: Editing the Manuscript

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 Search of a Publisher: Market Research

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.

Dear Editor: Submitting Your Work

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!

From Passion to Profit: The Business of Publishing

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.

A Lifelong Adventure: Growing Your Writing

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!

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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

Requirements

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

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

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 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 (not included in enrollment).
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Materials

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.

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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