Writing for Children

Create stories that touch the hearts of children with the help of a published children's author. This course provides you with an essential overview of planning, researching, writing, and marketing children's books that engage audiences and sell to publishers.
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6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
Starting  August 18, 2021
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

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Learning method

Course code: wfc

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.

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 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

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led online course
  • 6 Weeks access
  • 24 course hours

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. Even if you prefer fiction, this lesson still has much to offer you. Both fiction and nonfiction are rooted in accurate facts, so you'll spend a good deal of time on improving your research techniques. 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 CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company that creates products used in all the world's theme parks. He is a proponent of advance planning and has experience with wills, living trusts, advance directives, and power of attorney. His experience also includes arranging for in-home care, nursing home selection, retirement community evaluation, memory care facility selection, and the analysis of Medicare and other insurance paperwork. He is a counselor to his employees, possessing insight into the varieties of relationships, problems, opportunities, and legal issues that can arise in the field of eldercare.

Steve 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, with many of his students publishing novels they developed in his classes. His books include A Matter of Justice, Everything In Its Path, Molly Builds a Theme Park, How to Fix Your Novel, Theme Park Design, and Write Your Life Story.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

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

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • 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.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

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 begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 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.