Writing Young Adult Fiction

Writing Young Adult Fiction

Develop your own young adult novel and discover how you can break into one of today's hottest publishing markets. This course provides you with the recipe for creating your own successful young adult story that will connect with audiences and sell to publishers.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor
  • Reviews


As Harry Potter and Twilight have proven, young adult fiction is one of the hottest genres for today's novels. Teens and adults alike have discovered the excitement and passion of these stories, and publishers are hungry for more. If you're eager to break into this market, this course provides you with the recipe for creating your own successful young adult story and shows you how to get it published.

You will decide what type of story you want to tell, plan your plot, and discover the secrets for bringing your characters to life. In addition, you'll find out how to introduce conflict, suspense, and mystery so you can grab and hold the attention of your audience. Along the way, you will master the art of creating dialogue that resonates with teenagers and young adults. You'll even analyze excerpts from bestselling young adult books to see what makes them so successful. Finally, you'll learn how to find an agent or publisher and how to write a synopsis that sells. If you've dreamed for years of becoming an author, this course can help you turn your dream into a reality. By the end of this course, you'll have all the tools you need to create a polished manuscript and get your story in print!


In the first lesson, you'll explore what makes young adult fiction the most exciting choice for your writing. You'll discover why it's rewarding from both a creative and monetary standpoint, and then you'll have an opportunity to select the genre that works best for your own original story, which you'll develop during this course.

This lesson is filled with "lightbulb moments" that will make you say "Ah-ha!". You'll begin by learning the important difference between story and plot, after which you'll examine the dramatic elements of young adult fiction. Finally, you'll begin planning your own story by choosing the dramatic elements that will propel it to success.

You may already know how to write a character sketch, but do you know the two most important things that drive your characters? This lesson will show you how goals drive your characters and how flaws impede them. You'll then have a chance to choose attributes that create your characters' goals and flaws. To make things easier, you'll use a Comprehensive Character Attribute Form.

What on earth are "story patterns"? This lesson answers that question. By the time you finish it, you'll have a whole cookbook full of great recipes to use in concocting your own original story. Best of all, you'll understand exactly how other best-selling young adult fiction has used those patterns so you can pick the one that works best for you.

You may have heard of the three-act structure, but did you know that nearly all great fiction uses it? That's because it guarantees an effective beginning, middle, and end. In this lesson, you'll look at a refined nine-checkpoint system that makes it incredibly easy to create a well-structured story. After following these simple steps, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it!

This lesson delivers plenty of lightbulb moments. It's all about the ebb and flow of fiction, and how you create that using plot and story. You'll have an opportunity to practice writing scenes for your original story and learn how to use transitions and chapter breaks to achieve maximum impact.

Conflict, suspense, and mystery are what make your story exciting. In this lesson, you'll explore how conflict is much more than a fight—it's the dramatic underpinning of your story. Then you'll learn a simple technique for creating suspense. Finally, you'll discover a few tricks for adding mystery to your young adult story.

Dialogue is very different from conversation. This lesson explains why and helps you develop your dialogue-writing skills. You'll polish your "teenspeak" and learn when to use dialect—and when not to. You'll even discover there are some kinds of dialogue that aren't spoken!

Young adult fiction is almost always written in one of three viewpoints and two tenses. In this lesson, you'll have fun comparing the techniques used in some of the best young adult books and discovering which combinations you like best. You'll then have a chance to try them all in your own original story.

Voice can be a slippery concept, but this lesson makes it easy to hold on to. You'll learn how to give your main character or narrator a distinctive voice and then discover other techniques for imparting deeper meaning and bigger imagery to your own young adult story.

As you've seen so far, there's a lot more to writing your novel or screenplay than just jumping in and writing your long form! In this lesson, you'll learn about the collateral documents that will help you with the planning, writing, and marketing stages—stages that are all equally important. You'll also discover how to write a synopsis that sells your work. Finally, you'll be given an extensive Manuscript Evaluation Checklist to help you make your story perfect.

It's all about getting into print so others can read your work, and this lesson shows you how. You'll learn submission strategies for finding an agent or publishers. The lesson will also discuss what contests can (or can't) do for you. Finally, you'll explore how print-on-demand publishing can turn your young adult fiction into income and might be your perfect choice.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

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

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

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


Steve Alcorn

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.

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


This course was extremely helpful and the instructor is excellent. The course material helps to develop a young adult fiction idea and to turn that idea into a story you would want to write and to be enjoyed by the teens reading your work. This course has made a huge difference in my writing and has sparked a great idea for my work of fiction. It has also been helpful for the other students that have already written a story that needs some fine tuning.

Mr. Alcorn is a professional instructor who really cares about his students and the writing process. I had a completed draft of a YA manuscript when I started this course, and through the lessons, I was able to tighten up the story substantially. The lessons took my writing one step beyond, but more importantly, I feel confident that perhaps someday I will see my book in print.

Taking this course has confirmed my desire to write a novel in this genre. Moreover, it also helped me to reassess the story behind my novel, which was becoming a bit overwhelming. I now have a new plan to tackle it because of this course. I highly recommend it, in addition to any other courses that this instructor teaches.

This is the course for any aspiring young adult author. Mr. Alcorn is a knowledgeable instructor and spot on with his comments. I’ve taken other writing courses before – this is the first with a focus on what matters most to me and my desire to write compelling young adult fiction. I could easily find myself retaking this course in the future as a refresher and to keep my skills sharp. All I can say is thanks for giving me the tools to take my writing to the next level.

I cannot express how much joy this course has brought into my life. The lessons were the perfect length. They had lots of valuable exercises in each of them and they covered the exact content I was looking for. The best part about this course was that the instructor responded to every single comment on the discussion board and very quickly. This course has transformed my novel. Thank you!

I have already recommended this course to others. This was the most helpful course I have ever taken. I truly enjoyed the humor that was conveyed in the lessons by the instructor.

I have been waiting for a young adult writing course to be available online and was really excited to take this course. This class was very informative and the instructor very knowledgeable and helpful. I plan to take other courses from this instructor to better my writing. Thanks!

This course was excellent. The knowledge with which I am walking away with far exceeded my expectations of what I thought I would get out of an online writing course. Every explanation, test and assignment lit up new understanding like a light bulb glowing brighter in my brain. I now realize what I have to do, and how much work it will take, to realize my dream of writing a young adult fiction series and, possibly a coming-of-age novel as well. I would like to thank Mr. Alcorn for imparting his knowledge and experience with us! I hope to be a part of something great, thanks to what I've learned from this course.

I can not express how much joy this course has brought into my life. I woke up early every Wednesday and Friday morning in order to read the lesson. The lessons were the perfect length. They had lots of valuable exercises in each of them. They covered the exact content that I was looking for in this course. The best part about this course was that the instructor responded to every single comment on the discussion board and very quickly. One of the best parts about the class was having the instructor willing to comment on my assignments nearly 24 hours per day; I didn't have to wait to ask him at the next class meeting. Most importantly, however, this course has transformed my novel from a vague emotion to a full outline. I just need to start adding flesh to the skeleton. Thank you!

This course has touched my heart and made me realize that my dreams of becoming a published author are attainable. This course reinforces my desires of writing and of wanting to continue my education in this field. I was unaware of how many things I did not know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking this path to teach and to produce this course. You have made a difference in my life. You have lifted up my sails.

Instructor-Moderated Course Code: wyf