Skip to main content

Writing for Children

Our Writing for Children course presents an overview of the children’s writing genre, with an emphasis on understanding the various types of children’s books; picture books, chapter books (e.g. early readers and middle-grade books), and young adult fiction. It is for students who want to write for children aged 3–16 years.

Aimed at beginners and intermediate writers alike, the course teaches students how to apply theoretical knowledge to practical writing, how to succeed as a children’s author, and about the various markets for children’s books. Tutors will provide resource materials for authors to absorb and guidelines to implement in their own time.

BONUS: The last two weeks will feature round-table discussions, with HarperCollins published authors sharing their writing experience with students in a live online environment.

Week 1

Overview: Content, Audience, and the Market (2 hours)

Genre: Who you are writing for?

Picture Books: Illustrations and visualization for submission purposes, rhyme scheme or not, appropriate content, language level.

Chapter Books: early and middle grade readers: language level, appropriate language, extent, and so on

Young Adult Fiction: An introduction and appropriate content for this age group.

Writing for different Ages: Gathering ideas, structure, characterization, settings, and dialogue

The Plan: Creating characters for outstanding children’s stories
Week 2

World-building Dialogue (2 hours)

Creating credible dialogue; How dialogue reveals character and informs plot
Showing not telling
Setting; Building worlds , creating a sense of place, setting as character
Week 3

Structure, Pacing, and Revising your Work (2 hours)

Essential Ingredients: Techniques that make your work stand out; plotting and structure.
Engaging Young Readers: Point of view and pacing
Week 4

Collaboration; how to work with Editors, Designers and Illustrators (2 hours)

The industry; Self-editing; Working with agents and editors; working with designers
The Proposal: Elements of your book proposal and taking things to the next level
Week 5

Genre Breakout Sessions: 1 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins author talks pictures books.
A HarperCollins author talks early and middle-grade readers.
A HarperCollins author talks young adult fiction.
Week 6

Genre Breakout Sessions: 2 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins talks children’s nonfiction

Reading Resources:

A comprehensive list of further reading resources is also available for enrolled authors to use and absorb in their own time.