Writing for Children

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Description

About This Course

Join author and writing mentor Steve Alcorn and discover what you need to know to write for children. If you're a beginning writer, this course will help you transform your book idea into a finished product that could potentially land in the hands of an editor or agent. And if you're already a successful writer, this course will help you explore new opportunities and markets for your work.

You'll 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'll get insights from publishing professionals to gain a better understanding of the needs of today's market. You'l…

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About This Course

Join author and writing mentor Steve Alcorn and discover what you need to know to write for children. If you're a beginning writer, this course will help you transform your book idea into a finished product that could potentially land in the hands of an editor or agent. And if you're already a successful writer, this course will help you explore new opportunities and markets for your work.

You'll 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'll get insights from publishing professionals to gain a better understanding of the needs of today's market. You'll 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'll have all the tools and resources you'll need to begin navigating the world of children's publishing and to continue growing as a writer for children.


About The Instructor

This course includes a knowledgeable and caring instructor who will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions. The instructor for this course will be 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 10,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, and many of his students have published novels they developed in his classes. His children's books include the mystery A Matter of Justice, the historical novel Everything in Its Path, and Travel Kid, an illustrated journal of his daughter's travels around the world. When he isn't writing and teaching, Steve is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company.

Syllabus

A new section of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

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 our first lesson, we're going to explore ways to learn about the audience and the different types of children's literature. We'll also talk about the many awards given to honor this genre.

Friday - Lesson 02

In this lesson, we'll focus specifically on children's picture books. We'll start 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.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

In today's lesson, we'll explore books for beginning readers and discover resources available to writers. We'll dive into emergent readers and first chapter books. We'll also examine the impact of Harry Potter on children's book writing as a whole. And you'll learn about the market and gain tips to help you create books children will love to read!

Friday - Lesson 04

Today we'll explore the world of literature designed for the middle-grade and high school readers. We'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 shows you why.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

In today's lesson, we'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 we'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. We'll also look at the myriad of different kinds of children's nonfiction—and how fascinating it is. We've come a long way from bland biographies!

Friday - Lesson 06

Do you know the difference between story and plot? There's a vital distinction that will make your writing easier. And speaking of easy, once you understand story patterns, your children's stories will almost write themselves! We'll also visit with a panel of experts who share tips on getting started.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

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. We'll also talk about homework―writer's homework! Research is important to writing well, and I'll provide some important resources in this lesson. You'll also learn techniques on how to craft your critical first page, along with tips to keep the pages turning.

Friday - Lesson 08

Grab your red pens—it's time to edit! Today 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. And we'll explore the differences between proofreaders, copy editors, and critique groups.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

In this lesson, we're going to explore the needs of publishing houses. You'll discover how to improve your chances of publication through market research. And you'll uncover the resources other writers use to target publishers and discover how to recognize the right time to send your manuscript.

Friday - Lesson 10

Today you'll learn how to submit your manuscript like a pro. We'll explore query and cover letters, and you'll 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!

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

In today's lesson, we'll explore the business side of children's publishing. We'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.

Friday - Lesson 12

As we wrap up this course, I'll share some ways that you can continue to grow yourself as a writer. You'll discover organizations and online communities that offer support to writers. And you'll get some final words of advice from our guest authors as you embark on your journey into the world of children's publishing. Dream big, and happy writing!


Requirements

Access to a library or bookstore that stocks children's books, Microsoft Word or other word processing software, Internet access, e-mail, and the Netscape or Firefox or Internet Explorer Web browser.

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