Prerequisite:
Children’s Book Writing I

Children’s Book Writing II is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. The prerequisite is Children’s Book Writing I, or the equivalent; Level II courses work best when students know the fundamentals and have experience with the workshop process. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

The quiet magic of Goodnight Moon grows into the zaniness of Dr. Seuss and widens into the dazzlement of Harry Potter then matures into the straight talk of Judy Blume and the gritty reality of The Hate U Give. Such is the amazing journey children take through books. These stories are a treasured part of childhood and they linger for a lifetime.

To captivate young readers, you must balance a youthful imagination with an adult professionalism. Here you will learn about the various types of children’s books and their special requirements, as well as fiction craft and how to market your work.

Whatever type of children’s book you seek to write—picture books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade, young adult—we’ll show you how to write stories that entrance.

About Children’s Book Writing

This course is for writers who want to be authors and realize that to do that they need to dedicate themselves to regularly writing, regular honest critiquing, and continuous learning about their writing process.

Wendy LeBolt

exercise physiologist

Notes

Our Children’s Book courses cover the full spectrum of children’s books, from picture books to YA novels. Many children’s books authors write books for various age levels. The focus is mostly on fiction, but writers are welcome to work on nonfiction children’s books.

If you want to work on a YA novel, you may do so in our Children’s Book courses, or in Fiction I or (at the advanced level) Novel II First Draft and Novel II Critique, or our genre courses: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery, Romance. The difference: In a Children’s Book course, you will be learning about and reading works for various age levels; in the other courses, you will be learning about and reading works for adults. This is fine because YA novels are very close to adult novels.


Upcoming Classes

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course helps you sharpen your skills at writing children’s books and work toward completion of a book. Writers often repeat Children’s Books II to continue their projects. Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Freshness: Various strategies for creating “fresh” stories, stories that will grab the attention of readers, agents, and editors.

Week 2
Real Kids: Personality traits of various age ranges. Showing characters. Creating dimensional characters. Accessing the secret world of children. Handling adult characters.

Week 3
Plot Questions: How to keep readers hooked by continually raising plot questions, in picture books and longer books. Use of subplots. Further hints on plotting.

Week 4
Beginnings & Endings: Creating an effective beginning, in picture books and longer books. Creating an effective ending, in picture books and longer books.

 Week 5
POV Fine-Points: Fine-points of point of view, in first, second, and third person. When it’s acceptable to alter a point of view strategy midstream. Handling thoughts. Exploration of psychic distance in point of view.

Week 6
The Narrator: The value of an engaging narrator. Techniques for effective narrators in first, second, and third person point of views. Interactive narrators.

Week 7
Pacing: Sticking to the “good parts.” Manipulating speed, in picture books and longer books. Staying linear.

Week 8
Pages & Scenes: How to make each page of a picture book effective. The marriage of words and pictures in picture books. How to create effective scenes in longer books.

Week 9
Language: Stretching vocabulary. Handling syntax. Language refreshers. Exploration of language, in picture books and longer books.

Week 10
The Publishing Game: How to write a great query letter. How to target the right agents and editors. How to gain the inside track on getting published.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Erik Kraft
Erik Kraft

Erik Kraft is the author of the chapter book series Lenny and Mel (Simon & Schuster), the picture book Chocolatina (Bridgewater Books), and the middle grade novel Miracle Wimp (Little, Brown). He’s also the webmaster for the Littleton Cultural Council, founder of the former blog/podcast Too Many Chickens!, and illustrator for the former blog Cats in the Alley. He has taught at Columbia University and Grub Street Writers in Boston. He holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College, and an ALM in Dramatic Arts from the Harvard Extension School.

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