Back to all courses.

Writing For Children

6 weeks

Aimed at:
All levels



30th May 2017
7 Places available.
23rd October 2017
7 Places available.

Course Overview

This course is designed for beginners who would like to see whether they can write successfully for children. Children's fiction may look easy at first glance but there are a number of special factors you need to be aware of. This course will explain what those special factors are and how children's fiction works. It will give you essential tools that will help you produce compelling stories for a young audience.

If you've always wanted to write for children but felt daunted by the challenge - this is the course for you.

The course will consider:

* Where you can find the inspiration for your stories 

* What children’s publishers are really looking for

* How you can turn a simple premise into a full-length story

* What developing your voice really means

* How you can create characters children will want to identify with

* How you can build worlds your readers will recognise.

It will open a window onto the world of children’s publishing and give you the tools you need to begin producing compelling stories for a young audience.

A selection of the amazing feedback we've had for this course:

I did a short story writing course and a writing for children course years ago but neither of them have taught me so much as you. This was really worth doing. Thanks again.   A. Gibbs

I really enjoyed the class. Thank you for always taking the time to give helpful feedback and thoughtful responses, both on the wall and email. It was very appreciated. I would not have given myself the credit of being able to write a novel prior to this class. Still not sure I can do it, but I am going to give it a try, thanks to this class.   L. Mudd

I really enjoyed it and I can already see my progress from when we started in week One. Thanks Brian.  S. Williams

Thank you Brian for keeping us all on-task and challenged throughout, and for sharing your experience and knowledge with us. I've really enjoyed this course, and will miss it but feel fired up for the final push to complete my manuscript and send it to agents.   C. Gardner

Course Syllabus

Week One - Finding Inspiration

Do children's books deal with different emotions, ideas and storylines from books for adults? If so, how can adult writers access those areas? Where can they find inspiration? In this week we'll look at ways of drawing on material from your own childhood and how you can learn to see the world from a child's perspective.

Week Two - Developing a Premise

Stories seldom appear fully-formed in a writer's head. You have to think them up. This starts with a premise. But what exactly is a premise? In this week we take a good look at what is considered to be the foundation stone of a good story and we ask what kind of premise is particularly suitable for a children's novel.

Week Three - Creating Character

Children's identities are not as fixed as those of adults. They are still deciding what kind of people they want to be. The characters in children's stories reflect this. They change, develop and grow as the story progresses. This week we will look at how you can make your characters boldly-drawn, convincing and able to grow like real people.

Week Four - Building a World

Why do so many successful children's writers completely remove their characters from the everyday world? Because it allows so much more scope for the imagination. In your own world you make the rules so the stakes can be as high as you like. This week we'll discuss techniques for visual description and world-building used by writers of fantasy and historical stories.

Week Five - Choosing a Voice

What makes J K Rowling so successful? A lot of things, obviously, but right at the top of the list is her voice. It's pitch perfect. Some people can do this naturally, others have to learn. In this week we look at the kinds of voices used by successful children's writers and how you can find one that suits you and plays to your strengths.

Week Six - Understanding the Market

Which is better - trying to be original or trying to fit into an established slot in the market? How do you know what the market is going to do next, anyway? This week we consider how the world of children's publishing works on the inside, what publishers are really looking for, and how to make them take you seriously.

PLUS Get feedback on your work from a Literary Agent! 

Susan Yearwood from the Susan Yearwood Literary Agency will be joining you in Week 6.

Susan will be happy to provide feedback on a brief synopsis (one page, 

double-spaced) and your opening 10 pages (double spaced).

Course Tutors

Brian Keaney

Brian has written 20 novels for young people which have been translated into 13 languages..

He worked for many years as an English teacher, and that was when he became interested in writing for young people. For him, writing for children is one of the most important jobs on the planet. “Without children’s authors there would be no new readers and the whole community of literature would slowly begin to collapse and die.”

He is married, and has two children

Course Feedback

Here's feedback from our course users.

Average Course Rating:
(3 Customer Reviews)
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Customer Reviews
a shot in the arm for writing 22nd September 2016
By Katy Barnett
This course was worth every penny (I made my husband buy it for me as a birthday present, and have no regrets on sacrificing the present he would have hurriedly bought me at the last minute). It really cut straight to the chase of what makes good writing and what doesn't, and how to get closer to the former. Brian, the tutor, was prompt, frank and very human in his feedback to us and I got a huge amount out of every exchange. The only down sides to the course were the length - I came away thinking there was still so much more to work on, since every task we did opened up whole new areas that begged to be explored and discussed - and the fact that we had very few participants, which limited the peer feedback and discussions.
Started strong, then lost me21st September 2016
By Ian Barrigan
Very well organised, clear content but I couldn't get engaged and dropped out after 3 of the tutorials.
Brilliant course16th November 2016
By sarah forde
Direct, honest feedback and loads of insights into how to write for children. This course was exactly what I needed. It's inspired me to move on from my one line idea to think and write and keep writing. Thank you, Brian

How our online courses work

Our courses are hosted on our own community site, The Word Cloud, which is a very friendly, intuitive and supportive writing community.

The tools and environment are very intuitive and easy to use: you won't have a problem. Each week, courses will include:

• A video introduction
• A written 'lecture'
• Interactive classroom discussion
• A writing exercise on the week's topic
• Feedback on your homework

All the course material can be accessed at any time of day or night. If you miss a few days, it will be easy to catch up. You are also warmly encouraged to interact with fellow-students - offer advice, give feedback and make friends. Find out more about how our courses work here.