The Children's Book Writing Course
Captivate the next generation of readers by writing your novel with guidance from published authors and professional editors who specialise in children’s and YA fiction.
How do you bring a sense of wonder to your story? Why do children’s books dominate the worldwide bestsellers lists of all time? What’s involved in writing a convincing child or teen protagonist? And how do you create a world a young reader won’t want to leave?
If you’re looking for inspiration, have an idea for a novel, or perhaps have a finished manuscript and want professional editorial feedback, we have courses that will help you to shape and improve your story and its characters in your children’s or YA book.
On our novel-writing courses, you’ll discover lessons in world-building, story arcs, magic systems, the hero’s journey and good versus evil, to name just a few. You’ll learn how to create a story that both reflects your unique vision and is commercial enough to make children’s editors and agents sit up and take notice.
Writing a Classic Children's Book
We’ll examine the middle-grade children's novels and young adult fiction books that have become some of the most enduring works of fiction ever published and you’ll be guided on how to combine their storytelling secrets with your own unique interests. Discover the secret sauce used by classic and bestselling authors J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Richmal Crompton, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Hans Christian Andersen, Mark Haddon and Philip Pullman, as well as the contemporary novels shaking the industry.
In 45 lessons, we'll show you how to create wonderment in children's fiction. Learn what younger readers expect from you as the author: part-magician, part-parent.
Remember, the big difference between adult and children's fiction is that in novels for adults, the war is inside you. A novel for adults is a moral journey with the main character in conflict, choosing between the positive and negative values of the theme of your story. But in a children's book, the war is outside. The hero must battle evil and triumph for good, overcoming worldly temptations and showing younger readers how to uphold the values you, the author, hold dear. It's your job, as a children's fiction author to open their eyes to the wonders of the world and their life ahead of them, but to keep them safe in your story while you go on an amazing adventure in fiction.
We'll begin at the very beginning. Once upon a time...
Some tips for writing for children:
- Children’s and YA fiction can go anywhere, it’s such an expansive and exciting genre. So where to begin? Look at how your readers choose to spend their time and PLAY. Here’s one playful exercise to get you started: begin with the world you know and imagine one thing that’s different. How could that one difference change everything else? It can be something tiny and trivial, or important and huge – follow through the impact of its absence. Now place a young person in the middle of this changed world. What would they do?
- Take notice of the kids walking to school with a slump in their step, the ones who are being intimidating in the park playground as well as the well-behaved ones, too. What might the latter be thinking behind their timid smiles? Not only will this inspire your own characters but remind you that they are the readers you’re writing for. You owe it to them to write a world that reflects their reality, whichever kind of story you choose to write.
- When writing for a young protagonist always ask yourself the following: how can they have agency in (or take control of) what’s happening to them? And who or what might threaten their agency? When you tap into that agency and tension, exciting things happen.
- Once you’re off the starting blocks, we all have the tendency to race towards the action. But a reader always needs to feel connected to the character and world they’ve diving into. Ensure you give yourself space to give them this grounding connection. Make sure you pack a cosy start!
Our Children's Writing Course Team
Discover and refine your ideas with The Big Idea and The Classic Course, during which you will explore story archetypes and structures using beloved bestselling children's novels.
On our novel writing courses, you will receive personal mentoring from the multi-award nominated middle-grade author Polly Ho-Yen, as well as YA experts and published authors Tasha Suri and Katie Khan, and take advantage of one-to-one professional feedback from our children’s and YA editor, Lily Lindon. Once you have completed a draft of your children’s novel, The Big Edit Course (and optional extras such as The Spotlight Edit and Ultimate Manuscript Assessment) will help you polish your novel to a professional standard.
You will enjoy access to live events from guest speakers as well as our rich library of author Q&As including sessions with Katherine Rundell, Meg Rosoff, Tricia Levenseller, Piers Torday and many more.
You can take advantage of our fortnightly children’s and YA writing workshops and an active online children's and YA fiction writing community where you can meet like-minded writers who support and understand your vision.
If you’re writing children’s and YA, our courses will give you the tools to elevate your novel to a whole new level.
Come and inspire the next generation at The Novelry.
“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they'll take you.”
What's in the box?
The Big Idea
The Classic Course
The Novel Course
The Big Edit
The Ultimate Manuscript Assessment *
Choose Your Children's Fiction Writing Course
Sign up and start today
Suitable for writers writing in all genres of middle grade and YA fiction at all levels including beginners, writers looking to build a new novel idea, writers in need of inspiration, and writers with a manuscript in progress.
Your Career Writing Children's Books Starts Here
A Published Author of Children's Fiction
Rashmi Sirdeshpande joined The Novelry in 2017 and took the Classic Course for writing for children and the Novel Course. Now published by Puffin Books, Rashmi is the author of five children's books, shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Fiction Prize 2021.
“Utterly brilliant. Life-changing, in fact.”
“The course, the community and the guide, are the best things that have ever happened to the writer in me. If you’re serious about writing a novel, don’t let it roll about for 10 years. Write it in a season, while it’s fresh and you’re on fire. DO THIS COURSE! I challenge you not to fall in love with it.” Rashmi Sirdeshpande
– Rashmi Sirdeshpande
Becoming a Children's Fiction Author
Featured in The Independent's Top Ten Fiction Picks for summer
“This lovely novel has the perfect blend of excitement, emotional power and magic to hook any young reader and Susie’s super confident world building makes this one of the most assured debuts I have read for some time.”
– Sarah Odedina, editor-at-large for Pushkin Children’s Books
The Novelry submitted Susie's book to our literary agency partner PF+D, and Susie was offered representation by Silvia Molteni and went on to secure two two-book publishing contracts with Pushkin Books.
Because Writing Children's Fiction is a Wonderful Adventure
Writers Love The Novelry
“Thank you for reigniting my desire to write for children.”
“So accessible and interesting and really nicely presented. It brings you back to the start of your childhood reading days and reminds you of why you loved stories and why you want to write them. The 'gentle journey' of the course fooled me into thinking I was just ambling along when at the end I realised I had a lot more written and developed than I thought I had. It made me think more in my free time about my story, in a reflective way, not in a cold factual way. It reignited my buried desire to write for children in a gentle and reflective way, by remembering the child I was and how some stories shaped me as I read them. And how we all can bring that hidden child out to write alongside us because they may have a story worth telling.”
– Marisa O'Mahoney
“I've come up with an idea that I love ...”
“... and have an outline for my novel as well as planning on chapters, characters and the way my magical world works. The course gave me confidence to write my novel, excitement and joy in planning and writing, a new twist on an old idea. I never thought much about writing a children's fantasy book but realised it's what I've always wanted to do. I found it really inspiring and it really opened me up.I feel proud of myself for completing the course when I wasn't sure I'd be able to with a young baby. I managed to keep up with the lessons and looked forward to doing them each day.”
– Alex Webber
Our Classic Course Reviews
Find out more at our FAQs page here.
What do I need to take the course?
What if I use up all my calls?
When does it start?
Impaired vision / hearing / English second language
Our Admissions and Refund Policy
Get the #1 fiction writing course blog worldwide each Sunday
We offer 0% interest payment plans and accept most cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal.
We offer scholarships for our online writing courses to deserving writers of merit. Simply send us an email explaining a little bit about your circumstances with the first 500 words of your work.
With more independent five-star reviews than any other writing course online worldwide.