Our children’s fiction program
Awarded Best Course for Children’s Literature Worldwide by Intelligent
If you’re looking for inspiration to create stories or already have an idea for a children’s book, and want to write with the guidance of world-renowned children’s authors to get published, our team will help you shape and improve your book writing.
Our children’s book writing program is rated best in the world by Intelligent – with five-star reviews from writers too. It’s the program recommended by the world’s leading literary agents who specialize in children’s fiction.
When you join us for The Finished Novel Course , you’ll enjoy dedicated children’s fiction coaching, special children’s fiction workshops and classes and a thriving, close-knit children’s writing community. Your program begins with our famous Classic Storytelling class which will give you a solid foundation to write books for children at all age levels, exploring books known for their place at the very top of the roster of the classic children’s books.
You’ll learn world-building, character development, the hero’s journey, the importance of good versus evil, magic systems and much more. You’ll create a story young readers will love.
Your children’s book writing course program includes video lectures with guest appearances from famous names like Meg Rosoff, Piers Torday, Katherine Roundell and more and a treasure chest of carefully structured guidance to help you raise your word count daily, creating characters that will remain with children happily ever after.
You’ll go on to work with professionals from The Big Five publishing houses like Penguin Random House, experienced as editors working in children’s fiction and when your book is ready, we will introduce you to the children’s book market via submission to our literary agency partners to become one of our children’s fiction success stories!
How to write a children’s book and get published
We offer our children’s fiction writers dedicated coaching, small children’s fiction workshops, their own peer group online community and exceptional access to literary agents who specialize in books for children and have relationships with the best publishers.
Here are some of our graduate success stories.
Rashmi Sirdeshpande is the author of eight books for children. Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2022, and voted one of The Times Best Books of 2020.
‘Rashmi Sirdeshpande is a lawyer who became a children’s author and she has a talent for taking the big subjects and making them accessible to young readers.’ —BookBag Blog
‘Essential reading for young people.’ —BookTrust
Susie Bower is the author of three children’s fiction novels. Voted one of the Independent’s Top Ten novels for children, summer 2019.
‘Thoroughly charming and endlessly intriguing, Bower’s accomplished debut combines a magical mystery with a heartfelt account of adoption and trying to fit in. Written with grace and flair, School for Nobodies exerts a luminous hold on the imagination from start to finish.’ —Waterstones
‘Another enchanting fantasy.’ —Telegraph
Simon & Schuster Children’s Books has signed Dream Hunters, a middle-grade adventure series by The Novelry graduate Nazima Pathan. Fiction editorial director Michelle Misra pre-empted world rights for the series in her first acquisition for S&S Children’s Books, along with senior editor Arub Ahmed. They bought two titles from Chloe Seager at Madeleine Milburn Agency. The first book will be out in August 2024, followed by the second in August 2025. Nazima was introduced to Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency by The Novelry.
The children’s fiction fast track at The Novelry
Our children’s fiction team
With award-winning children’s fiction authors and a dedicated children’s and young adult fiction editorial team.
The 3-step program
Begin with the Classic, our storytelling foundation, suited to those starting to write a children’s book, with follow-on classes to write and complete your book.
Enjoy the company of your children’s and young adult writing group, with online readings and workshops.
A year’s access to the course and easy extension plans.
One-on-one coaching with bestselling children’s writers
Explore the children’s novels and young adult fiction books that have become some of the most enduring works of fiction ever published and learn to write yours. You’ll be guided how to combine their storytelling secrets with your own unique interests. Discover the secret sauce used by the great children’s 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 books for children shaking the industry. You’ll go on to write with an award-winning bestselling children’s fiction author.
Writing coach, Melanie Conklin, is the award-winning author of five middle-grade books for children, and winner of the International Literacy Association Teacher’ Choice Award.
Alice is the bestselling, award-winning author of five Young Adult fiction novels, and six books for younger readers. Named a New York Times Book for the Teen Age, Alice’s first novel won and was short-listed for numerous prizes, and she was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
David is the author of middle-grade children’s novels. His children’s books have won The British Book Industry Best Children’s Book and The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
Your 3-step program begins with a special class for children’s fiction
The Finished Novel Course begins with the Classic to show you how to create wonderment in fiction for younger readers.
Get started with the idea
The Classic begins with lessons to help you create the space and time for your writing and prepare your mindset for creative thinking. We’ll share with you the key features of a bestseller, where ideas (really) come from and what makes a children’s book a classic.
Children’s and YA fiction can go anywhere, it’s such an expansive and exciting genre.
Why do children’s books dominate the worldwide bestsellers lists of all time? What’s involved in writing a convincing child or teen protagonist that will appeal to younger and older readers? How do you bring a sense of wonder to your story? And how do you create a world young readers won’t want to leave?
Once Upon A Time
Move beyond the conventional three act structure to discover the great story structure that lies beneath storytelling and discover how big stories come from very small seeds of the first children’s stories we read and loved. We’ll guide you where to find the source of drama in fiction. Clue? It’s behind you!
You’ll combine your own ideals, hopes and fears with the big archetypal moves of storytelling to begin to create the structure for your book for children or young adults.
Learn what children expect from you as the author: part-magician, part-parent. It’s your job as a children’s fiction author to open the eyes of younger readers to the world and life ahead of them and to keep them safe while you go on an amazing adventure in fiction.
Starting to plan a story
We’ll give you the who, the why and the what in these lessons to help you find the hero, locate the story, and scope out the arc of the story. In children’s fiction, it all starts with our hero in challenging and unfortunate circumstances often through no fault of their own. The reader sympathises immediately.
Just think how many children’s stories begin with a child who is without their parents or anyone to care for them (apart from the reader!)
You’ll need to add a villain for the all-important conflict that tests the young person’s values to create drama. We’ll create a cunning plan and your writing coach will review it with you before you put pen to paper, so you can start writing with confidence.
Creating the story world
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.
But in a children’s story, 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.
We’ll show you how to give your ideas and values solid form; in the setting, characters, objects, icons, tokens, motifs, and treasures you choose to surround your child hero with. Everything matters. What you leave out can be as important as what you select and you’ll want to create light and shade to trigger the imagination of the younger reader.
Heroes & Villains
The conflict that drives a children’s story
The value system that drives storytelling for children is given dimension by the polar figures of the hero and the villain.
It’s our shared values as humankind from all corners of the world that have ensured stories entertained and enlightened readers through time. Stories connect our lives. We live and breathe stories, and so do your characters, and stories are concerned with change.
It takes a villain to drive the growth of your main character. Their conflict, and the triumph of good over evil, makes for a very satisfying read for the younger reader who often has a deeper sense of right and wrong than the older reader!
A story readers will love
Your voice as a children’s author is all-important. You need to provide a safe place for your reader to venture into potentially dangerous and testing adventures. Sometimes this means addressing the reader directly, especially in middle grade fiction. In young adult fiction, it means having one character who stands for moral goodness.
We’ll show you how the best-loved authors befriend their readers and keep them safe in remarkably sophisticated ways while providing a credible and entertaining reading experience.
Your relationship with a younger reader is parental, and with a young adult that of a trusted best friend.
Why and how we write: draw from the deepest well of creativity
We’ll develop an understanding of what moves a bestselling children’s fiction author to write their book and how the great stories originate from the ‘wounds’ of apparently successful writers, as a way to right the wrongs and create a better world.
We’ll look at the insider secrets behind the all-time bestselling children’s books from their source of inspiration through to the drafts and redrafts of those works as the author got closer to fulfilling their vision. We’ll help you skip a draft or two by bringing you closer to your aims.
You’ll gain the confidence needed to bring your whole self to the page to forge an honest and vital connection with your reader.
The writing plan
Here’s where it all comes together with a simple but dazzling plan for the children’s or young adult fiction story you can’t wait to write. We’ll be waiting to see you through the next step of your program, where the actual writing begins.
You’ll be able to choose your children’s or young adult fiction writing coach to guide you every step of the way. You’ll work with a bestselling children's author working in the right age group for your chosen specialisation, with a wide range of experience writing middle grade novels, children’s picture books and creating stories that have appealed to children worldwide. They’ll oversee the structural matters of plotting and planning, drilling down into guidance on prose details, helping you write dialogue that’s convincing but age-appropriate content too.
When you come on to the third phase of our program, The Big Edit, your children’s fiction editor will guide you through the different ages industry standards to ensure you find your place in today’s children’s book market. Whether you are thinking of self-publishing or seeking a literary agent, they will raise your book to publishing standards.
‘Utterly brilliant. Do this program!’
Rashmi Sirdeshpande, now published by Penguin Puffin Books
The children’s fiction program with rave reviews from writers who complete works of middle grade and young adult fiction with us.
‘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 managed to keep up with the lessons and looked forward to doing them each day.’
‘A deep dive into the key ingredients of the recipe to create a children’s classic. I feel like I lucked out. I appreciate very much the balance you strike between high quality and commercial viability. MFA programs often only teach literary writing, at the expense of the crafting of plot. Other online resources are often too “pulpy’ for my taste. I think writers with the ambition to write for a large audience, but also to write to a high literary standard, would find it very rewarding, particularly if they’re writing middle-grade or YA.’
‘Thank you for reigniting my desire to write for children. 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. It reignited my buried desire to write for children 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.’
Independent writers’ reviews
Frequently asked questions
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