How To Write a Children’s Book
Write an outstanding children’s book with our specialist children’s fiction team for middle-grade and young adult fiction, and we’ll help you find a literary agent too.
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 want to get published our expert children’s fiction department will help you shape and improve your story. Beginning with our famous Classic Course, then going on to write your story with coaching from our children’s fiction team, you’ll discover world-building, character development, the hero’s journey and good versus evil, magic systems and much more. You’ll learn how to create a story that children and young adults will love.
Our children’s fiction offering at a glance
The Children’s Department
With award-winning children’s fiction authors and a children’s and YA fiction editor.
The Classic Course
55 lessons perfectly suited to those starting to write a childrens book on a beautiful online platform.
Enjoy the company of your children’s and YA fiction writing group, and special children’s and YA fiction workshops.
A year’s access to the course and coaching with children’s fiction authors and editors when you join as a member.
Learn from the Bestselling Children’s Fiction Writers
⭐ Awarded Best Course for Children’s Literature Worldwide by Intelligent
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.
Starting with The Classic Course, 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.
It’s your job as a children’s fiction author to open the eyes of younger readers 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...
1. Welcome Home
Get Started With the Idea for Your Story
The course begins with lessons to help you create the space and time for your writing and prepare your mindset for creative thinking. Children’s and YA fiction can go anywhere, it’s such an expansive and exciting genre. So where to begin? 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?We’ll share with you the key features of a bestseller, where ideas (really) come from and what makes a book a classic.
2. 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 for your story. 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 story for children or young adults.
3. The Process
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, the story starts with our hero in challenging and unfortunate circumstances 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.
4. World Building
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 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.
5. Heroes & Villains
The Conflict That Drives a Children’s Story
The value system that drives storytelling for children is represented by in the figures of the hero and the villain. It’s our shared values as humankind from all corners of the world that have ensured stories entertain and enlighten readers through time. Stories connect our lives. We live and breathe stories, and so do your characters. 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!
6. The Reader
A Story Readers Will Love
Your voice as the author of children’s fiction 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 befriended their readers and kept them safe while providing an entertaining and exciting reading experience. Your relationship with a younger reader is parental, and with a young adult that of a trusted friend.
7. The Author
Why and How We Write
Understand 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. You’ll gain the confidence to bring your whole self to the page to forge an honest and vital connection with your reader.
The Working Plan for Your Story
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 writing a book with The Ninety Day Novel Course 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 and when you come on to the third phase of our program, The Big Edit, our children’s fiction editor will be waiting to help you raise your story to publishing standards.
Your Children’s Story Starts Here
Sign up and start writing a book today.
Simply choose the level of support and guidance you’d like to accompany your course. All courses, coaching and access to our community of other writers are yours for 12 months, after which it’s easy and affordable to extend access should you need it. Join us as a member for live writing classes, resources and a community by adding Membership.
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‘Excitement and joy’
The children’s fiction course with rave reviews
“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.”
“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.”
Our Classic Course Reviews
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