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Writing for children - 6 Month Course

If you enjoy reading or telling stories to your children or grandchildren, then this course is just for you. As the outline shows, with your tutor's help and support you will cover the fundamentals of writing with the specific focus on children's writing. In no time, you will be reading your own stories to your children, as well as preparing them to send out to agents and publishers.

1) Who am I as a writer + finding inspiration.

To be able to sustain a career in writing, or to work through to finish a project, it's important to understand why you want to write. In section 1 of the course, we will spend time thinking about your motivation, because once you understand that, you can ride it like a rocket to achieve your goals. Along with your desire to write is the ability to find inspiration. But rather than simply waiting for inspiration to come, you need to make it happen. So, we will go through a number of ways in which you can develop this skill.

Assignment:

Background information on yourself as a writer; researching the children's market.

2) Creating interesting characters + anthropomorphism.

Engaging stories are based around characters that the reader wants to learn more about. It's part of human nature to like to know what others are doing – yes, let's admit it, we're just basically nosey! In section 2 we'll get thinking about what makes a character interesting, and get you designing your own. One aspect of writing for younger children, is using non-human characters such as animals. An example would be the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. This is called anthropomorphism, and we'll also look at this.

Assignment:

Creating a number of different characters. Plus specific, individual activities set by tutor as required.

3) Creating believable settings + more on characters.

Once we have a character of two, we need to place them somewhere. In writing for children this could be in school, the jungle, space or a myriad other places. How do we create and develop these setting? How can we use them to show emotion? These are some of the questions we'll focus on in section 3. We'll also do some more work on developing your own characters.

Assignment:

Seeing the world as children; a piece of writing linking emotion and setting. Plus specific, individual activities set by tutor as required.

4) Creating engaging plots + more on settings.

Some may think that in children's writing, the plot isn't that important. But in fact, in a picture book of less than 500 words, how you devise and control the plot is extremely important. Also, to hold the attention of a teenager means that plotting needs to be handled well. This will form the main part of section 4, along with some more thoughts regarding setting.

Assignment:

Using a plot box; two pieces of writing focusing on beginnings and ending. Plus specific, individual activities set by tutor as required.

5) Dialogue dynamics + exploring the market.

Dialogue is an important aspect of story telling. But it isn't as simple as writing down what people say. We'll look at ways that dialogue can be controlled and used to get the most out of it. It's also during section 5 that we will begin to focus more closely on the children's market, including the various age groups. How much you understand the market and where you wish to place your writing, will help you to decide where to focus your energies in the future.

Assignment:

Analysing dialogue activity; punctuating dialogue. Plus specific, individual activities set by tutor as required.

6) Reviewing the course, next step, setting future goals.

The final section will give us a chance to review the key aspects of the course, and help you see how much you are applying what you've learnt to your writing. It'll also give you a list of areas where you can look to improve in the weeks after the course. We'll also get you to plan your writing beyond the course, so that you may continue to progress in your career as a children's writer.

Assignment:

Specific, individual activities set by tutor.

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