Writing YA & Children’s Fiction – Three Months
Learn how to write exciting and engaging fiction for teenagers and children. This three-month course is for writers eager to take their writing for young readers seriously.
With weekly teaching and workshopping on our interactive platform, plus one-to-one tutorials, and advice from industry experts, this course will help you hone your craft and learn more about how your story would fit within the YA and children’s fiction market. Our compact three-month schedule and online learning environment make this course ideal for writers with busy calendars in need of flexibility while they study.
You will join a group of 15 writers taught by Catherine Johnson, prize-winning YA and children’s fiction author and much-loved creative writing tutor. Teaching will cover how to create characters that are relatable to your target audience and an engaging narrative arc, as well as key writing techniques – from point-of-view and dialogue to world-building and plotting.
In addition to the weekly teaching and workshopping – which is flexibly timed so you can take part at a time that suits you each week – you’ll also attend an exclusive live industry masterclass on Zoom featuring insights from a leading literary agent. When the course ends, you’ll be given the opportunity to share your work with literary agents from Curtis Brown and C&W.
Over 200 of our students have gone on to become commercially published authors, including Bonnie Garmus, author of the multi-million copy bestseller, Lessons in Chemistry. Previous students of our Writing YA & Children’s Fiction course include Penny Chrimes (Tiger Heart), Michael Mann (Ghostcloud), Cynthia Murphy (Last One to Die) and Jenny Pearson (The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates). Whether you're in the early stages of writing, halfway through a first draft or embarking on a major rewrite – this course will give you the push you need to get the most out of your novel for younger readers.
Suitable for those working on a YA (14+), teen (11–16) middle grade (8–12) or young fiction (7+) novel. Learn more about the types of children’s fiction here.
This course runs from 11 February to 27 May 2024.
There’s something very special about children’s writers and I feel so lucky that I was placed with this group. I also left with a sense of ‘I can do this’.
Last One to Die
Catherine Johnson has written over 20 books for children and young adults, including Sawbones, which won the Young Quills Prize for best Historical Fiction in the 12+ category and was nominated for the Carnegie medal in 2015. Her book Freedom won the 2019 Little Rebels Award for Radical Children's Fiction.
Read Catherine’s advice blog to discover more about her writing and approach to teaching.
WHAT DOES THIS COURSE GIVE YOU?
- Flexible study: Teaching for this course is entirely online, meaning that you can take part from anywhere in the world, at a time that suits you. The course is delivered via interactive forum discussions with your tutor and fellow students alongside pre-recorded teaching videos on our bespoke learning platform, which we have developed exclusively for our students. The only ‘live’ elements of this course (taking place at set times) are the Zoom industry masterclass and your one-to-one-tutorials. Timings of these sessions will always be confirmed in advance.
- A community of writers: Our selective applications process means that you will be writing your novel for younger readers in a peer group of 15 students working at a high level. Many of our former students have found trusted readers with us and formed strong working friendships that go on long after the course is over.
- Expert teaching: Catherine will post weekly teaching notes and lead discussions topics on our interactive online learning platform and set homework tasks to further your learning. In addition to this, each module includes exclusive videos and notes covering a range of topics such as plotting, characterisation, point-of-view and world-building – all written and presented by Catherine.
- Writing workshops: Your work will be workshopped by the group twice during the course. Workshops centre on 3,000-word extracts from your novel-in-progress, and discussion takes place on our learning platform with students and the tutor posting written comments across the week. These sessions offer in-depth feedback from your student group and tutor and are also designed to help develop your self-editing skills.
- One-to-one tutorials: You'll get two 45-minute, one-to-one tutorials with Catherine. Tutorials will be based on 3,000-word extracts of your novel-in-progress. Use these tutorials to address your specific concerns about your writing. Near the end of the course all students will also get a 45-minute one-to-one with an experienced CBC editor or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent. They will read a 6,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis.
- Industry masterclass: Join a live Zoom session with a leading literary agent who will answer your questions, speaking exclusively to you about writing, editing and the submissions process – with a specific focus on the marketplace for YA, middle grade and children’s fiction.
- Synopsis & agent letter advice: We’ll give you the vital ingredients needed for a great synopsis and pitch letter. Individual feedback will come from experienced members of the CBC editorial team and/or a Curtis Brown/C&W literary agent – delivered via the learning platform.
- End-of-course submission: All students will be invited to submit their 3,000-word novel opening, plus a synopsis, to be shared with the agent teams at Curtis Brown and C&W as well as a select group of agents from other UK-based agencies. This is not a formal submission but a chance to give the agents a taste of what you’re working on. When you are ready to submit formally – no matter how long after your course has finished – the CBC team will provide guidance and support with your submission to the Curtis Brown and C&W agents.
- Alumni services: At the end of your course, you’ll be given access to a range of exclusive writing services, available only to the alumni of our selective courses. These services include one-to-one mentoring, full manuscript reports and submission reports on your pitch package. Read more about the opportunities available to our alumni here.
COURSE SCHEDULE & DELIVERY
This course is ideal for people seeking flexibility, so they can write and study at times that suit them. Please note that precise dates of masterclass sessions and details of course speakers are subject to change.
WEEK 1 – INTRODUCTIONMonday 11 Feb – Sunday 18 Feb
WEEK 2 – BEGINNINGSMonday 19 February – Sunday 25 February
WEEK 3 – CHARACTERISATIONMonday 26 February – Sunday 3 March
WEEK 4 – POINT OF VIEWMonday 4 March – Sunday 10 March
WEEK 5 – WORLD-BUILDINGMonday 11 March – Sunday 17 March
WEEK 6 – EVERYTHING MATTERSMonday 18 March – Sunday 24 March
WEEK 7 – SYNOPSISMonday 25 March – Sunday 31 March
BREAK WEEK EASTERMonday 1 April – Sunday 7 April
WEEK 8 – DIALOGUE & DESCRIPTIONMonday 8 April – Sunday 14 April
WEEK 9 – PLANNING, PLOTTING & DREAMINGMonday 15 April – Sunday 21 April
WEEK 10 – CHILDREN’S WRITING TROUBLESHOOTINGMonday 22 April – Sunday 28 April
WEEK 11 – ENDINGS & RESOLUTIONSMonday 29 April – Sunday 5 May
WEEK 12 – EDITING & REWRITINGTuesday 7 May – Sunday 12 May
WEEK 13 – END OF COURSE SUBMISSIONMonday 27 May
The course fee of £1,800 (inc VAT) per student is payable, in full, by bank transfer. Funds must reach our bank account before the course begins. If you are unable to pay the full fee upfront, let us know and we can arrange an instalment plan.
READY TO APPLY?
Please apply with the first 3,000 words of the novel you’d like to work on during the course, and a synopsis of no more than a page (both need to be in the same document, as you can only upload ONE file in the application below).
The CBC team will select applicants based on the quality of the writing sample provided. The deadline for applications is midnight, end of day Sunday 14 January, and we will respond to applicants by Thursday 18 January.
We read all application material promptly after the closing date and make our selection of students within a week. However, if you require an earlier response from us in order to be able to take part in this course, please email us with full details and we will consider and respond on a case-by-case basis.
If you encounter any problems during the application process, or have any more questions about the course, please email email@example.com for assistance.
Take your YA, middle grade or children's novel to the next level with expert tuition and publishing industry insights, delivered flexibly. Instalment plan available.