Writing for a young audience isn't child's play – even the flightiest fantasy must have strong storytelling foundations. Whether you want to create an illustrated fairytale or comical novel, this lively weekend will show you how to keep modern young people enthralled with stories they will enjoy time and time again, as well as giving you a unique insider insight into the world of children's publishing.
Kate Wilson, managing director of the industry award-winning publisher Nosy Crow, will bring a panel of children's authors, editors, social media and marketing experts, a top children's bookseller and a top children's literary agent to give you comprehensive guidance on the market, advice on what agents and publishers look for in a story, how to build an author platform through blogging and social media, the editing process and how to get your work into print.
Under the tutelage of bestselling children's author Lucy Coats (Atticus the Storyteller's 100 Greek Myths), and her top author guests, including Mary Hoffman (Amazing Grace), you'll discover how to create captivating characters with real personality, how to write dialogue which gives each of your creations a distinctive voice, how to tackle plot and how to build a convincing world for your book. Through a plethora of practical exercises, you'll learn how to use these tools to tell engrossing stories which will bring joy to children.
Establishing a thorough grounding of the mechanics and motivations of writing stories for children, this highly practical weekend course covers the structure, plotting, writing and publishing of fiction aimed primarily at children ages 7-12.
The weekend features a whole day of advice from top children's publisher Kate Wilson of Nosy Crow and her team of experts on getting an agent, breaking into children's fiction, marketing your book and all the more practical aspects of getting a book published.
Topics covered during the weekend include:
- An overview of the children's book world
- How it works, and a guide to the genres within it
- How to build a good children's book character
- The rules of fantasy world building
- How to plan a perfect plot
- How to use backstory without being boring
- How to write dialogue which makes your story flow
- What publishers want – and how to get noticed by them
- How a book is marketed
- What an agent is looking for
- The secrets of the editing process
- Working with an illustrator...and much more
This course is for you if…
You have an interest in writing for children as a possible career, a casual
source of income, or simply in order to create your own works of fiction for children or relatives, and you want to find out how the world of children's books really works from top professionals on the inside.
Kate Wilson is the founder and managing director of Nosy Crow, Children's Publisher of the Year in both 2013 and 2012, notable for their innovative iOS storybook apps. Formerly head of Macmillan Children's Books and Scholastic UK, Kate has 25 years of publishing experience and has been involved in the publication of children's books as diverse as The Gruffalo and The Hunger Games. She regularly speaks at events for authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, librarians and teachers around the world. In 2011, she won the Mumpreneur Inspiring Business Mum of the Year award.
Lucy Coats has worked as a children's editor and bookseller before turning to full-time writing, and is the author of many titles for all ages, including the bestselling Atticus the Storyteller's 100 Greek Myths which was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. Her next picture book, Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party will be published in February 2014 by Nosy Crow, and she has further forthcoming titles from Orchard Books and Grosset and Dunlap USA. Lucy lives with her husband, grown-up children and 10,000 books in Northamptonshire. She is also a regular blogger, writes for Mslexia and Publishing Talk, and tweets as @lucycoats.
Mary Hoffman has written over a hundred books for children and teenagers. Amazing Grace – now nearing its 25th anniversary – was a New York Times bestseller and has, along with the other books about Grace, sold a million and a half copies around the world. Her Stravaganza sequence of fantasy novels for Bloomsbury has been translated into 28 languages, even beating Harry Potter to a Russian edition! Mary will be discussing the importance of world building, which she believes requires serious attention from all writers of fiction, even if it has a so-called realistic setting. Mary also blogs regularly about books, writing and the publishing industry, especially children's, and tweets as @MARYMHOFFMAN
Michelle Lovric is an acclaimed writer of historical fiction for both children and adults. She has particular interests in art, medical history and Venice, where she lives and sets her stories. Her adult novel The Remedy was longlisted for the Orange Prize and The Book of Human Skin was a TV Book Club Summer Read. Her first children's novel, The Undrowned Child, has been followed by The Mourning Emporium and Talina in the Tower and, most recently, The Fate in the Box. For the past three years, Michelle has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She's also a consultant for The Writers' Workshop, undertaking structural edits for aspiring novelists. Two of her poems have just been shortlisted for The Bridport Prize.
Hilary Delamere is a children's literary agent, representing children's authors and illustrators including Michael Bond, Raymond Briggs, Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman and the estate of Siobhan Dowd. Having run the rights department at Puffin, Hilary has inside knowledge of publishing as well as agenting, and a total almost 30 years of experience in the children's book industry.
Suw Charman-Anderson describes herself as an author, technologist and bookbinder. Suw will be discussing one of her main areas of expertise is social media, and particularly how authors and publishers can use social media to build their brands and create communities. Suw is also the founder of Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women's achievements in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths.
Tracey Corderoy is now the published author of 37 books, but has gone from unpublished author to the author of tens of books in the last two years. She writes a range of material, from picture books to fiction for 8+ year olds. Both Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam and Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Bake Off are currently among Waterstones's strongest sellers. Tracey is gaining a reputation as an extraordinary creator of events for children, drawing on her crafting skills and her experience as a teacher.
Catherine Stokes is the second-in-command at Bounce Marketing. Representing Nosy Crow as well as renowned publishers including Egmont, National Geographic Children's Books and Scholastic Children's Books, Bounce Marketing is a sales agency with the UK's biggest specialist children's book sales force. Before joining Bounce, Catherine was marketing director at OUP Children's Books and has a rounded knowledge of the UK bookselling business.
Helen Peters is an inspiring slushpile to success story. Her first book, found by Nosy Crow on the slushpile after being rejected by many authors and agents, has now sold 25,000 copies and will be published in French next year. The Secret Hen House Theatre was shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize. The Guardian said it was "utterly convincing", the Daily Mirror called it "a fabulous debut novel", while Michael Morpurgo described it as, "Full of action, with a happy ending… a book I didn't want to finish." He meant that last comment is a good way.
When & Where
Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.
Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.
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