How to write for children

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The Guardian

Kings Place

90 York Way


N1 9GU

United Kingdom

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How to write stories to fascinate and entertain the toughest audience in literature

Have you ever dreamed of writing books for children? From planning an entertaining plot to creating a credible child voice, this one-day workshop will teach you the skills essential to keeping a young audience enthralled by your storytelling. Bestselling children's author Lucy Coats will reveal the archetypes of children's fiction and how to turn them into engaging tales relevant to modern young people. The workshop will also include practical writing sessions and workshopping of participants' compositions.

The aim of the masterclass is for all participants to go away equipped with a wider knowledge of what writing children's (aged 7–12) books is all about, some practical new writing skills (as well as new work and ideas of their own) and a sense of achievement, purpose and determination to succeed in this excitingly vibrant writing field.

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 unique personalised works of fiction for your own children or relatives.

Course description

Establishing a thorough grounding of the mechanics and motivations of writing stories for children, this engaging full-day course covers the structure, plotting, writing and publishing of fiction aimed primarily at children aged 7–12. Topics covered on the day 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
  • How to plan a perfect plot
  • How to use backstory without being boring
  • How to write dialogue that makes your story flow

PLEASE NOTE: Attendees should read or familiarise themselves with as many modern children's books as possible before the course. You will be sent a list of suggested reading one week before the event (or, for late sign-ups, shortly after you buy your ticket).

Tutor profile

Lucy Coats 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 latest picture book, Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party has just been published by Nosy Crow, and the first of her two Young Adult novels about the young Cleopatra will be published by Orchard Books in early 2015. 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.

Speaker profile

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 long-listed 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 Lovric has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She's a consultant for The Writers' Workshop, undertaking structural edits for aspiring novelists. She also blogs on Venetian life, writing and research. Her new novel for adults, The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters comes out on 5th June 2014 and is published by Bloomsbury.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website