Writing Courses

© Susi Schaefer

Online and In Person Courses That Will Make You a Better Writer

There are many course available to help you with your writing. These are the courses that we or our writing friends have taken that we recommend.


Comprehensive list of SCBWI webinars - Webinars on a variety of topics, including Marketing & Promotion for Authors, Writing Nonfiction Picture Books, Writing Middle Grade Mystery, Amazon SEO for Authors, Portfolio 101 Development, and Much More.
Oct. 6, 7-9 p.m. ET Getting Your Graphic Novel Published. Join literary agent Maria Vicente, who teaches you how to turn your book idea from sketches in a notebook to a professional pitch package ready to share with agents and editors. ($58)


The Lyrical Language Lab: Punch up Your Prose . . . with PoetryChildren's poet/author Renée LaTulippe presents a fabulous six-week online course for children's writers that covers meter, rhyme, lyrical language, and how to incorporate poetic techniques into all writing, both rhyme and prose. We were beta testers of this course and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Lyrical Language Lab Peek & Critique- The Lyrical Language Lab Peek & Critique: YouTube video series by Renée LaTulippe providing free critiques of your kidlit writing as well as free lessons and mentor text discussions.

Laura Purdy Salas courses online courses on writing poetry and nonfiction for children and submissions 


Storyteller Academy  is founded by Arree Chung, a picture book author/illustrator who publishes with MacMillan, Harper Collins, Bloomsbury and Abrams. His NINJA! series has earned starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Arree shares his experience, insights, and creative process to help you grow as a storyteller. You'll receive practical advice on mindset, overcoming imposter syndrome, and how to grow your creativity. Arree also walks you through the creative process of making a picture book dummy from scratch. The course emphasizes developing your story. With bi-weekly critique groups, and a Storyteller Workshop, you'll have creative community to support you. 

Revise and Re-imagine This is a revised (of course) version of "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Novel or Chapter Book," a webinar class in which we teach about revision from our point of view as editors and offer revision tools that we know work.

Susanna Leonard Hill's Making Picture Book Magic- Susanna Leonard Hill's course is one of the best online courses for picture book writing. Not only is the information chunked and wonderfully presented, at the end of the course you are invited to join a Facebook group with other MPBM Graduates, which are a phenomenal group of people. Well worth the nominal fee that she charges to improve your craft. 

Just Write For Kids- Emma Walton Hamilton provides an 8 week online course dedicated to developing your picture book idea and learning how to break into the industry. She also features many classes and resources on her website.

Online Workshops with Anastasia Suen
The author of 169 books for children, teens and adults has been teaching adults how to write children's books since 1999. Currently offering three online writing workshops: Intensive Picture Book Workshop, Children's Novel Workshop, and Young Nonfiction Workshop

Writing Picture Books for Children - fiction and nonfiction author Patrice Sherman's course of writing books for children

Art of Arc: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript A master class in picture book writing by author Alayne Kay Christian, focusing on a deep study of the traditional story arc as well as other story structures.  

Children's Book Insider's Picture Book Blueprint walks you through the process of writing a picture book step-by-step, including creating your characters, designing a plot, building excitement, and writing your draft.

Karla Valenti's Master Course in Picture Books  A step-by-step, hands-on version of James Gardner's "The Art of Fiction," but specifically for PB writers. A great tool, especially for those starting out, since everything is laid out in bite-size pieces. It also encourages writers to engage with the current PB market, and to apply each principle learned to their own work-in-progress.

Writing Barn Online Courses - Intensive six-week online courses on picture book writing and other writing courses.

Children's Book Academy - interactive courses on the craft and business of writing and illustrating children's books. Upcoming Aug. 31 course on illustration with HMH art director Andrea Miller, illustrator Larissa Marantz, and CBA director Mira Reisberg.

The Heart of Picture Books (course by Julie Hedlund)  In this webinar, find out: 
  • Top 10 layers of great picture books
  • What the HEART layer is and why it is so important
  • What words agents and editors use to reject manuscripts that don't have enough heart
  • Examples and analysis of picture books with big heart
  • How to write with heart
  • Pitfalls to avoid
  • Questions to ask of yourself and beta readers when evaluating your manuscripts for heart


Editor in a Box: Emma Walton Hamilton's Editor in a Box contains everything you need to get your picture book, chapter book or middle grade or YA novel into the best possible shape for submission to agents, editors and publishers. 

Just Write for Middle Grade! Emma Walton Hamilton's 14 week course on writing chapter books and middle grade 

Just Write for Young Adults! Emma Walton Hamilton's 14 week course on writing YA

Chapter Book Alchemist with Mira Reisberg & Hillary Homzie

Children's Book Insider's Chapter Book Blueprint walks you through the process of writing a chapter book, with author Alice Kuipers. 


Inked Voices (small critique groups led by editor, agent, or professional author)


Julie Hedlund's- How To Make Money As a Writer- What if you could spend all day, every day, thinking about writing, using your skills to make money, and have MORE time to write?

Now you can. This course is designed to benefit ALL writers, from newbie to multi-published. For ANYONE who wants to make more money from writing and writing-related activities.

Emma Walton Hamilton and Julie Hedlund's comprehensive course on Picture Book Submissions

Graduate Programs

If you are ready to commit to graduate-level education in creative writing for children and teens, here are some programs:

Southampton Graduate Arts Program - Children's Lit Fellow -- a year long low-residency certificate program for PB, MG, or YA authors. Two semesters of mentorship and two conferences, one focused on writing craft and another on the publication process. 

Children's Lit Fellows The Children's Lit Fellows is a year-long certificate program that provides up to 12 serious children's or YA writers a year-long course of advanced instruction primarily in distance-learning format that is customized, affordable, comprehensive, and professionally useful. Fellows work from home, mentored on-on-one by award-winning, best-selling children's and young adult authors and editors. Twice a year, they come together as a cohort - once in July during the Southampton Children's Lit Conference and a second time in January for a special Publishing and Editing Conference. 

Hamlin MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults - earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in two years. Work from home and travel to Hamlin twice a year for five 11-day writing residencies. Learn all about the craft of writing for children and teens, as well as the history of children's literature and the industry.

The MFA Cheat Sheet - a review of 5 low-residency MFA programs, including Hollins University, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Hamlin University, Simmons College, and Spaulding University.

Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe- A low residency MFA in Writing has added a new MFA track in Writing for Children and Young Adults.