Writing Courses

© Joanie Stone

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.


12x12 Two-Pack Webinar with Jane Yolen and Emma Dryden Two of this year's most popular webinars from the 12x12 challenge, author Jane Yolen and editor Emma Dryden provide tips on writing amazing picture books.

Developing Your Writer's and Your Character's Voices - A Workshop/Webinar  Random House/Knopf editor Kelly Delaney and Children's Book Academy director Dr. Mira Reisberg, co-teachers of the Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books, created this webinar to teach writers about the many facets of voice, that mysterious quality that all agents and editors are looking for. In this offering, the recorded and edited webinar has been transformed into an at your own pace workshop complete with lots of instruction as well as super handy worksheets to find and develop your own writer's and your character's voices. 


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.

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

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 (http://www.sierranevada.edu/academics/humanities-social-sciences/mfa-in-creative-writing/children-young-adults/).


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

How to Write and Sell Your Picture Book - seven instructional videos from the Path to Publishing (literary agent Jill Corcoran and Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson), along with homework and interaction in a Facebook group.

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.  

Writing Picture Books Live with Ann Whitford Paul, School of Visual Storytelling  Join Ann Whitford Paul who wrote the book on writing picture books (WRITING PICTURE BOOKS: A HANDS ON GUIDE FROM STORY CREATION TO PUBLICATION) for a comprehensive 12-week course. Live class is sold out but you can buy replay.

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.


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. Get the discounted price for a limited time (until Nov. 21).

April 1 The Craft of MG: Mastering Middle Grade Novel Writing with Hillary Homzie and Dr. Mira Reisberg Join Children's Book Academy award-winning master teachers, Hillary Homzie and Dr. Mira Reisberg, as they help you write and sell those much-desired Middle Grade Novels in fun, highly interactive step-by-step trainings that will totally make it doable and fun! Up-grade your chapter book or even your picture book concept in ways that you can’t even imagine now to open new doors. Are you ready for an extraordinary adventure in this empowering, and highly interactive e-course with awesome, submission opportunities and tons of bonuses? The Children's Book Academy has a fantastic record of published students. 


Sally Apokedak Writing Workshops Literary Agent Sally Apokedak runs some pretty awesome workshops. Check it out!

Highlights Foundation Workshops. For 29 years, the Highlights Foundation has helped authors and illustrators hone their craft. Its workshops and retreats are held in the Pocono Mountains, near the Highlights office in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The workshops are led by children’s publishing professionals: editors, writers, art directors, publishers, agents, academics and others.

The Institute of Children's Literature Self-paced online writing classes with one-on-one critiques from writing professionals.

Joyce Sweeney Series of video classes on picture book and novel writing essentials.

Dee White offers several short online classes via her blog DeeScribewriting. Choose from Story Ideas, Great Characters or Plot.

List of Online Writing Courses, compiled by Vonna Carter

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. 

Gotham Writer's Workshop - excellent online writing workshops with group critiques. All categories, not just kid lit.


Video Idiot Boot Camp with Katie Davis  If you're a writer, you need to be making videos in today's technologically centered world. In her Video Boot Camp Katie walks you step by step throughout the process. 

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. Nov. 15 application deadline.

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.

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