Children's Writing

Learn to write picture books, junior fiction, and young adult novels. Discover key differences between genres, the secrets of structure and planning, how to write realistic dialogue, and more. Excellent for aspiring and long term writers alike.

Course Code: BWR104
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Get started!

Write your first children's book

Drawing on writing craft and child psychology, this course will will help you write strong, authentic stories that will speak to your readers.

As you work through this course, you'll analyse current trends and successful children's books, develop one or more stories, and workshop existing material.

This course is excellent for aspiring writers seeking to build confidence in their abilities, or improve their fundamentals.  It will also help more experienced writers develop a deeper understanding of genre, modes, and writing types, or an introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of creative writing.

You will study:

  • short stories
  • non-fiction for children
  • picture books
  • novels
  • revision processes

Student Comment:
"I never considered children’s writing very stimulating, until now". — Janine

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Understanding Children
    • Children's thoughts
    • Children's needs
    • Child development.
  2. Overview of Children’s Writing
    • Categories (fiction & non fiction)
    • Understanding the market place
    • Analyse and understand what is needed for the different categories, etc.
  3. Conceptualisation: Conceiving a concept
    • Where & how to find inspiration/influence.
    • Developing a concept
    • How to plan.
  4. Children’s Writing for Periodicals
    • Children’s pages in magazines
    • Newspapers, etc.
  5. Short Stories
  6. Non-Fiction
    • Texts (writing to satisfy curriculum).
    • Other (eg. nature, history, biography, hobbies).
  7. Fiction
    • Settings
    • Characterisation
    • Fantasy
    • Science fiction
    • Adventure.
  8. Picture Books and Story Books
    • Differences between types of picture books
    • Age groups and picture books
  9. Editing your work
    • Grammar
    • Spelling & punctuation
    • Improving clarity
    • Cleaning out clutter
    • Expansions.
  10. Project
    • Write a short story, picture book or kids page for a (hypothetical) periodical.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe children’s cognitive development and target writing to be appropriate to various developmental stages.
  • Explain the nature and scope of writing for children.
  • Describe the process of planning a written manuscript of children’s writing.
  • Describe the planning and processes involved in writing articles for children’s magazines.
  • Develop a short story for children to read.
  • Discuss the specific requirements associated with writing children’s non-fiction
  • Describe the various categories of children’s fiction and the writing processes involved.
  • Explain the scope and nature of literature aimed at young children.
  • Explain the scope and significance of editing skills and processes for children’s writing.
  • Plan, evaluate, edit and present a piece of writing for children.

What You Will Do

  • Develop lists of imaginary titles and brief descriptions of stories that would be appropriate in your society (or country) for children of different age groups.
  • Analyse the page(s) in a text aimed at children in terms of language complexity and style, conciseness of the writing, content, graphic layout, and more.
  • Determine concepts for children’s writing.
  • Develop outlines that would help you to write about each concept.
  • Develop a set of guidelines (or a plan), that a writer should follow in regular preparation of a children’s page in a newspaper, and consider what, in your opinion, is the purpose of a children’s page in a daily newspaper.
  • Discuss how you would approach writing a comic, and why you think this would be the best approach for you?
  • Write short articles or stories, suitable for situations such as: An educational magazine, A preschooler or infant magazine, or a magazine for teenage boys or girls.
  • Write a short story.
  • Identify a non-fiction book for children which you would be suited to write.
  • Write an outline for a proposed non-fiction book. In your outline, you would include a list of major subject areas (or chapters) that the book would cover and a brief description of the content of each chapter. Include a brief description of how the book would be illustrated (ie. are photos appropriate, or line drawings, paintings, etc?). You would then write one or two pages for your non-fiction book.
  • Write a fantasy, adventure or science fiction short story for a 7-8 year old, which fits specified criteria.
  • Write a story for a 5-6 year old child.
  • Edit some sample short articles.
  • Plan, then write, a children’s short story, a picture book or children’s pages for a newspaper.

New opportunities every day

Children's writing is about more than books: web content, game content, educational content, and apps for children all require understanding of this specialised audience.

Educational texts published as ebooks are increasingly used by schools as they move to children using readers and computers.

Children research their school work online; and read all sorts of things online today.

Writing for children is easier for some people than others. It requires not only an ability to write; but also an understanding of children; and how the needs, interests and abilities of children vary at different ages.

Opportunities to write for printed books have diminished. At the same time, other opportunities have emerged though. Children are reading more than ever; and this means that opportunities to write for children are greater than ever. The trick is to find where the new opportunities are; and carve out an income from those opportunities.

In the past, children's writers began their career by submitting manuscripts to publishers; and persisting with that approach; until they finally got something published and started to build a reputation.

That approach may still occasionally work; but for most  there are other ways which are more likely to bring dividends.

Editors are receiving so many manuscripts from would-be children’s writers that many are strictly limiting what they will accept. Many publishers will no longer accept submissions for picture books. With so much to choose from, and so many publishers, the children’s book market is highly competitive and editors can afford to demand high quality and uniqueness.

Some editors will only consider books that they know will sell well. Some publishers might accept an exceptional book or one that is different on the chance that it becomes a new best-seller, but most have exacting requirements, and the writer must do the research needed to know what the publisher wants. On the other hand, publishing is a changing business, reflecting the sometimes rapid changes in readers’ tastes and expectations and reading levels.

Before starting out as a children’s writer it is important that you clearly identify the age group and genre you wish to write for.



TIPS FOR STARTING TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILDREN'S WRITING

  • Learn to better understand children.
  • Focus on the message. It is essential to have a clear focus on the information that you want to convey. When writing is verbose (too wordy), the reader will find it more difficult to focus on the key facts. Therefore, an important skill is to reduce wordiness. 
  • Be self critical. Learn to step outside your own natural perspective to look at your work as others might. Imagine who might read your work, and consider how you might target different people in your audience. When writing for popular newspapers and magazines, you will write for a great range of people, from uneducated unemployed people, to highly qualified academics. Your content can remain complex, but if you want all these readers to understand you, the delivery must be as simple and uncomplicated as possible.
  • If you have a choice, use simpler words with fewer letters and fewer syllables. Use words that are most familiar to the receiver. If you use a word in a way that is not familiar to the reader, you can help the reader understand what you want to get across by using the word in a context that clarifies the meaning. If the word itself might not be familiar, explain the word within the text (in fictional writing), or use a footnote (in non-fictional writing) to explain the meaning. Some ways to avoid misunderstanding are described in the following section.
  • If you have a choice, write shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs. This is particularly relevant to non-fiction writing where the message must be very clear and concise. In fictional writing, however, and also in some non-fiction such as essays, brevity is not always appropriate or desirable. Sometimes, wordiness and complexity can add an important dimension to the atmosphere, tone and meaning of a text, and are needed to reflect a particular personality, perspective or historical period. If wordiness and complexity are not key elements of the story or text, it is best to avoid them, especially if you are a beginning writer.
  • Where possible, present complex factual information in tables, charts, graphs or in point form to allow it to be grasped more readily.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).




Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience.
Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear

John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.
J

Rachel Syers

Rachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affa





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jenny Bragg

MA (Professional Hospitality & Tourism Management), PGCE (Post Compulsory Education), BA (Hons) Hospitality Business Management.

Jenny has experience across many different business areas including marketing, operations management and human resources, her speciality fields are events, hospitality and tourism. She has worked in a number of different service sector organisations including hotels, restaurants, bars and specialist event providers. Jenny is a trained teacher and has worked with different educational bodies in the UK, as well as providing a consultancy service to the business and events sector.

Rosemary Davies

B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.

She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.

Tracey Jones

B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.


I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.