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Your Children's Book - September 2019

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Start: 4th September 2019 - 6:00pm

Finish: 2nd October 2019 - 8:30pm


How to Write and Pitch Your Children's Book: From Picture Books to YA Fiction

Do you aspire to see your work sat on the shelves in bookshops next to Julia Donaldson, Robin Stevens, Holly Bourne, and a whole host of other brilliant writers?

If so, join us in the heart of literary London for five stimulating weeks of practical workshops and expert advice from course leader Caroline Green, an award-winning writer for young people and Sunday Times best-selling writer of adult fiction. Students will explore essential elements of writing for a wide range of ages, including: how to take an initial idea and develop it into a story that others will want to read; how to craft memorable characters; and how to write vivid settings. All attendees will gain an understanding of how the children's book market works and learn how to make their manuscript stand out in the slush pile.

The course has been designed to benefit authors at all stages of their writing journey, so whether you have an initial idea and want to know where to start, or have a full draft and need help with revising and making it the best it can possibly be, this is the course for you.

Each week will combine tutorials with practical exercises, discussion and feedback. Guest speakers to be confirmed shortly. Furthermore, all attendees will receive a critique of up to 5,000 words of their writing and a copy of the latest edition of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook.

Based in the offices of Bloomsbury Publishing, each evening session will run from 6-8.30pm, making it ideal for those with full-time jobs and other commitments. 

The course includes:

- 12.5 hours of expert tutoring and advice from a combination of leading authors and publishing industry professionals

- Practical sessions with hands-on exercises based around your own writing

- A written review of a section of your manuscript (up to 5,000 words)

- The chance to study in a small seminar group at the historic offices of Bloomsbury Publishing 

- Exclusive discounts on W&A products and a copy of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook


Week One: Seeing through a child’s eye and creating believable characters

Wednesday 4th September

- An introduction to the children’s book world, and dealing with some of the myths surrounding children’s fiction

- How to see the world through a child’s perspective and write accordingly

- Writing exercises to get into mindset of young readers, plus group discussion and sharing time

- Understanding characterisation

- How to create memorable characters that live off the page for any age group

- Writing exercises on developing characters

- How to write sparkling dialogue

Week Two: Crafting stories. How to plot your children’s book

Wednesday 11th September

- Where to start a story: methods and tips for making the initial move from an idea to words on a page

- A look at the ‘snowflake’ method and exercise writing elevator pitches for book ideas

- Understanding plot structure. A look at three acts and five acts and the ‘marvellous midpoint.’

- Understanding causality and conflict in plotting

- Exercises, discussion and sharing time

Week Three: Bringing richness to your work through setting and description

Wednesday 18th September

- Creating fictional places, including ‘other world’s (speculative fiction)

- Using effective description and understanding ‘show, not tell.’

- A look at ‘psychic distance’ and point-of-view

- Exercises, sharing and discussion time

Week Four: Understanding picture books and middle grade fiction

Wednesday 25th September

Caroline will be joined by author Matt Killeen

- Picture books: How to get the right tone for the youngest readers of fiction

- How to lay out picture books in the correct way to pitch to the industry

- Practical exercise, re-telling a well-known story into twelve spreads

- Middle grade fiction: how to write for this age of independent readers, who are starting to see their place in the wider world for the first time

- Exercises, sharing and discussion time

Week Five: Young Adult fiction and pitching your work

Wednesday 2nd October

Caroline will be joined by Zoe Griffiths, Editorial Director for Fiction at Bloomsbury Children's Books

- Writing for Young Adults: how far can you go?

- How to present sensitive issues to this age  group and keep them entertained

- Pitching your work to the industry

- Dos and don’ts of submission process

- Tips from an expert on what the industry is looking for right now and how to make sure your work stands out in the slush pile.


From previous attendees of Writers' & Artists' children's writing events and courses:

“It was amazing. So much content. I'm going to be digesting [the course] over the coming months and it’s definitely going to make me a better writer… I had no idea how much 'crafting' my writing still needed.”

Alex Atkinson, Your Children’s Book student, February 2019

“I feel that I have been given the tools and techniques to write a successful book.  All I need to do now is put pen to paper once again!  Caroline has been an inspirational, honest and supportive mentor throughout the 5 weeks. I also feel privileged to have met such a wonderful group of people who have now become my writing buddies! I would highly recommend this course to anybody who is at any stage of their writing journey.”

Leanne Altberg, Your Children’s Book student, February 2019

“Each week was to the same high standard. The balance of the five weeks was so good – both in the split of content and also the guests.”

Anon, Your Children’s Book student, February 2019

Speaker Profiles

Caroline Green is an award-winning, best-selling author of fiction for both young people and adults. Her first book, Dark Ride, won the Waverton Good Read Award and the RoNA Young Adult Novel of the year in 2011. Cracks, her second book, was nominated for nine awards and featured on Radio Four’s Open Book as one of its teen reads of 2013. Hold Your Breath, her third, won the Oldham Brilliant Book Award for the Young Adult category. Writing as Cass Green, her adult debut The Woman Next Door was a Number 1 e-book bestseller. In A Cottage, In A Wood, her second adult novel, was a Sunday Times and USA Today bestseller. Caroline works extensively in schools teaching creative writing and is currently Writer in Residence at East Barnet School. She also teaches a writing crime fiction course at City University.

Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham and, like many of his generation, was absorbed by tales of the war and obsessed with football from an early age. Guitars arrived at fourteen, wrecking any hopes of so-called normality. He has had a great many careers – some creative, some involving laser guns – and has made a living as an advertising copywriter and largely ignored music and sports journalist. He fulfilled a childhood ambition and became a writer for the world’s best-loved toy company in 2010. 

Orphan Monster Spy, his first novel, was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards and the Branford Boase Award. The sequel, Devil Darling Spy, will be published in Spring 2020.

He lives near London with his soulmate, children, dog and musical instruments, looking wistfully north at a hometown that has been largely demolished & rebuilt in his lengthy absence.

@by_Matt_Killeen #OrphanMonsterSpy

Zöe Griffiths is Editorial Director for Fiction at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She works across the fiction list from 5+ to YA and with authors Sarah Crossan, AF Harrold, Michael Rosen, Lucy Worsley, Kesia Lupo and Jo Simmons to name a few. She has worked at Bloomsbury for 5 years and was previously at Scholastic and Hodder.

Event Details

The event will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. 

Booking & Payment

The course fee of £350 (inc. VAT) is payable in full online. 

Please do contact us if you wish to discuss an instalment payment plan by calling 0207 631 5985 or by sending an email to

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other writing courses by visiting our Events homepage.