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The Grown-up Art of Writing for Children

ENGL 121.601
instructor(s):
Wednesday 4:30-7:30

 This course will focus on writing for children, while keeping in mind
the fact that people of all ages read the stories written for younger
people. We will read and discuss selected works each week, ranging from
picture books to young adult novels. Along the way students will meet
Skippyjon Jones, Auggie Pullman of WONDER, and Ponyboy Curtis of THE
OUTSIDERS, among other memorable characters. In addition, there will be
weekly writing assignments and in-class exercises, culminating in one
larger work each student will focus on for the second half of the semester.
We will study the elements of what makes a good story, how to create vivid
characters and bring them to life, building fictional worlds, the writing
process itself, the importance of revising, and a practical guide to
getting published. We will talk about trends in children’s literature from
vampires and wizards to reality-based fiction. A portion of each class will
also be dedicated to workshop time to share and critique each other’s work.
I will invite an author to visit our class to talk about his or her
experience as a published writer. This past semester I also had the founder
and president of a successful, local publishing house speak to the class
about the business side of writing. I would love to invite him back as
well. Advanced fiction writing experience is not required, but students
must be willing to stretch their writing skills, tak