An Introduction to Writing Children's Stories (short course)

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Why study this course?

From creating memorable characters to finding your unique writing voice, and developing exciting and engaging plots to using appropriate, enticing language, you'll be exploring what makes our best-loved children's books so wonderful, and how you can apply these techniques to your own writing.

More about this course

By the end of the course you will have a detailed understanding of the techniques used by leading children’s authors in creating some of our best-loved books. You will gain the confidence to start applying these techniques to your own work, and, if you wish, to the beginnings of a manuscript. You will be encouraged to share and comment on one another’s work and in doing so learn how to work collaboratively through the editorial process.

The course is taught by Marianne Levy.

Fees and key information

Course type
Short Course
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Who's this course for?

This course is aimed at beginners and those who want to explore different genres of writing.

Course structure

Week 1 - Identifying what readers respond to in children’s books:

You will be encouraged to discuss your own childhood reading. You will then be given a selection of children’s books to explore and discuss.

Week 2 - Voice:

What makes for a unique writing voice? How do you identify your own voice? We will examine a variety of texts and you will then hone your own writing voice with a series of exercises.

Week 3 - Character:

What makes for an engaging main character in a children’s book? We will discuss a selection of the most memorable characters in children’s stories. You will then be encouraged to come up with characters of your own and be shown how to develop your work.

Week 4 - Plot:

How are children’s books structured? How does this structure vary across picture books/young fiction/young adult? Can you see books in terms of their structures? How might you begin to apply structure to your own ideas?

Week 5 - Openings:

How do children’s authors begin their books? How do writers hook young readers, especially those who may not be confident in their reading skills? We will discuss a variety of texts. You will then be encouraged to write your own story openings and these will be discussed within the group.

Week 6 - Genre:

Children’s books come in a number of different forms, aimed at different age groups and in a variety of different styles. We will consider a number of types of book and explore which books you would read/like to write. You will be encouraged to write the same scene in a number of different styles and as a group you will listen and analyse the effectiveness of techniques.

Week 7 - Endings:

What makes for a satisfying ending to a children’s book? What journey has a character been on and how has it been resolved? This week will examine chapter endings, cliffhangers and the difference between standalone books and books that are part of a series.

Week 8 - Why write for children?

In this final session you will be encouraged to consider the purpose of children’s books. Are they to entertain, to educate or both? What, for them, makes a children’s book a classic? What books would you give to their own children? With all this in mind, how might you reconsider any ideas you are currently working on? You will be encouraged to pitch one another ideas, share what you have been working on, and you will finish the course with the tools needed to complete the first draft of your own manuscript.

Course dates

Dates Autumn dates will be confirmed in August
Length One day a week for eight sessions
Day and time Saturday, 10am to 12pm
Maximum class size 15
Contact hours 16


A 20% discount is available for:

  • those who are registered as unemployed and in receipt of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
  • those whose sole or main income is a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) state retirement pension
  • those who are registered as disabled and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • full-time and part-time UK students on credit-bearing courses
  • London Metropolitan University students on year-long day courses
  • London Metropolitan University alumni members
  • London Metropolitan University staff

If you're eligible for the 20% discount, please contact us before booking.

What's included in the price?

The cost of materials is included in the course fee.

Terms and conditions

Please read our terms and conditions before booking.

How to apply

Booking for this course isn't open at this time as the dates of the next intake are not yet confirmed. Please get in touch for further information or register your interest to receive notification as soon as booking opens.

When to apply

Please note, the deadline to book a place on one of our short courses is one week before the start date. If you have missed the deadline, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate you.