Writing Stories for Children – register this weekend!

If you wish to take this great course by Ellen Schwartz, you must register by Monday, February 9th, at 10 am.


Writing Stories for Children

3 Saturdays, February 14-28, 9 am–4 pm, February 14-28, Vancouver
Instructor: Ellen Schwartz
Fee $410 / WRIT 333

Course description:

The field of children’s literature is a vibrant and competitive one. Books for young readers are more visually appealing, informative and imaginative than ever. This course is for those who want to learn the basics of writing a vivid and engaging story for children. It covers the craft of writing for young readers as well as the business of marketing stories to publishers. Topics include character development, plot, setting, point of view, dialogue and self-editing. The class includes discussion, small group work, in-class writing exercises and constructive group critique. Participants will have the opportunity to work in variety of genres from picture books through novels and non-fiction books.


None – but it helps to have read widely in recent children’s literature.

What will I learn?
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Discuss the similarities and differences between writing for children and writing for adults
Identify and describe the genres of children’s books
Describe the characteristics of a good children’s book
Name at least two ways to get to know your characters
State two qualities that make a satisfying resolution of a story
Recognize plot problems in a children’s story
Discuss what happens in an effective scene
Access sources of information about children’s book publishers
By the end of the course, you will be able to:

Use several different techniques for developing and revealing characters
Describe and trace the story arc of a children’s story
Solve plot problems in your own story
Write from a consistent and effective point of view
Write convincing dialogue
Write an effective scene with narrative, action and dialogue
Edit your own writing for greater clarity and force
How will I learn?

You will learn concepts and skills through the following activities:

Class discussions
Independent assignments (take-home)
Exercises (in-class)
What are my responsibilities?

You can expect to complete the following:

Assignments/reports/projects (weekly in-class exercises and homework assignments)
Sharing your work and critiquing others in small groups and with the class
How will I be evaluated?

To be announced.

The program will supply:
Custom course materials
Instructor biography
Ellen Schwartz has been writing since 1980 and has published 12 books for children as well as one non-fiction book for adults. The variety of kinds of writing in which she engages includes: picture books, early chapter books, novels and non-fiction books for young adults. She has also published dozens of magazine articles and short stories for adults.

Ellen Schwartz’ books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the BC Book Prizes (Christie Harris Illustrated Book Award), the Marilyn Baillie Children’s Book Prize, the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Readers list, Booklist Magazine’s Top 10 Sports Books list, the Red Cedar Award, the Silver Birch Award and the Chocolate Lily Award.

She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 1988, with a major in writing for children. I have taught courses in writing for children at SFU Vancouver campus for many years and through Douglas College’s Creative Writing department.

Phone: 778.782.5093
Fax: 778.782.5098
web: www.sfu.ca/wp

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