The internet is full of online writers’ workshops and sifting through them to find high-quality classes for writing children’s literature can be quite time-consuming. I’ve tried to bring focus to this search by gathering a list of online workshops for writers of picture books, middle grade and young adult, though some classes are also for writers of adult literature. Many of these websites/organizations offer several kinds of classes with dates that vary, so instead of listing the individual classes, I’m providing a link to the main site. Please note that a listing here does not mean that class, teacher or organization has my personal endorsement. I will add more workshops as I find them.
Always be sure to research the organization and instructors before signing up for any online classes. I welcome updates and corrections! Please send me a note through my Contact page. Follow my tweets for more writing workshop info.
For a list of things to consider when choosing an online class, please see my guest post on Dear Editor.
Online Writers’ Workshops/Classes
A Path to Publishing
Presented by literary agent Jill Corcoran and THE PLOT WHISPERER author Martha Alderson. The Plot Whisperer Workbook Workshop Series consists of four 4-week workshops which takes you through the process of developing your concept into a story. The PICTURE BOOK WORKSHOP is 2 1/4 hours per week x 4 weeks for a total of 9 hours of Online Video Chat Face-to-Face with Jill and Martha.
Anastasia Suen is the author of 160 books for children and adults, a literacy blogger, a children’s literature consultant for several publishers. Anastasia Suen conducts online workshops for Picture Books, Beginning Readers, Chapter Books and Young Nonfiction.
Australian Writers Center
Various online courses, including Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult, as well as many courses which are not specific to children’s literature.
Backspace Writers Conference
Attend the online version of Backspace’s renowned query letter and opening 2 pages workshops and get feedback from four agents on your submission materials!
Before You Hit Send
Join Angela James, an eleven-year veteran of the editing profession and current editorial director of Harlequin’s Carina Press for a three-week self-editing workshop. This is a work-at-your-own-pace workshop, so participants don’t need to be available at a certain time of day.
Blue Elephant Storyshaping
Natascha Biebow, picture book author and Regional Advisor for the British Isles chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators offers a six-week structured coaching experience, with individualized and group feedback on your picture books.
The Children’s Book Academy
Headed by literary agent Mira Reisberg, these are uniquely innovative courses that include videos, interviews, lessons, demonstrations, and activities that will help you write and/or illustrate extraordinary literature for children and young adults.
Children’s Illustration Portfolio CRASH! (The Space Monkeys)
Whether you’re just starting out or in a bit of a rut, if your children’s illustration portfolio needs a complete overhaul or creating from scratch, this twelve week workshop from illustrator Maxine Lee is a creative crash course. By the end you will have a new portfolio of work. No excuses or missing deadlines; this is not for wimps.
Runs September 19-December 12; Registration closes August 19, 2015
Colorado Romance Writers
All workshops are conducted via EMAIL only, no real-time or live chats. Workshops are open to everyone interested in the subject matter, regardless if you are a writer or your location. Not specific to children’s and YA.
Curtis Brown Creative
The Curtis Brown Creative Online Writing for Children Course will provide expert teaching and one-to-one tuition for those writing Middle Grade or Young Adult novels. The course is led by bestselling children’s author Catherine Johnson and will feature input from Curtis Brown agents Stephanie Thwaites and Lauren Pearson. Different countries and time zones welcome; this UK based course is incredibly flexible time-wise.
2015 Program: Sept. 21-Dec. 13. Limit 15, selected on the basis of ability as demonstrated in applications. Please note: the extract submitted must come from the novel you’re planning to work on during the course.
Writing teacher Darcy Pattison, known for her Novel Revision Retreat, will explain writing concepts, tips, strategies. The on-demand format allows you to fit the courses into your busy schedule. You access the videos any time day or night.
Dean Wesley Smith
A variety of workshops, such as: Genre Structure, Plot, Cliffhangers, Pacing, World Building, and Promotion. Each 6 week workshop is limited to around twelve people. (Workshops require about four hours per week to complete.) Not specific to children’s and YA.
Essentials of Fiction Writing: Joyce Sweeney
Step by step instructions—everything from book planning to marketing in this comprehensive, easy-to-understand 10-week course. Not specific to children’s and YA.
Gotham Writers Workshop: Children’s Literature Workshops
The Gotham Writer’s Workshop offers courses for picture books, EZ readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. These courses teach such craft elements as character, plot, point of view, description, dialogue, setting, voice, and theme. You will also learn how and where to market your work.
James Patterson teaches Writing
James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers, reveals his tricks of the trade. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process. Not specific to children’s and YA.
Self-paced classes ranging from four to eight weeks with weekly assignments and discussion via a facebook group.
Just Write For Kids: Emma Walton Hamilton
An 8 week course in writing picture books from bestselling, award winning author Emma Walton Hamilton. Learn the fundamentals of writing picture books, including: finding ideas; developing characters, mapping a plot and identifying themes; engaging narrative, effective dialogue, successful beginnings, middles and endings; anthropomorphism; verse vs. prose and word play; editing and more.
Literary agent Jodell Sadler offers several webinars and workshops including KidLit College, Pacing Picture Books to WOW! and Pacing MG/YA Class.
Kidlit Writing School
Kidlit Writing School Offers online courses in all genres and aspects of children’s literature and our instructors are all published writers who can guide you through both the craft of writing for children and the business of children’s publishing.
Kids Book Revisions
Kid’s Book Revisions is a partnership between experienced children’s book editors Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown. Though most of this team’s offerings are for in-person workshops and retreats and manuscript revision, they also offer webinars on a variety of topics.
Lawson Writer’s Academy
Margie Lawson’s Lawson Writer’s Academy offers online classes for writers of all genres. Not all courses are specific to children’s and YA. New class in September: “No One Gets Me!” Writing Believable YA Characters
With LitReactor, you study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. Veteran authors and industry professionals host a wide range of classes in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. Not all workshops are specific to children’s and YA.
Offerings include novel writing, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, sci-fi, mystery, publishing & career, multigenre, and many more. Not all courses are specific to children’s and YA.
Low Country Romance Writers
Variety of craft subjects, taught over 2-3 weeks. Not specific to children’s and YA.
The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching up Prose with Poetry
The Lyrical Language Lab teaches children’s writers the poetic techniques that will make their writing more powerful and infuse their manuscripts with poetry, music and magic.
Making Picture Book Magic: Susanna Leonard Hill
Making Picture Book Magic is a 4 week course that will teach you how to write a picture book around the edges of your busy life for a price you can afford, in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The course starts each month on the first of the month. Course size is limited to 5-7 people each month.
June Illustration Contest! Susanna’ Hill’s 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest for Children’s Illustrators
Multi-session workshops and master classes with agents, editors and outstanding authors. Not all workshops are specific to children’s and YA.
Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust
Since 1996, the Odyssey Writing Workshop has become one of the most highly respected workshops for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in the world. Odyssey offers only three online courses per year to ensure high quality. Working with students during class meetings and in between classes, instructors, the very best in the field, are able to foster illuminating discussions and provide personalized, in-depth advice.
Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop: Publish a Picture Book!
This intensive online writing course is one-on-one between you and your instructor. The starting time and pace are completely up to you. This course explores the craft of writing and deals with the issue of marketing.
Pacing Picture Books to WOW! See Jodell Sadler, above.
Rosemary Clement Moore
Rosemary Clement Moore, a YA author, writing teacher and frequent conference presenter, is beginning to offer online classes of her most popular workshops. She will add classes based on interest and feedback. The classes are participatory, with an extended time for questions and personal feedback.
School of the Free Mind
The Heart of It: Crating Children’s Books that Matter is a 6-week course with children’s book author and artist, Maya Christina Gonzalez. This course offers writing exercises, hands-on art projects, in-depth book reviews, community interviews, Q&A webinars with special guests, and more all designed to offer a holistic approach to creating children’s books.
The School of Visual Storytelling
The School of Visual Storytelling teaches, empowers, and inspires artists who love to tell stories through their art. Each course is taught by WORKING professionals, giving contemporary advice and direction as to what’s relevant in the field right now.
Southern Tier Authors of Romance (STAR)
Online Workshops from highly-respected, successful authors. Workshops last four weeks, consist of a mix of lectures, exercises and discussions, and are conducted via a private listserv. All writers are welcome. Not specific to children’s and YA.
Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio
The Online Writer’s Studio, taught by instructors from Stanford’s writing community, include writing lessons and exercises, as well as feedback from an experienced instructor and fellow students. Not all courses are specific to children’s and YA.
UCLA Extension Writers’ Program: Writing for the Youth Market
UCLA Extension is one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive continuing higher education providers. UCLA Extension offers hundreds of writing classes, including a variety of online classes in writing for children and teens in the category of Writing for the Youth Market.
UCSanDiego Extension Writer’s Program: Writing for the Middle Grade/YA Reader
In this course, we will consider how a plot works, what makes a compelling character, and what drives a reader forward. Students will participate in an online critique group and have an opportunity to get their first five pages reviewed.
UIA MOOC (Masive Open Online Courses)
Funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of Iowa, the IWP’s MOOCs are available to anyone who wishes to enroll; there is no cost to participants and there are no application requirements. Not all courses are specific to children’s and YA.
Social Media, Writing Craft and Writing Business classes. Not specific to children’s and YA.
WOW: Women On Writing
WOW offers a four-week program with Margo L. Dill for anyone interested in writing a children’s chapter book or novel for middle-grade, tween, or young adult. At the end of four weeks, students have the option to renew their registration and continue in the class.
Offering online writing classes since 1995. Classes take place either on an educational web site or via e-mail lists. Courses offer extensive communication and interaction between students and instructors. Not all classes are specific to children’s and YA.
Writer’s Digest Shop
Webinars and Tutorials on writing and the business of writing. Not all workshops are specific to children’s and YA.
Writer’s Digest University
Writer’s Digest University is the only program of web-based writing instruction developed by Writer’s Digest—the organization that literally “wrote the book” on writing and getting published. Not all courses are specific to children’s and YA.
Writers Helping Writers
Webinars and workshops from the duo who brought you The Bookshelf Muse and The Emotional Thesaurus, Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman.
The Writers’ Workshop: From Here To Publication
This six-week course is designed for beginners who would like to see whether they can write successfully for children.
Writing Classes for Kids
As the name implies, this site offers writing workshops for children, but also offers six-week writing courses and mentoring for adult writers.
Writing 4Success offers two e-courses which run continuously from February through to November each year—Spotlight on Characters, and Spotlight on Plotting. You can sign up whenever you like, and enroll in two courses simultaneously or one at a time. Courses are not specific to children’s and YA.
Writing Rhyme to WOW!
Angie Karcher, founder of RhyPiBoMo (Rhyming Picture Book Month), offers a four week course, M-F with daily 45 minute lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, webinars and critique groups. Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.
YARWA—Young Adult Romance Writers of America
The Young Adult chapter of the Romance Writers of America celebrates all things YA, including online classes.