February 17, 2011

How About A Writing Course?

Before we get involved in other things, let me take a second to remind you that the contest to win a signed copy of PENNY LOVES PINK is still open.  Please scroll down, read Cori's interview, and enter to win if you're interested.  You have until tomorrow (Friday Feb. 18) at 9 AM EST to enter, and it's a prize definitely worth winning!


I don't know about you, but I generally feel I need all the help I can get :)

When I go on school visits, and even teach writing workshops to kids, I always tell them that writing is a process.  Nobody gets it right the first time.  Revising and editing are part of the game.

Learning to write is also a process.  I'm sure there are lots of people out there who are truly masters of the craft, but I don't feel like I'm one of them just yet.  Although I have a number of books published, I still feel like I'm learning.  My writing can always get better.

Whether you're published already or not, if you feel like you have things to learn, or areas you could improve on, one great option is a writing course.

There are lots of them out there.  I can personally speak for those offered by the Institute of Children's Literature and Jordan Rosenfeld, both of which are available online.

If you'd like something more "real" (i.e. an actual physical class that you go to and see other people!) I can also highly recommend The ABCs of Writing or Children.  Here's the info if you're interested:

The ABCs of Writing for Children will be offered again at Merritt
Bookstore, Front Street, Millbrook, NY, on Tuesday afternoons from 1 – 3

Class will meet once a week for 6 weeks
Dates: April 5, April 12, (skipping April 19), April 26, May 3, May 10,
May 17

Karen Kaufman Orloff – ex-magazine editor and author of four picture books
PLEASE!) and a regular columnist for “The Poughkeepsie Journal”

Della Ross Ferreri: Author of two picture books (STAR OF THE SHOW, HOW
WILL I EVER SLEEP IN THIS BED?), and two beginning readers (PICNIC ON THE
SIDEWALK, HEY! YOU’RE EATING MY HOMEWORK!) plus numerous poems/articles in
children’s magazines

Class will cover:

• How to get ideas
• How to structure a story
• Writing in different genres, including rhyme
• Creating great characters
• First drafts and re-writing
• Writing effective query letters
• Submitting to publishers

In addition, there will be:

• Manuscript critiques
• In-class writing exercises
• Ample Q & A time

Small, intimate class setting. Informal atmosphere.


For more information, contact Karen ( 845-896-8038)

The only drawback with Karen and Della's class is that you have to live within driving distance of Millbrook, NY (or have a private jet - but I'm thinking most of us aren't quite there yet :))

Have any of you taken courses?  If so, please share them and tell us how your experience was and whether you'd recommend them!


  1. I've been to a conference, but haven't taken individual courses--thanks for the info!

  2. Conferences are terrific too. I love them. I wish I was able to attend more!

  3. I've just been on one and may latest post tells all (almost ) It was run by a Della in the UK and like you it's a case of being within driving distance. Well worth it though :O)

  4. I've taken an online writine course and loved it. It's called "How to Think Sideways" by Holly Lisle. I'm about to take her "How to Revise Your Novel" soon. You can take the 6 0r 12 month course. I took the 6 month version where you get a lesson a week and you have an online classroom and discussion boards. The graduates and Holly are there to answer questions and help you. HtTS course focuses mainly on how to develope your ideas and strutrue your book. HtRYN will cover everything else and then some. The first 6 weeks of HTTS is kinda slow but for a beginner it works well. The thing that sold me was I paid monthly and if I quit before that month was over I got my money back for the lessons not recieved. I would reccomend it. I have a link in my sidebar on my blog or you can just look her up.

  5. Holly's courses sound very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I would like to do an online course one day. I learn something new daily just by reading different blogs :)

  7. Thanks for popping by my blog.

    I do write YA books, but I also have one children's book (unpublished) I've written (for my son). Your covers are fantastic, I'd actually love to learn more about that process. I know NOTHING when it comes to publishing children's books and I can't draw for nothin'

    Nice to meet you.

  8. I haven't taken a course yet, but I did Mary Kole's Writers Digest webinar on publishing children's books and I loved it!

  9. Angela, lest you think I'm more talented than I am, I can't draw either, though I wish I could! I have been lucky to get some great illustrators. But as Karen said in her writing course blurb above, you don't have to be able to illustrate to write for children. Send your story to a publisher :)

    And Megan, I've never taken a webinar. How does it work?

  10. Hi there - I'm a fellow crusader, just stopping by to say "hi!"

    I've taken the Institute of Children's Literature's basic and advanced courses. They were both awesome and I highly recommend them!

  11. Susan - I took both those courses too and loved them - they were SO helpful.

    Lynda - if I haven't been to your blog yet, I'll be there soon!

    Thank you both for stopping by :)

  12. Sign me up in the, "all the help you can get" club! :0) Thanks for the info!


  13. E.J. - if your stories are as well-written as your blog, I don't think you need too much help! :)

  14. The webinar through WD was super easy! I just "bought" the course on their site and they sent me the link to click on when it was time for it to take place. I listened to it live on my computer speakers and was seeing a powerpoint presentation while she spoke. You could type in questions and Mary was nice enough to answer all questions and send them in an e-mail (so webinar time wasn't wasted). Very easy!

  15. Hmmm... that sounds like something even someone with my incredibly lack of technical skill could manage :) I'll have to look into some of those!

  16. Fellow crusader dropping by to say hey!

  17. I also took both of Holly Lisle's courses, and they were AMAZING.

    I'd wondered about the Institute... they send me material and I almost signed up once, but some commitments got in the way. If you had a good experience with them, I might consider it for the upcoming fall...

    (Also, hello from another Crusader!)

  18. Hi Faith - so nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by. I really did have a good experience with ICL, and I know a number of other people who also did. I would recommend it.


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