Course overview

 

Online teaching

We are now offering many of our courses online (over Zoom or similar platforms). No prior experience with these platforms is required. Continue learning with us by taking courses remotely via live distance learning.

 

On this 10-session online evening course led by award-winning children's author Sean Taylor, you will explore what makes a successful picture book story, and work towards writing one yourself.

The course will be a journey into the craft of writing picture book stories.

Picture books are illustrated stories for children aged 2-6. They are designed to be read together with adults and are often boxes of delight. Inside them, you find characters that children love from the opening words, engaging themes, page-turning stories, inventive illustrations, flights of imagination, humour, emotion, and endings which uplift, provoke, or surprise (or do all three!)

The picture book story form is simple and short – typically they are between 200 and 700 words long. But, as anyone who has tried to write one will know, the craft of writing them is anything but straightforward.

On this course, you will be led through an exploration of this special form of writing, by an author of with a deep experience of the form.

Themes explored will include:

  • creating characters that children love
  • technical aspects of picture book design/format
  • beginnings and endings
  • how to ‘keep writing young’
  • how to create page-turning stories
  • musical language
  • redrafting, shortening and polishing texts
  • emotion – the third dimension a story needs

The course will feature weekly challenges for you to work on between classes. You will also have the opportunity to attend a virtual question and answer session with Maria Tunney, Senior Editor at Walker Books.

You will be encouraged to write one or more picture book stories, one of which will be discussed in depth during a 30-minute one-to-one tutorial with Sean Taylor.

This course is open to participants with all levels of writing experience. The teaching style will be interactive and hands-on, and classes will be held online, using the Zoom platform.

Fees

£310

Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at shortcourses@gold.ac.uk so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

Please note our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

Sign up to be notified when new dates become available.

Enquiries

If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses (@gold.ac.uk) .

For information on our upcoming short courses please sign up to our mailing list.

Location

Online

Tutor information


Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor has published over 50 books for young readers. Some 30 of these are picture books for children aged 2-6. Among his best-known are HOOT OWL - MASTER OF DISGUISE, WHEN A MONSTER IS BORN, ROBOT RUMPUS, THE WORLD CHAMPION OF STAYING AWAKE, A BRAVE BEAR and DON’T CALL ME CHOOCHIE POOH! Sean is also an experienced teacher of adults and children.

 

Course structure

Week 1:
Introductions.
First explorations of what makes a successful picture book, in response to favourite picture books chosen by participants.

Week 2:
Continuing exploration of what makes a successful picture book in response to favourite picture books chosen by participants.
Creating characters that children will instantly fall in love with

Week 3:
Continuing exploration of what makes a successful picture book in response to favourite picture books chosen by participants.
Technical aspects of the picture book form including pagination and book design.
The importance of leaving space for illustrations.
The picture book tradition of containing the action within a single 24 hour period.


Week 4:
Continuing exploration of what makes a successful picture book in response to favourite picture books chosen by participants.
Beginnings and endings


Week 5:
Continuing exploration of what makes a successful picture book in response to favourite picture books chosen by participants.


Week 6:
Check-in on student writing progress.
Creating page-turning stories.
Visual variety.


Week 7:
Check-in on student writing progress.
Language: simplicity, music, rhythm, repetition. Leaving space for illustrations.


Week 8:
Check-in on student writing progress.
Redrafting, shortening and polishing texts.
Virtual visit from senior picture book editor at a leading children's publisher.


Week 9:
Check-in on student writing progress.
Emotion – the third dimensions a picture book story needs.


Week 10:
Rounding up the course. Left open for now in order to be responsive to participants’ needs and requests.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this short course, you will have gained:

  • Clarity about what makes a successful picture book story
  • Understanding of the picture book form's advantages and limitations
  • Confidence to write picture book stories
  • Knowledge of what picture book editors are looking for
  • Improved prospects of successfully taking a picture book story to publication

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