Children's Book I — Syllabus

Introduction to Children's Books: The different categories of children's books. Constants and variables in children's books. Vocabulary, darkness, humor, series, anthropomorphism. Specific requirements of picture books. Where to find inspiration and ideas. The importance of craft.

Plot: Finding a major dramatic question. Shaping a picture book plot. Shaping a longer book plot. Pros and cons of outlining.

Character: Where to find characters. Making characters dimensional through desire and contrasts. Creating character profiles. Showing vs. Telling. Methods for showing characters. Animal characters.

Point of View/Voice: Point of view defined. Exploration of the various types of point of view. Voice defined. Exploration of the various types of voice. Tips for finding your voice.

Description: Using the senses. Specificity. Techniques for creativity. Finding the right words. Economy. Merging description with point of view.

Dialogue: The importance of scene. Dialogue's illusion of reality. Quotation marks and tags. Stage directions. Summarized dialogue. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext.

Setting/Fantasy: Creating setting through time, place, and weather. Description of setting. When setting is a major character. Fantasy logic and details. Finding a fresh fantasy world.

Nonfiction: Pros of writing a nonfiction children's book. The spectrum of nonfiction. Shaping nonfiction into a story. Choosing a topic. Nonfiction book proposals.

Theme: Theme defined. Types of theme. Weaving theme into a story.

Revision: Exploration of the various stages of revision.

The Business: Proper format for manuscripts. How to target publishing houses and agents. How to send your work out. Query letters.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.