The course offers you a developmental and directed learning pathway, within a context of considerable individual choice and freedom. The teaching materials offer background theoretical and historical information, and also contain extracts from contemporary books for children, accompanied by analysis and process-description of the work. The teaching materials contain clear instruction and outlines of expectation. The exercises and assignments are designed to help you develop your own creative style and voice. You will reflect on the writing process and critically appraise your own work by writing reflective commentaries throughout the course and at the end of the course. You are expected to keep a log of your research findings. The course doesn’t cover children’s picture books, writing for comics or generic series, or children’s poetry.
You will have considerable flexibility as to the style and content of your assignments. There is no pre-set order for the courses, which are intended as a flexible resource enabling you to explore aspects of the creative process in the order which seems most appropriate. The learning experience is two-fold: the course materials offering a solid framework and the tutor/student one-to-one relationship offering structure and direction.
The OCA website contains interviews with writers, publishers and other key practitioners and professionals within the field, in which they reflect on their own practice and experience.
The course aims to:
- A1 increase awareness of the formal requirements of different kinds of writing for children, e.g. fantasy, action/adventure.
- A2 inspire and encourage you to practice and develop your own independent creative writing within the genre
- A3 develop skills and discrimination in drafting, editing, and presenting creative work.
- A4 develop a professional approach towards preparing work for publication
On successful completion of the course you will be able to:
- LO1 write experimentally, demonstrating a range of styles, showing awareness of the genre (A1)
- LO2 synthesise contextual understanding within a portfolio of writing in this genre (A2)
- LO3 show discrimination and awareness in drafting, editing and presenting texts (A3)
- LO4 demonstrate, in terms of form and presentation, that your work is of a professional standard (A4)
- A short history of children’s fiction and survey of the three main genres of contemporary children’s fiction: fantasy; action/adventure; and true-life drama.
- Identifying and targeting an audience: writing for a particular age group and developing the ability to perceive the world through the child’s eye.
- Structuring and plotting a story: using pace, suspense and focus to hold the reader’s interest.
- Authorial voice and writing dialogue: developing a distinctive writer’s voice, choosing the best narrative voice (first person, third person, etc.) and using dialogue to create particular effects.
- The fantasy genre: creating new worlds.
- Preparing for publication: revising and redrafting work, finding an agent, ways to publish and publication deals.