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Online book-writing course recommendations?

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Hello,
I would like to take an online or snail mail book-writing course, focusing on PBs and early chapter books, maybe even MG-books. Does anyone have any suggestions? I finished the two magazine courses at the Institute of Children's Literature and was happy with the outcome. I was thinking of their book course, but with ICL's recent changes I wasn't sure. I do need something very flexible like ICL. With two small kids, I won't be able to stick to a tight schedule.

I'm embarrassed to say I know nothing about this area of writing and I'm not even sure what type of book my ideas would fit best or which type I would enjoy writing. My short stories have been published or are forthcoming in magazines for ages 2-12, so that's why I thought PB-MG.

Thanks in advance!
#1 - January 24, 2016, 07:25 AM
Anita N. Amin
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Starfish, I don't have a recommendation, but you can see a list of online workshops here:
http://vonnacarter.com/wordpress/online-workshops/
Though all the classes listed here pertain to writing for the juvenile market, not all are for picture books or early MG. A few I know of off-hand that might work for you are Emma Walton's Just Write for Kids, Susan Leonard hill's Making Picture Book Magic, and WOW: Women on Writing:goodluck
#2 - January 24, 2016, 09:43 AM
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Check out kidlitwritingschool.com and mediabistro.com. They both have online children's book writing classes. You don't have to attend in real time, and can read the lessons and watch the videos at a later date if you want/need to. You might get more out of the class if you can participate and interact with the teacher and class, but if that's not possible, it still might be worth your while to take the classes.

You could do some self study before taking classes, which might help you to be ready to take the classes if you don't know much about kidlit writing. For picture books, I'd recommend two books to start:

1. Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication by Ann Whitford Paul

2. Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children's Books by Uri Shulevitz (Note: This book covers a lot about illustrating picture books, but I think it's also a good book for picture book writers. There's also a section about color separation in illustrations that's out dated, but the book is worth the read, IMO, if you are interested.)

And a third option, that I haven't read yet, but am going to soon:
3. The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (http://lindaashman.com/how-to-write-picture-books/)
#3 - January 24, 2016, 01:33 PM
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I loved the ICL book course, Starfish. Learned so much because I went through writing a novel and revising it. There was also the option of writing picture books.

If you know you want to focus on PBs and CBs there is also Anastasia Suen's class.

And definitely recommend the self-study. But nothing beats taking a class that is sustained over several weeks or months. Your instructor will push you in a way you would never yourself.

Good luck, Vijaya
#4 - January 24, 2016, 05:38 PM
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UCLA extension, picture book academy and, as Vijaya said, Anastasia Suen's classes. 
#5 - January 25, 2016, 07:06 AM
Rebecca Langston-George
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Thank you all! I will definitely look into all of these, including the books listed here.

Anastasia Suen's classes look really interesting, but I'm not sure if I can keep up with even weekly assignments. I might take her first PB course, which appears to be all self study, I think.

I really like ICL, too, Vijaya. I wonder if their book course has changed at all though, given the other changes there (ownership, technology, etc). It seems as if a lot of their staff has changed too. Before the changes, I was set on taking their book class. Now, I feel a little wary. Has anyone taken their book course recently?
#6 - January 25, 2016, 12:54 PM
Anita N. Amin
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Good luck, Starfish. I took the book course with ICL, but it was some time ago. It was really great. I learned  a lot.

You might take a look at Writer's Village University. You pay a membership fee for the year and you can sign up for the courses. They have courses of every topic.  They have a calendar with many courses each month from which to choose according to your time and interests. They're part of the membership. You can, also, check the courses they have and work on your own.They have a moderator for each course. Some of the courses have mentors. They have support groups and meeting rooms. You can check it out at https://www.writersvillage.com/. It was a good experience for me.  Check all your options. I hope you find the right one for you.

Thank you Vonna, Stephanie Ruble, Vijaya and RebeccaL-G for your ideas.
#7 - January 25, 2016, 01:35 PM

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Not to be a commercial here, but as far as I know it is indeed possible to sign up for the book course at ICL now. I've taught it for years and still do. I have not been informed that the curriculum will be changing at all.

There are other options, as others have said, and I would add Children's Book Academy -- which I'm very sure is the Picture Book Academy Rebecca mentioned; they've expanded into older ages. But a couple of things you say make me think ICL might really suit you, especially the very open time frame and the fact that you don't have to come in with prior knowledge. You've also graduated from prior courses, so you're eligible for the advanced (book) course. 
#8 - January 25, 2016, 01:46 PM
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For beginning PB writers, I recommend Susanna Hill's class. I have taken a number of PB on-line classes and Susanna's is still my favorite - best value, small classes, lots of opportunities to interact and get feedback from the teacher. She systematically teaches you how to build a story block-by-block.
#9 - January 25, 2016, 02:05 PM
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I recently took a 2 1/2 hour online group class on middle grade book plotting with award winning author Rebecca Petruck. It cost $95.

I found it EXTREMELY helpful as I revise, but boy, oh, boy, if I had known this stuff before I started it would have been a lot easier.

The class had about 10 people, all logged in and able to participate, but it was mainly Rebecca teaching. She takes the class through a worksheet of plot points and makes a very strong case for following a format instead of just "pantsing" it.

I recommend it highly.

http://www.rebeccapetruck.com/#!services/c1pz 
#10 - January 26, 2016, 11:25 AM

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Thank you for all of the recommendations! And thanks mrh, I think I may look into the ICL course then if the curriculum hasn't changed. Thanks!
#11 - January 28, 2016, 06:23 AM
Anita N. Amin
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Kidlit college is doing webinars. http://www.kidlitcollege.com/

I've heard great things about Gotham Writers also. There's a thread on them pretty close to this one.
#12 - February 01, 2016, 08:27 AM
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