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Writing Books for Children - Part One


Get the expert guidance, skills and support you need to write a book for 8-to12-year-olds.

You're about to enter the exciting world of writing for children. This potentially lucrative market (think J K Rowling and Jeff Kinney) is always open to new writers who have cracked the code of what inspires children and holds their attention.
On this course, you will learn the vital skills required to write a book for children. You'll receive the top tips for how to appeal to this challenging market. What's more, with the help of an award-winning writer as your tutor, you will make a solid start on your manuscript.



“Overall, I would describe the course as fantastic. The most useful part was the feedback I received from Helen. I knew most of the content but the application of it to my own children's book was what I needed help with. Helen was so helpful; I feel like she became a friend and mentor on the journey.”

Lyn McNamee, Write a Children’s Book Course



Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Cost: $ 995.00
  • Modules: 7 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace within 8 months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • A 5000-word start to a manuscript
  • Numerous writing exercises of varying lengths
  • Student Feedback
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Students must be proficient in the English Language
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required
  • Access to a library or book shop


Tutor for this course:

Helen Brain Creative Writing Helen Brain is the author of over 50 books for children, and has contributed stories and plays to numerous school anthologies. Her teen novel, Tamara won an ATKV award. She has also published short stories for adults, and her highly acclaimed memoir, Here Be Lions was published by Oshun Publishers in 2006. Read more about Helen Brain and her work.

Helen also tutors the Advanced Creative Writing course.



Course Curriculum


Module 1 - An Introduction

  • Some myths about writing for children
  • Getting Started
  • Writing Assignments

Module 2 - Knowing Your Readers

  • Developmental and reading age
  • Current culture and fashion
  • Writing Assignments

Module 3 - How To Plot

  • How to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.
  • What can children this age understand in terms of structure?
  • Point of view: Through whose eyes are you telling the story?
  • Writing Assignments

Module 4 - Writing Technique

  • The difference between formal or business writing and story telling
  • The basic elements of creative writing: Action
  •  The basic elements of creative writing: Description
  • The basic elements of creative writing: Dialogue
  •  Writing Assignments

Module 5 - Voice, Mood

  • Choosing a voice
  • Building mood
  • Writing Assignments

Module 6 - Characterisation

  • How to choose characters, develop and sustain them
  • Writing Assignments

Module 7- How to Write Dialogue

  • Writing strong dialogue that promotes character
  • Vocabulary and word patterns in children of this age
  • Reading ages and target readership
  • Writing Assignments



“Completing the course with The Writers College has been a positive and helpful experience. I learnt a great deal about Writing a Children’s Book and it was great to be given thoughtful feedback on my writing. Helen helped me cut to the chase and get my story moving. Overall it was a valuable experience.”

Sacha Cotter, Write a Children’s Book Course



How does the course work?

The course consists of seven modules. Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students. At the end of each module, students will be required to complete several writing exercises.

Once the writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the tutor, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete. The next module will then be e-mailed to the student.

Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an NZ Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all writing assignments
  • The course must have been completed within 8 months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

The speed at which you work is entirely up to you. After studying the modules, the exercises at the end of each module should take about two to four hours to complete. A completed chapter could take much longer, depending on the speed at which you write.

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos or Nichola a call at 09 550 4635. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in New Zealand and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:

Click here to enrol



Read what past-students say about this course

"The course really opened up and expanded my writing beyond what I could have imagined before I started the course. My tutor, Philippa, was wonderful. I felt she really got my story and knew where I was coming from. Her feedback and insights were so detailed and helpful. I was challenged and stretched, and at the end I was proud of what I had achieved which was more than I had hoped for." Rachel O'Neill, Writing Books for Children

“Completing the course with the Writers’ College has been a positive and helpful experience. I learnt a great deal about Writing a Children’s Book and it was great to be given thoughtful feedback on my writing. My tutor helped me cut to the chase and get my story moving. Overall it was a valuable experience.” Sacha Cotter, Write a Children’s Book Course

“The course was wonderful. I learnt so much, and I’m sure I can put all these new-found skills to great use. Many of the skills I developed can be applied to writing, not just for children but for teenagers or adults too, and therefore are a very valuable asset to have! It was hard work at times, but definitely worth the effort. My tutor was fantastic. She really pushed me to be better, and I appreciated that she was honest about what needed changing, but supportive enough that I wasn’t crushed by criticism. She was directive and helpful, but always made sure that I was the one putting in the effort, so that I could develop better writing skills under my own steam. With her help I feel like I have developed, bigger “writing muscles” and more confidence. Thanks Helen! I now have a finished manuscript that I’m very happy with. It was a fantastic experience,  I recommend it to anyone who is even considering it – worth every penny!” Jessica Harvey, Write a Children’s Book Course

“When I started the course, my goal was to begin a book and see it through to the end. My vague knowledge of how to do this was clarified by the course notes, but it was the step-by-step process of actually writing a book, and the feedback from my tutor, that I found most valuable. I would never have completed my book without Helen's guidance. She was forthright and challenging; her input insightful. Whenever I felt that my story wasn't good enough - or that I wasn't a good enough writer, she was there to pound me back into shape. Essentially, Helen provided me with the self-confidence to see a story through to its end... and more importantly, the courage to start the next one. I am halfway through my new book and I have Helen to thank for it. Overall, I would describe my experience with the College as absolutely brilliant. I loved the back-and-forth process of feedback and rewriting. I am a MUCH better writer for it. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks!” Michelle Randall, Write a Childrens’ Book

“My experience with the course was invaluable. I learnt so much. The course content and assignments have made me a much stronger writer. My tutor Helen was amazing, incredibly inspiring and insightful. She gave me a different perspective on writing and my final manuscript wouldn't have been half as strong if it wasn't for her; I owe her a lot. The Writers' College is professional, credible and well worthwhile. The course absolutely met all of my objectives and more! It has made me a much more critical, thorough and refined writer and it has motivated me to reach my writing goals.” Lauri Thorburn, Write a Childrens’ Book

“The course has given me more confidence in my writing and in my ability to understand children's literature in depth. The Writers' College has allowed me to see the potential I have in writing. I have gained so much insight. I am now determined to complete my manuscript.” Surani Ramachandra, Write a Childrens’ Book

“Overall, I would describe the course as fantastic. The most useful part was the feedback I received from Helen. I knew most of the content but the application of it to my own children's book was what I needed help with. Helen was so helpful; I feel like she became a friend and mentor on the journey.” Lyn McNamee, Writing Books For Children

“I am so excited to reach the end of my novel - something I never thought would happen. I now have a polished story that I am happy with. Even if it never brings me in a cent, it proves I can do it, I can finish a book. The prospect of starting the next one doesn't feel so onerous now. The course was well worth the money; it was wonderful to have someone looking over my shoulder while I wrote, to gently shift me in the right direction with the lightest touch and keep me focused on the story. Helen gave perfect advice - everything she said was pitched to push me further, make me think and drive me to write better. I have her voice in my head while I'm writing now and it's helping to make my stories come alive - deep and grateful thanks. The NZ Writers' College has a professional, personal approach that will extend any writer at any stage of their career.” Irene Hamer, Write a Children's Book.

“Writing a book seemed overwhelming but with the proper material and guidance from a tutor, the process was a lot less stressful than I anticipated. It was highly enjoyable and I have learnt valuable skills. Helen became more of a mentor and she went out of her way to help me. She was very encouraging and patient, she gave me the opportunity to explore my creative side. I looked forward to receiving each new module. I feel more confident in my writing skills thanks to her guidance. The course exceeded my expectations, it was a fantastic experience. I recommend the Writers' College to budding writers.” Samantha Carroll, Write a Children’s Book

"The course material was well designed, being challenging and yet interesting. It was a full satisfying course. Helen is very incisive in her evaluations, and assessments. She knew exactly when to put on the pressure or when to compliment. She turned my manuscript into a seamless story, honed and ready to print. It's a shame she won't be looking over my shoulder for the next one. An excellent, professional course that I would promote." Fred Robertson, Write a Children’s Book Course

“It is brilliant that at the end of the course you have a completed manuscript. Helen Brain is excellent; she is an expert in her subject matter and gives constructive feedback. It was an absolute pleasure working with her.” Renata Dry, Write a Children’s Book

“I found the course very relevant. It made the daunting task of completing a manuscript very approachable, moving in logical, achievable steps from beginning to middle and end. I found my tutor's feedback to be extremely relevant and useful. Though she didn’t tell me what to write, she steered me on the right path, always making sure I remembered who my audience was and that I had all the correct elements to keep a child reading, from a workable plot to good dialogue, valuable description and setting, and language at the correct level.” Hayley Leibowitz, Write a Children’s Book

"I thoroughly enjoyed doing the course with Helen Brain. She is an extremely good teacher and mentor. It was fun and I still intend to do the other courses you offer in Scriptwriting and Adult novel writing - but I need to save for them first." Fern Yates, Write a Children's Book Course


More Testimonials Here



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About Us

NZ Writers College is a leading online writing school in New Zealand.

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice. Work one-to-one with a professional writer and realise your writing dreams.



NZ Writers College offers online writing classes all over New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. We have students from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Whangarei, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, as well as Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne, Australia.

Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout
Email: admin@nzwriterscollege.co.nz

Phone:      +64 9 550 4635

9-5 Monday to Friday

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