Start Writing Young Adult Fiction with Chelsey Flood
Commences on Monday 21 January for 12 weeks.
Find out how to write fiction for the Young Adult audience and learn about the building blocks of the YA genre: how to create fascinating, unforgettable characters, and develop a plot by following your interests and passions.
The course is designed for writers who have not yet explored the YA genre, or who are looking to deepen their knowledge. In this fully-tutored course with an active community of students, you will receive constructive feedback and suggestions on how to improve your writing.
This course will teach you how to:
- Follow your passion and curiosity to find your unique writer’s voice
- Develop story ideas to appeal to a young audience
- Write a page-turner with suspense and tension
- Create compelling characters, dialogue and subtext
- Use sensory description: ‘Showing’ vs ‘telling’ and the power of revelation.
- Understand point of view – whose story is it, and why?
- Rewrite and cut away redundant words and ideas to make your story sleek
- Give and receive constructive feedback
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.
The course is divided into six modules, each of which introduces an aspect of the craft of writing Young Adult fiction. Your knowledge will be developed through writing exercises, the analysis of samples of writing and discussion with your tutor and fellow students.
The modules are posted fortnightly. It is suggested that you stick to this schedule, but you may work through the course at your own speed, providing you complete it within the three-month duration of the course.
Module assignments are between 500 and 1,000 words. Your tutor will give you written feedback on every assignment you submit, but only the third and final assignments will be assessed for your Certificate of Completion.
Module One – Getting Started
Get in touch with your creativity and learn to write in spite of fear. It’s about making use of your unique ‘you-ness’ – what are you passionate about? In what are you an expert? What keeps you awake at night? Which books do you adore and why? Through a series of brief exercises, you’ll generate different story ideas based on your specific interests and talents, look at how to develop them through research and begin/develop the practice of keeping a notebook.
Assignment One: Rethinking originality and where ideas come from
Module Two – Characters in Conflict
What makes an unforgettable character? What makes them live inside our hearts and brains? Must we make them as fascinating, complex and unknowable as ourselves? Is that even possible?! We’ll look at different ways of developing characters, and work on a variety of exercises to help you get to know the people you invent inside and out so that they become complex and charismatic. We’ll also consider how characters express their conflict through action and touch on the importance of subtext for powerful dialogue.
Assignment Two: Introducing a character and their central conflict
Module Three –Whose Story Is It and Who Must Tell It?
How does your character/narrator sound? How do they tell their story? We will create voice maps, study subtext and dialogue, and compare notebook snippets. This module considers the different perspectives or points of view from which a story can be told. How does the first person compare to the omniscient third? And how does your story, and its potential, change depending on the point of view you choose?
Assignment Three: Considering voice, point of view and their effects
Module Four – Story Structure
We look at the classic three-act structure of a story (otherwise known as the beginning, middle, and end). We will learn about Action and Reaction scenes and how to build a novel using them as our building blocks. We will consider how story structure can be used in scenes, as well as in building a whole novel. We will consider what makes a brilliant, hardworking and dynamic scene, and touch on creating a synopsis.
Assignment Four: A hardworking scene (set piece with three acts)
Week Five – Hooking Your Reader
This module focuses in on the crucial craft elements of good writing, considering how to use them to hook a reader’s attention from the very beginning of your story, through to the very end. This includes how to use emotion provoking sensory detail to create the fictive dream, when to show versus when to tell and the power of revelation. We also consider giving and receiving constructive feedback. How can we help other writers and learn from their mistakes at the same time?
Assignment Five: Giving feedback to another group member on their work
Module Six – Writing is Rewriting
This module looks at the role of the editor in creative writing, and how we can become a writer and an editor in one body. We will have a look at one of the most famous writer/editorial relationships in literary history and try a variety of editing exercises on our own work in order to make it the best it can be. We also look at how to write a critical appraisal.
Assignment Six: Submit a completed story of 1,500-2,000 words and a critical appraisal (300 words) for your final assessment. Assessment is graded on a Pass/Fail basis and there will be written feedback for this assessment.
Your Certificate of Completion will be sent to you on the successful completion of your final assignment.
About the tutor
C. J. Flood was born in Derby. She studied English Literature at Falmouth College of Art, and graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she won the Curtis Brown Award. Her debut novel, Infinite Sky, won the 2014 Branford Boase Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Nightwanderers is her second novel. Chelsey lives in Bristol, where she lectures in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Website
‘Extraordinarily powerful . . . brilliantly visual and full of feeling’ – Guardian on Infinite Sky