Are you looking for a holiday present for an author in your family? Give him or her the keys to writing a middle grade novel: Emma Walton Hamilton's Just Write for Middle Grade online course. Be sure to enter into her giveaway (below) for a free subscription to this class.
In the Spring, I was given the opportunity to try out Emma Walton Hamilton's Just Write for Middle Grade online course. I had taken a couple of writing courses and had written a first draft of a middle grade novel the year before, so the course came at a perfect time for me.
I followed her 14-week self study course (which I spread out over more than 14 weeks) and basically took an in depth college-level course on novel writing. The amount of information that was packed into this course was staggering. The weekly lessons and assignments covered the gamut of writing chapter books and middle grade books (and any novel, really) from page 1 to The End and after.
Structure of the Course
The fourteen units of the course (and some goodies in each unit) are:
1. Overview/Intro to Middle Grade
- basic info (word counts, characteristics, themes)
- how MG is different from chapter books, picture books, and YA
- four major character questions to consider when developing characters
- considerations for anthropomorphism
- assignments include developing character bios
- nine different ways/approaches to develop your plot
- importance of first chapter
- 5 things the beginning of your story must accomplish
- what is theme and how to reveal it in your story
- narrator v. character voice
- techniques (POV, unreliable narrator) and exercises
- 10 considerations for creating settings and world-building
- how to break down your novel into chapters, including detailed worksheets
- following the assignments will result in having a nice outline of your novel
- Elements of a good scene and 7 tools to help create them
- how to most effectively introduce secondary characters and subplots
- roles & archetypes
- nitty gritty on how to write dialogue, including attribution, tags, punctuation
- traps to watch out for, tips to follow
- ways to assess and improve pacing & tensing
- backstory & foreshadowing assignments
- purpose of endings and ways to resolve your story
- questions and considerations for revising & editing
- a bonus of the course is an amazing editing checklist
- The worksheets made me work through all the major elements described above, which taught me so much about my characters and story.
- The plot and chapter assignments basically wrote the outline for my story. If you are an outliner, this gives you a methodical way to plot your story. If you are a pantser, this gives you a methodical way to plot your story.
- I had taken writing classes before so I was familiar with concepts and techniques like POV, dialogue, the Hero's journey, setting, etc. but this was a great way to synthesize all of the information in one place. I always learn something from the courses I take, and in this course, I learned a LOT of new things.
The price of the course can be daunting ($497), but it is a fraction of what a comparable college course would cost, and provides full value.
Thank you so much, Emma. And here's the giveaway. Enter for a chance to win one free subscription to her Just Write for Middle Grade class (a $497 value) (You can get extra entries by doing the first two items once each day):
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