Writing for Young Adults

Overview

Do you want to learn how to write for YA? Learn from the experts. This practical course will explore the range of linguistic, stylistic and thematic features that characterise the YA genre. We will read and evaluate a range of successful contemporary YA texts to uncover the secrets of their success and put those lessons into practice.

Students will read a YA novel or short extracts from several novels (handouts provided) before each session and experiment with writing a short piece of their own in a similar style or on a related theme.

Each session will involve a critical discussion of the text, and the student’s creative response to it.

The tutor will provide a summary of the approaches demonstrated in the texts each week. This will build towards a comprehensive ‘tool box’ of techniques for students to use in their own practice.

The focus throughout is on how to engage readers through age-appropriate writing across various YA subgenres: Romance, Adventure, Thrillers, gritty, issue-based stories, SF/Fantasy and Historical Fiction.

Programme details

Week 0: An introduction to Teams.  

Week 1:   Introduction to YA writing.

What distinguishes a YA book from an adult or a children’s book?

Week 2:   Sex and drugs and rock’n roll: what are the boundaries of YA in theme and language? (text: extracts)

Week 3:   Dark matter: How to engage YA readers through crime writing (text: ‘Looking for JJ’ by Ann Cassidy, Point, 2005).

Week 4:   Adventure: How to engage YA readers through action and menace (text: 'Orphan, Monster, Spy' by Matt Killeen, Usborne 2018).

Week 5:   How to engage YA readers through mystery and suspense (text: 'Lying About Last Summer' by Sue Wallman, Scholastic, 2016).

Week 6:   Romance: How to engage YA readers through Romantic fiction ( text: extracts).

Week 7:   Gritty Realism: How to engage YA readers through in real-life problems (text: 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas,Walker 2017).

Week 8:   The Supernatural and the Fantastic:  How to engage YA readers through the extraordinary (text: 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman, Scholastic, 1995).

Week 9:   Historical Books: How to engage YA readers through stories of the past (text: 'Buffalo Soldier 'by Tanya Landman, Walker 2014).

Week 10:  How do we as adults write engaged YA fiction?  Summary of techniques and approaches learned.

Certification

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Fees

Description Costs
Course fee £230.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutor

Dr Nicky Browne

Nicky Browne has published eight books for young children and nine novels for older children with Bloomsbury. Her tenth novel 'Bad Water' is out in February 2021. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Carnegie medal. She has extensive teaching experience and a PhD in Creative Writing.

Course aims

Students will understand the key stylistic and thematic features of successful YA writing through their examination of selected texts and will be able to demonstrate the use of these features in their own creative work.

Course Objectives

  • To identify the distinctive features of successful YA writing through the examination of selected texts.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of these features in their own work and the work of others.
  • To demonstrate the use of these features in their own creative practice.

Teaching methods

Each class will involve group discussion on our chosen texts and the issues that arise from them.  Students will present their own creative work. We shall also use workshopping techniques to develop students' critical responses and improve their creative work. Some part of each session will be tutor-directed and delivered through a Powerpoint presentation: handouts will be available.  

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • Understand the genre conventions and characteristic techniques of YA writing.
  • Be confident in sharing, evaluating and discussing their own YA work and that of others .
  • Be able to write short pieces of fiction for a YA audience using appropriate techniques.

Assessment methods

Students undertaking the portfolio option should submit one short  piece of writing (c.500 words) inspired by the books under review as a formative piece and three further pieces of 500 words for written assessment. Option B students should submit one short piece of writing (c.500 words) inspired by the books under review as a formative piece and one longer piece of work of 1500 words.     

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Application

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)