Writing YA Writing YA Writing YA

Writing YA

An invigorating introduction to writing fiction for teenagers and young adults that will give you the skills – and inspiration – to get your YA novel started.



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12 weeks
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Flexible (see Course Schedule)

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£200 / month for 2 months and a £295.00 deposit


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Everything you need to become a YA author

How do we create a story that will appeal to and resonate with teenagers and young adults? This course will equip you with knowledge of genres and themes for YA, and give you skills and techniques to go from idea generating to plotting, developing interesting, relatable characters and strong, engaging dialogue along the way. You will build confidence in your writing, finishing the course with an opening chapter or more that will grab the reader’s attention.

Is this the right course for me?

This twelve-week online course is designed for those who are interested in writing fiction for teenagers and young adults and want to explore genres, themes and techniques. Suitable if you are a beginner or have some writing experience but are new to YA, or simply want support and guidance to make your YA writing shine.

With individual tutorials at the start and end of the course, discussions with your tutor and fellow students in lively forums, plenty of writing prompts, reading activities and opportunities to workshop your writing, this course will help you understand YA writing and get your YA novel off the ground.

    The course will last for twelve weeks, with a new session opening every Monday.

Course Programme

Session 1

Opens 25 March

Hooking the YA Reader...

Session 2

Opens 1 April

Voice and Viewpoint...

Session 3

Opens 8 April

YA Genres...

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing YA

Session 1

Opens 25 March

Hooking the YA Reader

A chance to get to know each other, to discuss what constitutes a ‘Young Adult’ reader, and to look at examples of great first lines. By the end of the week you will be ‘hooking the reader’ with your own captivating opening paragraph.

Session 2

Opens 1 April

Voice and Viewpoint

Connect with your inner teen as a route to finding your ‘voice’, using memories as starting points and learn how tp adapt them to the contemporary world. Experiment with writing in first person, third person, present and past tense.

Session 3

Opens 8 April

YA Genres

We'll examine the wide range of genres featured in books for young adults and look at plenty of examples. You'll also try your hand at writing in different genres, including those you may never have considered.

Session 4

Opens 15 April

Themes and Ideas

We'll identify themes that are of current interest to young adults and use exercises and examples to generate and develop our own ideas. We will also explore what makes a strong concept and how to choose your best idea.

Session 5

Opens 22 April

Bringing YA Characters to Life

Together, we'll analyse what make YA characters strong, memorable and interesting. You'll then ceate and develop some characters of your own and a possible character story arc for your protagonist.

Session 6

Opens 29 April

Showing and Telling

We'll consider what it means to ‘show’ or ‘tell’ your story and when it is appropriate to use telling rather than showing. We will then evaluate how authors do this and you'll experiment in your own writing.

Session 7

Opens 6 May

How Not to Lose the Plot

This week we'll examine different methods of moving from idea to story, including an exploration of different approaches to planning and plotting, such as ‘Save the Cat’ and the Three Act Structure.

Session 8

Opens 13 May

Character, Conflict and Dialogue

In Session 8 we consider the importance of tension between characters and the vital roles that dialogue plays. We'll also explore how authors write believable, dialogue-rich scenes and develop your own skills.

Session 9

Opens 20 May

Pace and Dramatic Tension

You'll learn about pace and dramatic tension by writing your own dramatic scenes and slower, more reflective scenes. Together, we'll discuss how to sustain narrative drive and the role of cliff hangers.

Session 10

Opens 27 May

World Building for Fantasy and Reality

Discover the role that setting can play in a story, whether fantasy or reality. We'll study the ways that authors build worlds and you'll have a go at building your own, using maps, descriptions, history and rules.

Session 11

Opens 3 June

Alternative Structures and Styles

An opportunity to experiment with alternative structures for YA novels – including dual or multiple voice, time-slip, graphic novels and writing in verse.

Session 12

Opens 10 June

Final Celebration of Work

This week we will share and celebrate your work and all that you have achieved on the course! You will look at next steps and also have a final one to one with the tutor.


Photo of Penny Joelson, Writing YA tutor at Faber Academy

Penny Joelson

Penny Joelson is a multi-award-winning author, currently working on a new Young Adult thriller. Among twelve published books...

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Penny Joelson

Browse the Reading Room

From author interviews and writing tips to creative writing exercises and reading lists, we've got everything you need to get started – and to keep going.