create-write-connect free writing course: How to Write Quality Fiction for Young People with Elle McNicoll


Spread the Word is delighted that as part of our continuing create-write-connect campaign offering free writing activities during these unprecedented times, Elle McNicoll will be running a FREE course all about writing for children and young people. 

If you are in a position to make a donation to our campaign to support writers and to keep our work free, low cost and accessible and the invaluable work of the Trussell Trust, you can do so here:

Not the Easy Option: How to Write Quality Fiction for Young People and Everyone They Know with Elle McNicoll 

Writing for children is specifically separate from any other kind of writing. When you write “adult books”, they will mostly be read and reviewed by your intended audience. However, with children’s books, there are a number of gatekeepers you must impress before reaching your reader.

So, in this course, you will learn about my approach to writing award winning fiction for children, that is also inclusive of their teachers, parents and the wider literary world. For when you write a children’s book, your audience is so much more complex and it is important to never lose sight of that final reader whose life and literary future may be shaped by your words.

We will discuss narrative style, genre, character and the importance of Own Voices as well as the dos and don’ts for children’s fiction, which is certainly not the easy option for any writer. The course is designed for you to do at your own pace. You do not need to share work, or ‘turn up’ to an event.


This writing course will be delivered via e-mail using Mailchimp.

You’ll receive five emails on the following dates:

Thursday 27 May (introduction and guidance), Thursday 3 June,  Thursday 10 June, Thursday 17 June and  Thursday 24 June.


This course is designed with creativity and accessibility at its heart; it is free to take part in, optimised for screen reading, and includes transcriptions and audio descriptions of music.

If you know someone who would like to take part who doesn’t have a computer or internet access, you can contact us and we can print and post the courses (UK only).

About Elle 

Elle is a Scottish and Neurodivergent writer, happily living in London. She graduated with a first in Creative Writing and has worked as a bookseller, bartender, blogger and babysitter—all while writing stories for her own amusement. After completing her Masters dissertation on the lack of Own Voices representation for Neurodivergent children, she grew tired of the lack of inclusivity in the industry, and wrote a book herself.

Her first children’s novel, A Kind of Spark, was published in June 2020 by award-winning indie press Knights Of and stars two openly autistic young women. After publication A Kind Of Spark swiftly became the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Month in June and was announced as both The Times and The Sunday Times’ Children’s Book of the Week!

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You need to subscribe to the course which will be delivered via Mailchimp*. You can sign up after the course has started. In the introduction to each week there will be links to previous week’s activities, so you can take part in the whole course no matter when you sign up. The latest date you need to sign up by in order to participate in the course is Thursday 24 June (1pm). We regret that we are unable to provide course content to people who register after this date.

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Published 4 March 2021