Many years ago J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series had reinforced and expanded tremendously this market, demonstrating that children and young adults were quite willing to follow engaging narratives even as book length soared, with each installment, well into the hundreds of pages. Many more franchises of different flavors have followed (Twilight, The Maze, The Hunger Games), not to forget precursors like Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
These wonderful books, new and not-so-new, have shown and confirmed that a reader's imagination can still hold its own against the fully formed semblance of film and television.
While books for children and young adults may be easier to read, they are certainly not easier to write. One wants to strike the proper tone, which implies excellent instincts for identifying one's audience with great precision; one wants to push the readership, if slightly, beyond their thematic, linguistic, and narrative comfort zones to stimulate interest and growth; one never wants to write down to their audience as any hint of condescension will inevitably doom the book to failure; one wants to be able to find, preserve, and create, in the writer's mind, a point of view that readers of the target age will find familiar and strange together - it's time travel of the mind to being eight, twelve, sixteen, without giving up the accumulated experience of the adult.
The new course we are adding to our offering, Writing Fiction for Children and Young Adults, will address all the aspects of this deceptively simpler genre to guide students through the process of imagining, developing, and writing stories for this demanding readership.
The course will be offered for the first time in Fall 2020 and will be taught by Prof. Victor Rambaldi, a renowned author of children's books, film director, and scriptwriter who is active both in Italy and the United States. In addition to this course, Prof. Rambaldi teaches film-making in AUR's Film and Digital Media Program.
"This advanced writing course is designed to develop students’ skills in writing fiction expressly for children and young adults. The course will focus on the writing process and the approaches to writing for various age groups within the genre, specifically examining story structure, character, plot, and theme. In addition to writing and workshopping their own work, students will read and analyze texts from classic and contemporary children’s and YA literature."