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Emma Walton Hamilton / Just Write for Young Adults

Just Write for Young Adults



A self-paced, home-study course in writing Young Adult (YA) fiction.

The Just Write courses are fun, focused and comprehensive. No fluff, no busywork – just extraordinary instruction and insight from a professional author, editor and coach who is totally plugged in to the contemporary children’s book scene and dedicated to the craft of writing for young people.

Of course, there are a lot of writing courses out there… some of them very worthy. But many are prohibitively expensive, others are outdated or feature less-than-impressive content, and some are way too complicated.

Emma’s Just Write Children’s Books courses are simple, authoritative and affordable.

Enroll in Just Write for Young Adults and you will learn the fundamental aspects of writing for teens and young adults, including:

  • Understanding the differences between middle grade, young adult and adult fiction
  • How and where to find ideas
  • Developing engaging and authentic characters
  • Mapping a plot and identifying themes
  • Writing evocative narrative, effective dialogue, and successful beginnings, middles and endings
  • The keys to world-building
  • Crafting compelling scenes and chapters
  • Managing sub-plots and secondary characters
  • How to edit your manuscript and more!


How does this course work? What does it include?

Just Write for Young Adults is an independent study course in writing young adult novels, delivered via 14 modules.
Once you sign up, you will be given access to the “Just Write for Young Adults” website. The information in each module builds upon the one before it, and each module concludes with two or more writing assignments for that week.

Any comments or questions that arise during the course may be posted in the Comments section of that week’s lesson page (you can also review comments and questions from other course participants, along with my answers). At the end of the 14th module, you will have a completed manuscript in hand. You will also receive a series of bonuses, including Writers Resources, an Editing Checklist and information about submitting your work to agents and publishers.

Do you have a Facebook page?

Yes! You have access to a private Facebook group (<a href=””></a>) – just for participants in my home study courses. You will need to request permission to join, but as soon as I see your request we’ll approve you and you can begin posting within the group. From, there you are able to post questions for your fellow participants as well as for me, share comments and experiences, and offer feedback on each other’s works in progress or exercises/prompts, if you choose to share them.

What is the cancellation or refund policy?

Should you wish to cancel your purchase of the course, you may do so at any time for up to 30 days and receive a full refund. After 30 days, all sales are final.

How do I know if I’m writing middle grade, chapter book, or YA?

The short answer is this: you can generally tell what age you are writing for by the age of your main character.
Children’s books generally feature main characters the same age as, or slightly older than, their intended audience.

Below is a rough guideline of the age ranges of each format. If you are still confused, I have written a blogpost that may help you better distinguish between the formats, which you can read here: <a href=””>

Just Write for Young Adults is specific to writing for young adult readers, ages 13+.  It encompasses writing young adult novels.

If you are interested in writing for middle grade readers, ages 8-12, you will want to sign up for the MG version of the course, at <a title=”” href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>

If you want to write picture books for elementary age children, 2-7, you will want to sign up for <a href=””></a>

Can I take the course at my own pace?

Absolutely! The course has been designed with time built in for reading,  writing and revision, and each week has several attendant assignments.  Many of these assignments are craft exercises to promote understanding of a particular concept, some are worksheets, and of course, you are also expected be writing at least a chapter a week of your novel.  If you rush through it you are unlikely to receive the full benefit from the course – but it’s entirely up to you.

Isn’t it incredibly hard to get published these days? Do you provide advice on the submission and publication process?

The main standard for getting published is the same as it’s always been – high quality writing.  While it is highly competitive, it’s important to realize that the children’s book industry needs an influx of new, high quality books every season.  This course will give you the skills to be the best writer you can be, as well as providing resources for taking the next steps toward publication.

Are there opportunities to ask questions of or interact with Emma personally during the course?

Yes. Once you have enrolled, you can post your questions and comments via the course’s online comments sections on each lesson, as well as view questions and comments posted by other students, along with my answers.  I answer questions as quickly as I can, and on a regular basis.  This  provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from each other’s questions and experiences, as well as from me.

Does the information in this course also translate to middle grade fiction and picture books, or is it strictly limited to young adult fiction?

This course is specific to writing for young adult readers, ages 13+. As such, the focus is on the young adult format.
If you are interested in writing for middle grade, ages 8-12, you will want to sign up for the <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>middle grade version </a>of the course and if you want to write picture books for elementary age children, 2-7, you will want to sign up for <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Just Write for Kids</a>.

I’m not an artist. Do I have to find someone to do illustrations for my story?

Unless you are specifically an author/illustrator, you are not expected to come up with the illustrations for a children’s book manuscript, regardless of whether it is a chapter book or a picture book. It is the publisher’s job to identify and pair you with the best possible artist for the project.  This course is focused on the writing of the text only. Art comes later – after the manuscript has been accepted for publication.

I don’t have a Paypal account. Is there another way to pay for the course?

You do not need a Paypal account to make a one-time payment through Paypal for the course. The shopping cart system will walk you through the totally safe method for making your payment via credit card. Paypal also accepts checks – although the clearance process takes a little longer.  Please email us at <a href=””></a> if you have further questions about payment.

I live outside the US. Can I still take the course?

Yes! This course is delivered to you at home, wherever you are in the world, via the internet. Once you make your payment, you will gain immediate access to the course website.  Please note that the course is delivered in English… Unfortunately I am not yet able to translate it to other languages.

If I sign up for your course, does that guarantee submission to publishers and/or that my manuscript will definitely be published? Would you be making the publishing connection for me?

My services are strictly editorial/educational. I am not an agent or a publisher, and cannot make any guarantees of publication or make publishing connections. My sole function is to assist my clients/students in the development of their manuscripts.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in the highly competitive field of publishing. The acceptance of a manuscript for publication is the subjective decision of a publishing house and its acquisitions editors, a decision based upon individual taste and the perceived marketability of a given manuscript. This course will give you the tools to help you craft the best possible manuscript you can, which will certainly maximize your chances of success – but I have no final control over the market or the decisions made by individual publishers or members of the publishing industry.
That said, I do include comprehensive information (in the bonus materials included with the course) as to how and where to submit a manuscript to publishers, write query or cover letters, and otherwise improve your opportunities for and chances of publication. But the actual work of obtaining an agent or publisher lies with each author him/herself.

Also, my friend Julie Hedlund and I recently launched <strong>The Complete Picture Book Submissions</strong> System. Our <strong>Complete Picture Book Submissions System</strong> walks you through <strong>every step</strong> of the submission process. From researching agents and editors to creating a captivating query; from formatting your manuscript correctly to evaluating an offer – and MORE – our System has you covered. If you’re interested in learning more, <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>click here</a>.

Can I send you my manuscript to see if it’s ready for publication?

I do offer editorial evaluations and line editing as a business, as well as one-to-one mentoring, which can be purchased in one-hour increments. You can find out more information about my editorial services on my website –<a href=””></a>

During the course will you be personally reviewing our submissions?

Reviewing every individual manuscript and/or homework assignment for every student would be a substantial time commitment and would require me to charge a great deal more for the course – it is therefore designed to be an independent study.  That said, I do regularly review and respond to all questions and comments that are posted on the course website.  I also offer a discount off of any of my editorial services for anyone who has completed the course and wishes to have their manuscript evaluated or line-edited.

I am having technical difficulties (logging in, accessing materials, downloading materials)

If you are having trouble logging into the website or accessing the product you’ve purchased, please email <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”></a>. We will help you as soon as we possibly can. If your issue is with downloading materials, be sure to take a look at our <a title=”Download Instructions” href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>download instructions</a> page first. If you are still having trouble, email us.

Still have questions?

Email <a href=”” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”></a>