Master Course – 12x12ers

The Master Course on Writing and Editing Picture Books is an intensive eight week self-guided workshop on the Core Principles of picture book writing and editing.

The program combines research and expert writing and editing techniques developed after years of work as a writer and through my own work editing children’s books.

Each weekly lesson guides you through one of the Core Principles in a detailed and comprehensive manner. The lessons are structured as follows:

  • Principle: the Core Principle is introduced and explained.
  • Practice: the Core Principle is analyzed in picture books.
  • Application: a Worksheet guides you to apply the Core Principles to your own manuscripts, analyzing what works and why, as well as identifying ways of improving your writing.


In this course we will cover the following Core Principles in great detail:

  1. Theme
  2. Story Structure (Plot-driven stories)
  3. Story Structure (Character-driven stories)
  4. World-building
  5. Character-building (Part 1: POV, Voice, Stakes, Agency)
  6. Character-building (Part 2: Motivation-Reaction Units, Lies/Wants/Needs, Character Suffering)
  7. Showing vs. Telling
  8. 3 Act Structures (Beginnings/Middles/Ends)

In addition, there are two bonus courses on: Writing Tips (Rule of Threes, Language, Read-aloudability, Illustrations and Art Notes, Marketability, Moral of the Story) and Revision Tips.


I recently finished taking Karla Valenti’s Picture Book Master Class with the mentoring component. I highly recommend this practical course to move your writing to the next level. Karla included the reasoning behind each Core Principle, how to put the concept into practice, examples from picture books, and application of the concept first in other picture books, and then in my own manuscript. She presented the content in an engaging, fun style. Karla’s knowledge and experience shined through in the eight lessons (plus a bonus week). Even though I’ve taken other seminars and webinars in my writing journey, much of what Karla offered was new, a new spin on something I had learned before, or a deepening of the concept. Karla also had a unique way of explaining concepts that clicked for me. The course progressed in an interesting sequence that came together at the end in a satisfying and surprising way. The mentoring aspect of the course was phenomenal! If you are signing up for the course, make sure to include the mentoring part. Every week, Karla provided detailed, specific recommendations to move my manuscript forward. She taught through her comments with elements of theory, explanations, and specific examples. I found Karla to be generous with her time and talent, honest but kind, and a consummate professional. Although I’m sad for the course to end, I am now applying the lessons (which I housed in a binder) to my other works in progress. The manuscript I used throughout the course transformed beautifully into a solid piece with more emotional resonance. I’m so glad I invested in Karla’s Master Class.

Jennifer L. Raudenbush – children’s book writer
Even agented writers will benefit from Karla’s Master Course, which breaks down everything you’ve ever wanted to better understand about the crafting of picture books, their structure, their mechanics, and what makes them more (or less) powerful to a reader. Karla has condensed a wealth of information into bite-sized, manageable steps that one can work through at his/her leisure. I was thankful to see her clarify concepts that 1) are not generally discussed or 2) had never been 100% clear to me before. Naturally, when it comes to any course, nothing beats one-on-one tutoring. Karla remains accessible to learners throughout the course, answering questions and providing a private support group where any course topics can be discussed. Her coursework remains very hands-on, not only showing you how to analyze picture books in the current market, but also how to apply each principle to your own work-in-progress.
 Katelyn Aronson – children’s book writer

This course has been designed using the techniques I apply in my critiques. You can read more of my client’s testimonials here.


Is this Master Course right for you?

There are many excellent writing courses and resources available for picture book writers. Is this the right course for you?

The Master Course on Picture Book Writing and Editing is specifically designed for:

  • Writers who are serious about taking their writing to the next level.
  • Writers who would like to learn the secrets of compelling storytelling.
  • Writers who have been submitting work and are unable to break through the “rejection barrier.”
  • Writers who want to learn how to edit or critique picture books.
  • Writers who are new to picture book writing and would like to learn how to write well from the very beginning.

This course distills years of research into nearly 100 pages of content that will allow you to easily understand what makes some picture books shine where others fail. More importantly, upon completion of this workshop, you will have all the tools you need to closely evaluate and enhance your own manuscripts.

I recognize this is a serious commitment of your time and money so I offer a commitment of my own: whether you are a beginner or more advanced writer, the skills and techniques you will learn in this workshop will make you a better writer and your work will absolutely reflect that.


Cost and Purchase

The Master Course on Writing and Editing Picture Books is available for $139.00 to anyone who is a member of 12×12.

You can also purchase the Master Course Plus which includes the Master Course and one-on-one mentoring as you work through a picture book manuscript. With this option you will end up receiving a total of eight critiques on your manuscript. $239.00 for 12×12 ers.

The purchase of either option entitles you for a 25% discount on your next Premium manuscript critique. This course also includes access to a private Master Course Facebook Group where you can explore these concepts in further detail, ask questions, or share your own insights.

Are you ready to become a Master Picture Book writer? The program is ongoing and you can start at anytime.


Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about this or any other service. karla.p.valenti [at] gmail [dot] com.