Advanced Fiction Writing

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Description

About This Course

Do you have a story idea but aren't sure how to begin? Do your friends say you write well, but you're not sure how to get started on that first book? Do you have a manuscript, or parts of a manuscript, and need to know how to polish it for publication? Are you a published author who wants to learn techniques to write more effectively and efficiently?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Advanced Fiction Writing is for you!

In this course, you'll explore all the topics a writer needs to create a successful manuscript, including story structure, plot, character, dialogue, setting, suspense, conflict, action, viewpoint, tense, and even how to get published. Ea…

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Creative/Fiction Writing, Reading & Writing, Journalism, Digital Publishing & Editing, and Copy-editing.

About This Course

Do you have a story idea but aren't sure how to begin? Do your friends say you write well, but you're not sure how to get started on that first book? Do you have a manuscript, or parts of a manuscript, and need to know how to polish it for publication? Are you a published author who wants to learn techniques to write more effectively and efficiently?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Advanced Fiction Writing is for you!

In this course, you'll explore all the topics a writer needs to create a successful manuscript, including story structure, plot, character, dialogue, setting, suspense, conflict, action, viewpoint, tense, and even how to get published. Each lesson includes an assignment that will help you develop or polish your manuscript. And in the Discussion Area, you'll have an opportunity to share your work with classmates to obtain their feedback.

In Advanced Fiction Writing, you'll explore the essential techniques that are often overlooked by other writing classes and textbooks. And you'll explore them in a clear, step-by-step fashion that will make it easy for you to turn your story idea into a published book. Join us for the next six weeks, and you'll never look at fiction writing the same way again!

About The Instructor

This course includes a knowledgeable and caring instructor who will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions. The instructor for this course will be Steve Alcorn.

Syllabus

A new section of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

Welcome to Advanced Fiction Writing! During the next six weeks, we're going to take a detailed look at all the aspects of fiction writing, including story structure, plot, character, dialogue, setting, suspense, conflict, action, viewpoint, tense, and even how to get published. It sounds like we've got our work cut out for us! But don't worry. We'll take it one step at a time. We'll begin in this lesson by discussing the three-act story structure and how we can use it to create emotionally satisfying fiction.

Friday - Lesson 02

Where do plots come from? Sometimes an idea pops into our heads, and all of its details play themselves out as we jot them down. Other times, coming up with a good plot is a real struggle. Wouldn't it be great if there were some templates we could use to create plots that would work? Fortunately, there are. In this lesson, I'll introduce you to them.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

The driving force behind whatever you write is character. Without a well-constructed, believable character, your readers won't care about the story. And without a consistent, clearly defined character, you won't have anyone to traverse the physical obstacles of the plot. How do you create well-constructed, believable, consistent, and clearly defined characters? I'll show you in this lesson.

Friday - Lesson 04

Today we'll turn our attention to viewpoint, voice, and tense. You'll have a chance right in the lesson to test-drive the ideas we'll be discussing. These road tests will give you an opportunity to try out your possible choices on sample scenarios and see how they work for you. Then I'll show you how I tackled them.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

What good is setting, anyway? Isn't it just a bunch of set decoration that we can add without much consideration of the story or plot? Oh, no. Setting is actually one of your most powerful tools for conveying emotion. How so? Setting helps establish your story's mood, reinforces your theme, and immerses your readers in the story, which makes all your other words more memorable. We'll explore all these ideas in this lesson.

Friday - Lesson 06

To write your long form, it's vital for you to understand that every sentence contributes to the flow of your prose. Each paragraph relates to those that come before and after. In this lesson, we're going to delve into the internal structure of fiction, called scene and sequel. You'll discover how to use scene and sequel with the checkpoints of story structure, with dialogue, and with an eye to pacing. You'll also have lots of exercises to help you polish your scene and sequel skills throughout this lesson.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Today, you're going to learn about action and suspense. Conflict creates action. And it also creates suspense, which is the possibility of action. As essential as conflict is, it's surprisingly hard to write. Why? Because most of us spend our lives trying to avoid it. As a writer, though, you must immerse yourself in conflict. In this lesson, you'll learn how.

Friday - Lesson 08

We spend a lot of our lives talking, so doesn't it seem like it should be easy to write dialogue? Actually, in many ways, it's the most difficult part of fiction writing. Creating convincing, meaningful dialogue that advances the plot and contributes to character development can be an author's greatest challenge. In this lesson, we'll meet that challenge and see how to succeed.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

There's only one chance to make a first impression—that's as true of fiction as it is of people. So in this lesson, we'll examine how to make your first impression with your first few lines. You'll also see how to make a lasting impact with your story's last few paragraphs. I'll show you lots of great examples that should help you to spark your own creative ideas.

Friday - Lesson 10

Writing is more than a profession. It's also an art. As we begin writing our long form, we have many artistic tools to work with. In this lesson, we'll look at a few of them, including symbols and metaphors, plus techniques for writing "bigger."

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

One of the most common bits of advice to authors is "show, don't tell." In short, it means letting your readers make discoveries through your characters and their surroundings, not because you, as the author, explained it to them. Telling is a trap even very experienced authors can fall into. In this lesson, we'll explore ways to avoid it. We'll also look at the differences between drama and melodrama, and when to use each of them.

Friday - Lesson 12

In our final lesson, we'll explore the steps you'll follow to get your book onto the shelves of your local bookstore. First, you'll need to edit your first draft into a polished second draft. Then it's time to find an agent, a publisher, or a printer. Finally, you need to take the initiative in marketing your book. If that sounds like a lot of effort, it is. But seeing your book in print makes everything well worth it.


Requirements

Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plug-ins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at http://www.adobe.com/downloads by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader).

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