Writing Young Adult Fiction

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Description

About This Course

From Harry Potter to Twilight, young adult fiction is one of the hottest genres for today's novels. Teens and adults alike have discovered the excitement and passion of these stories, and publishers are hungry for more. If you're eager to break into this market, this course provides you with the recipe for creating your own successful young adult story and shows you how to get it published.

First, you'll learn why writing young adult fiction is both fun and financially rewarding. After that, you'll decide what type of story you want to tell, plan your plot, and choose the dramatic elements that will keep your readers eagerly turning pages.

Next, you'll discover the secrets …

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About This Course

From Harry Potter to Twilight, young adult fiction is one of the hottest genres for today's novels. Teens and adults alike have discovered the excitement and passion of these stories, and publishers are hungry for more. If you're eager to break into this market, this course provides you with the recipe for creating your own successful young adult story and shows you how to get it published.

First, you'll learn why writing young adult fiction is both fun and financially rewarding. After that, you'll decide what type of story you want to tell, plan your plot, and choose the dramatic elements that will keep your readers eagerly turning pages.

Next, you'll discover the secrets for bringing your characters to life. You'll also learn about story patterns, the three-act structure, and a technique called scene and sequel. In addition, you'll find out how to introduce conflict, suspense, and mystery so you can grab and hold your readers' attention.

And are you fluent in teenspeak? In these lessons, you'll master the art of creating dialogue that resonates with teenagers and young adults. You'll also decide which viewpoint, voice, and tense you want to use, and you'll see how imagery can make your story sparkle.

As you master each element of young adult fiction, you'll also be writing scenes for your own story. In addition, you'll analyze excerpts from bestselling young adult books to see what makes them so successful.

In the final lessons, you'll get expert advice on publishing and marketing your book. You'll learn how to find an agent or publisher and how to write a synopsis that sells. You'll also get the facts about literary contests and discover why on-demand publishing might be the perfect choice for you.

If you've dreamed for years of becoming an author, this course can help you turn your dream into a reality. In just six weeks, you'll have all the tools you need to create a polished manuscript and get your story in print!

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.

Steve Alcorn is the published author of a wide range of fiction and nonfiction works including the mystery A Matter of Justice, the historical novel Everything in Its Path, the romance Ring of Diamonds (under the pseudonym Sharon Stevens), and an illustrated journal of his travels around the world called Travel Kid. During the past decade he has helped more than 10,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, and many of his students have published novels they developed in his classes. When he isn't writing and teaching, Steve is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company.

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

In our first lesson, we'll explore what makes young adult fiction the most exciting choice for your writing. You'll discover why it's rewarding from both a creative and monetary standpoint, and then you'll have an opportunity to select the genre that works best for your own original story, which you'll develop during this course.

Friday - Lesson 02

This lesson is filled with what I call "lightbulb moments" that I hope will make you say "Ah-ha!" We'll begin by defining the important difference between story and plot, and then we'll examine the dramatic elements of young adult fiction. Finally, you'll begin planning your own story by choosing the dramatic elements that will propel it to success.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

We all have some idea of how to write a character sketch, but do you know the two most important things that drive your characters? This lesson shows you how goals drive your characters and how flaws impede them. Then you'll have a chance to choose attributes that create your characters' goals and flaws. We'll make it easy, with a Comprehensive Character Attribute Form.

Friday - Lesson 04

What on earth are "story patterns"? This lesson answers that question. By the time you finish it, you'll have a whole cookbook full of great recipes to use in concocting your own original story. Best of all, you'll understand exactly how other best-selling young adult fiction has used those patterns so you can pick the one that works best for you.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

You might have heard of the three-act structure, but did you know that nearly all great fiction uses it? That's because it guarantees an effective beginning, middle, and end. I've refined it into my own nine-checkpoint system that makes it incredibly easy to create a well-structured story. This lesson shows you how to apply it to your own work. After following these simple steps, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it!

Friday - Lesson 06

This lesson delivers plenty of lightbulb moments. It's all about the ebb and flow of fiction, and how you create that using plot and story. You'll have an opportunity to practice writing scenes for your original story and learn how to use transitions and chapter breaks to achieve maximum impact.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Conflict, suspense, and mystery are what make your story exciting. In this lesson, we'll explore how conflict is much more than a fight—it's the dramatic underpinning of your story. Then you'll learn a simple technique for creating suspense. Finally, you'll discover a few tricks for adding mystery to your young adult story.

Friday - Lesson 08

Dialogue is very different from conversation. This lesson explains why and helps you develop your dialogue-writing skills. You'll polish your "teenspeak" and learn when to use dialect—and when not to. You'll even discover there are some kinds of dialogue that aren't spoken!

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

Young adult fiction is almost always written in one of three viewpoints and two tenses. In this lesson, you'll have fun comparing the techniques used in some of the best young adult books and discovering which combination you like best. Then you'll have a chance to try them all on your own original story.

Friday - Lesson 10

Voice can be a slippery concept, but this lesson makes it easy to hold on to. You'll learn how to give your main character or narrator a distinctive voice and then discover other techniques for imparting deeper meaning and bigger imagery to your own young adult story.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

As you've seen so far, there's a lot more to writing your novel or screenplay than just jumping in and writing your long form! In this lesson, you'll learn about the collateral documents that will help you with the planning, writing, and marketing stages—stages that are all equally important. You'll also discover how to write a synopsis that sells your work. Finally, I'll give you an extensive Manuscript Evaluation Checklist to help you make your story perfect.

Friday - Lesson 12

It's all about getting into print so others can read your work, and this lesson shows you how. You'll learn submission strategies for finding an agent or publishers. We'll also discuss what contests can (or can't) do for you. Finally, you'll explore how print-on-demand publishing can turn your young adult fiction into income and might be your perfect choice.


Requirements

Internet access, email, 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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