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Advanced Fiction Writing

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?

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. You will explore the essential techniques that are often overlooked in a clear, step-by-step fashion. After completing this course, you will never look at fiction writing the same way again!

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
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Learning Method

Instructor-led

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Starting December 12 | January 16

Advanced Fiction Writing

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Details + Objectives

Course Code: afw

What You Will Learn
  • Learn how to develop or polish your story ideas into fully-realized published pieces of writing
  • Examine every element of successful fiction writing including structure, plot, character, dialogue, setting, suspense, conflict, action, and viewpoint
  • Discover techniques often neglected or overlooked by textbooks and other professional writers
  • Learn how to communicate an engaging and enduring message to your readers
How the course is taught
  • Instructor-led course
  • 6 weeks in duration
  • Courses begin each month
  • 2 lessons released each week
  • 24 course hours
How you will benefit
  • Learn how to translate an idea into a finished and published product you can be proud of
  • Gain confidence in your ability to write stories that affect readers and transcend genres
  • Bring your dreams to life through a foolproof, step-by-step process you will never forget

Outline

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Week 1

Rediscover the power of the three-act story structure and the dramatic elements that create it. Then, examine the different plot templates that form the foundation of nearly all fiction.

Week 2

Explore techniques for making both major and minor characters believable and memorable. Then, experiment with viewpoint, voice, and tense to discover their effect on your writing.

Week 3

Master techniques for creating vivid settings that will capture your readers' imaginations. Then, discover the internal structure of scenes and sequels, which make up almost every successful piece of fiction, and see how it relates to the checkpoints of story structure, dialogue, and pacing.

Week 4

Investigate the role conflict plays in creating action and suspense, and learn how to heighten both through pacing, starting the clock, hints, and misdirection. Then, explore the uses of dialogue, and discover techniques for crafting the most realistic exchanges possible.

Week 5

Learn how to create a dramatic opening and closing and make them work together. Then, discover how to enrich your writing through symbols that add depth, metaphors that will cling to your readers' memories, and the technique of writing big, which will make your stories transcendent.

Week 6

Bring your story to life by showing—not telling—and using dialogue instead of exposition to create drama and keep your readers reading. Finally, learn how to navigate the writing process from first draft to bookstore shelves without running aground or sinking in a sea of debt.

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Instructors & Support

Steve Alcorn

Steve Alcorn is the published author of a wide range of fiction and nonfiction works. During the past decade he has helped more than 30,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, and many of his students have published novels they developed in his classes. His novels include the mystery A Matter of Justice, the historical novel Everything in Its Path, and the picture storybook Molly Builds a Theme Park. He is the author of the non-fiction books How to Fix Your Novel, Theme Park Design, and Write Your Life Story. When he isn't writing and teaching, Steve is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company.

Requirements

Prerequisites / Requirements

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Requirements:

Hardware Requirements: 

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
Instructional Materials

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

FAQs

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When can I get started?

A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.

How does it work?

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

How long do I have to complete each lesson?

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

What if I need an extension?

The final exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the final exam has been released, you will have two weeks plus 10 days (24 days total) to complete the final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

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