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!
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 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
How the course is taught
- Instructor-led online course
- 6 Weeks access
- 24 course hours
Welcome to Advanced Fiction Writing! Throughout the course, you'll 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. You'll begin this lesson by learning about the three-act story structure and how you can use it to create emotionally satisfying fiction.
Where do plots come from? Sometimes an idea pops into your head, and all of its details play themselves out as you 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 you could use to create plots that would work? Fortunately, there are. In this lesson, you'll learn about them.
The driving force behind whatever you write is character. Without a well-constructed, believable character, your readers won't care about the story. Similarly, 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? You'll learn how to do so in this lesson.
In this lesson, you'll turn your attention to viewpoint, voice, and tense. You'll have a chance to test-drive those ideas and an opportunity to try out your possible choices on sample scenarios to see how they work for you. Some examples will be provided.
What good is setting, anyway? Is it just a bunch of set decoration that you 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. You'll explore all these ideas in this lesson.
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, you'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.
In this lesson, you'll 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 people spend their lives trying to avoid it. As a writer, though, you must immerse yourself in conflict. This lesson will teach you how to do so.
People spend most of their 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, you'll meet that challenge and see how to succeed.
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, you'll examine how to make a good first impression with your first few lines. You'll also see how to make a lasting impact with your story's last few paragraphs. You'll see lots of great examples that should help you to spark your own creative ideas.
Writing is more than a profession; it's also an art. As you begin writing your long form, you'll have many artistic tools to work with. In this lesson, you'll look at a few of them, including symbols and metaphors, plus techniques for writing "bigger."
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, you'll explore ways to avoid it. You'll also look at the differences between drama and melodrama, and when to use each of them.
In the final lesson, you'll explore the steps needed 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.
Steve Alcorn is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a leading theme park design company that creates products used in all the world's theme parks. He is a proponent of advance planning and has experience with wills, living trusts, advance directives, and power of attorney. His experience also includes arranging for in-home care, nursing home selection, retirement community evaluation, memory care facility selection, and the analysis of Medicare and other insurance paperwork. He is a counselor to his employees, possessing insight into the varieties of relationships, problems, opportunities, and legal issues that can arise in the field of eldercare.
Steve 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, with many of his students publishing novels they developed in his classes. His books include A Matter of Justice, Everything In Its Path, Molly Builds a Theme Park, How to Fix Your Novel, Theme Park Design, and Write Your Life Story.
Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
- This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
- PC: Windows 8 or later.
- Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. You will interact with the instructor through the online discussion area. There are no live sessions or online meetings with the instructor.
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. However, you will have access to all lessons from the time they are released until the course ends.
Students enrolled in a six-week online class benefit from a one-time, 10-day extension for each course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.