Every person considering writing any type of fiction should take this course with Steve Alcorn. It contained concise information, writing assignments and quizzes, as well as comprehensive review by the instructor. Mr. Alcorn was in his classroom available for instruction and assistance when it was 2:00 a.m. and I was in my pajamas! The class was strikingly beneficial, fun and up-to-the-minute with instructional responses. He has my highest recommendation."
During the course I wrote a mystery using your guidelines. I finished it last week and sent off a query letter. The publisher has requested the complete manuscript!"
Having this course being taught by a published author was immensely valuable. It is great to be taught by someone who has the success and experience, yet can still relate to us beginners and cares that we are successful too. Wonderful!!"
I have a novel coming out in June 2007 (thanks to Steve's help), and a mystery in the hands of another publisher, a mystery that never would have been written without his help. I wanted to say thank you."
I really enjoyed taking this course. Steve is excellent. He knows his subject. When I had difficulty grasping a topic, he gave good examples that helped me understand the point he was trying to make. I recommend this course to everyone who has an interest in/or aspires to write mysteries."
Steve Alcorn is an amazing teacher. I took his Advanced Fiction Writing and Mystery Writing courses, in that order, and I learned more in his courses than I did as a creative writing major at an outstanding university. This is by far the best way to learn, and you're learning from a real pro. Thank you Steve - I am working on my mystery and plan to get a book proposal out there within a few months."
Thanks Steve, you're the best! You're a great role model for all of us who dream of being a writer whose readers just can't wait for us to write another best seller! I enjoyed your sense of humor, guidance and best of all your knowledge of the craft, which is without peer. Thanks again for all your encouragement -- it made a big difference."
You know what I liked about your course? My entire home library of books on writing TOLD ME WHAT I needed to do in order to write a book. You SHOWED ME HOW to do it. Thanks a million."
You may be interested to learn that during the course, I developed a novel. Shortly after completing the course, I finished work on the book and submitted it. It has been accepted by a publisher!! Very helpful course."
Run; do not walk, to sign on for Steve's classes. This is the best writing class I ever took, exceeding a college curriculum."
Course Code: mys
In this first lesson, you will begin finding the secret that guarantees success as a writer. It is the secret of knowing where you are going before you start. You will examine what makes a mystery great, and explore a number of real-world examples. Then you will learn that plot is physical while story is emotional. You will learn that balancing the two is one of the keys to writing fiction that will satisfy your audience.
This lesson will cover the dramatic elements at the heart of every story: passion, theme, character, and premise. Your passion is what drives you to tell your story and the theme is the underlying message it carries. To convey your theme, you create characters that represent it. Put these elements together and you have your premise. Then you will discover why the best characters are flawed. You will explore the main character---the protagonist--- and the opposing force of the antagonist, and look at tricks and techniques for creating characters that are memorable.
In this lesson, you will explore the structure underling almost every great story. You will examine each element of the story structure and test them against some well-known mysteries. Then you will begin to construct your story outline, act-by-act. In Act 1, you will hook your readers. You will learn to fill them in with some character history called back-story. You will exit Act 1 with a bang by triggering a traumatic event in the life of your protagonist.
In this lesson, you will work on Act 2 of your mystery. Your protagonist begins in crisis---an emotional state brought on by his or her flaw. Your protagonist will struggle throughout the act as the antagonist deals setback after setback. Fortunately, at the conclusion of Act 2, your protagonist finally figures out the source of all this emotional distress and overcomes it. Then it is time to devise a plan for Act 3. The result will be a final confrontation with the antagonist. You will look at the best way to defeat the antagonist and you will be ready to tie up all your story’s loose threads in the ending.
In this lesson, you put it all together. You are going to move from the story idea, to story outline, to developing scenes. Then you will unravel the internal story structure of every piece of fiction you have ever read. This story structure is called scene and sequel.
In this final lesson, you will look at the three most common viewpoints: third person omniscient, third person limited, and the first person. You will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each by considering examples from real-world novels. Then you will examine some elements unique to mystery writing. You will wrap up with ideas about how to take all you have created and actually reach your goal of a finished novel or screenplay.
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.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits.
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.
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.
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.