A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a 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.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 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 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - Story Structure
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.
Lesson 02 - Plot Templates
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.
Lesson 03 - Character Development
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.
Lesson 04 - Viewpoint, Voice, and Tense
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.
Lesson 05 - Setting
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.
Lesson 06 - Advanced Scene and Sequel
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.
Lesson 07 - Conflict, Action, and Suspense
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.
Lesson 08 - Dialogue
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.
Lesson 09 - Beginnings and Endings
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.
Lesson 10 - Symbols, Metaphors, and Writing Big
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."
Lesson 11 - Bring Your Story to Life
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.
Lesson 12 - Self-Editing, Submission, and Marketing
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.