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The name of this course really says it all! For the next six weeks, we'll focus on techniques that professional authors use to write effectively and efficiently and that guarantee a story structure that delivers maximum emotional impact. After all, connecting with your audience is what great writing is all about, right? In this first lesson, we'll explore the idea of story structure, and you'll discover that nearly every piece of fiction that works follows the same fundamental rules. We'll also look at the often misunderstood difference between story and plot, a concept that will be vital throughout the rest of this course.
At the heart of every story are the dramatic elements of 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'll create characters who represent that theme—either positively or negatively. Put all of these together and you've got your premise. We'll talk about all of these elements in today's lesson.
Character is what story is all about. Without a character, and a change in that character, there can be no story. In this lesson, you'll discover why the best characters are flawed. We'll explore your main character—the protagonist—and the opposition forces of the antagonist. And finally, we'll take a look at the other characters who round out your story.
Today's is the first of three lessons in which you'll see how to construct a story outline, act by act. In Act 1, you'll learn how to hook your readers. Then you'll fill them in with some character history called backstory. And finally, you'll exit Act 1 with a bang by triggering a traumatic event in the life of your protagonist.
If Act 1 ends with a bang, Act 2 starts with a whimper. Your protagonist begins in crisis, an emotional state brought on by his or her flaw. And because of that flaw, your protagonist will struggle throughout Act 2, as the antagonist delivers setback after setback. Fortunately, at the conclusion of Act 2 your protagonist finally figures out the source of all this emotional distress and how to overcome it.
The epiphany that ended Act 2 has prepared your protagonist for triumph in Act 3. Now it's time to devise a plan. The result will be a final confrontation with the antagonist. In this lesson, we'll discuss the best way to arrange the defeat of your antagonist—it's not what you might guess. Then, with that climax behind you, you're ready to tie up loose ends in the ending.
We've accomplished a lot in the last few lessons. By now you should be pretty comfortable with story structure. In the next three lessons, we'll take the concepts you've learned so far and apply them to the development of a real novel. Today we'll begin by using the dramatic elements to create a character, his or her flaw, and then put it all together into a formal story idea.
In this lesson, we'll expand the story idea for a novel into the nine checkpoints of our three-act outline. This is quite a challenge for just one lesson, but we've become pretty expert at this story structuring stuff by now, so let's go!
Now that you have your outline—and a beautiful one it is!—it's time for that magical moment when you begin expanding it into the long form. Yikes! The actual novel is about to materialize. We'll begin by inserting markers for the scenes that support and develop the outline. Then you'll start expanding those scenes and threading your theme throughout. This is really writing like a pro!
One of the most important choices an author makes is viewpoint. It affects every aspect of the story—from theme, to pacing, to suspense. In this lesson, we'll explore the three most common viewpoints—omniscient, third-person limited, and first person—and discover their advantages and disadvantages. Then we'll dig into techniques for developing characters and establishing a convincing story logic.
In this lesson, we'll look at techniques for refining your plot and controlling its pace. Then we'll unravel the internal structure of every piece of fiction you've ever read, discovering a structure that I bet you never knew existed. After today, you'll never forget it. It's called scene and sequel.
Now that your novel, play, or screenplay is well underway, it's time to think about polishing the final product. In this lesson, we'll look at some techniques for making your writing sparkle, including tips on dialogue and imagery and how to use them to show, not tell. We'll also see how to establish your own unique voice, paying special attention to the aspects of cadence and musicality. Finally, we'll talk a little about the creative process and your role now that you know how to . . . write like a pro.
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If you have an idea for a book, but just can't get it together, this is the class for you. Steve Alcorn gives you the tools and the confidence to pull your ideas together and give them structure. Before you know it, you are inspired and writing. What a class! Steve Alcorn is a gifted instructor.
I have taken both Write Like a Pro and Steve's Mystery Writing course. I have now published three of the stories I worked on in Write Fiction Like a Pro, as a result of the course. Thank you, Steve, for offering it.
Can you see me? I'm giving you a standing ovation! Haven't done this much thinking, rethinking, breaking pencils, and eventually cheering since I graduated from college. Thank you for an inspiring and brilliant class!
I don't know how much more I can rave about this course and the invaluable lessons and inspiration it has provided me. The thing that shocks me most is that I am only a new starter to this writing business and to have stumbled upon such a gem of a course so early in my learning makes me feel very lucky indeed. This course has given me a story, a passion and a dream. It has sparked a creativity I had no way of finding before. I am going to write this book and love doing it.
I let four people read my course work. I was overwhelmed with their comments. All four people said they would buy my book. What a compliment! Steve, thank you for your great lessons and for the confidence you have helped me to discover. I recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn to write successfully.
It was nice to have an instructor who wasn't afraid to have fun right along with the students. For me, it created a relaxed environment where even the smallest question never felt out of place or foolish.
I've told people that this class was life-changing when it comes to my ability to structure and complete a work of fiction. I always became blocked and wondered how people knew where their story was going next and how to make sure they were headed in the right direction. This answered all my questions and forced me to get to work on my idea. All around fantastic - worth every penny!
I was given this course as a Christmas present from my husband. It has turned out to be the best gift ever. The course is incredibly well structured and well presented. Being a person of great ideas, but little completion, this course forced me to start and FINISH an idea. I truly appreciated instructor feedback, as I've never been able to previously allow myself the vulnerability of sharing any work. Thank you for this opportunity.
If you want to write a novel, you MUST take this course. It will set you on the right foot and save you all kinds of time you might spend floundering around on your own. Thanks, Steve, and I highly recommend this course.
Wow! This has been an amazing six weeks! My story started literally as a lark in response to Steve's question in the first lesson. I have watched it grow and develop almost on its own, an entire world of my imagination being born before my eyes. That's the most astonishing part, it came from inside ME somewhere! And I never knew I had it in me. Remarkable!
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