Explore advanced fiction writing techniques with a published novelist.
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!
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- PC: Windows 8 or newer.
- 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 Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.When you have a talent and a passion for writing, it's important to share it. This course will provide you with the formula for creating and polishing a successful fiction manuscript and getting it published.
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. 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? You'll learn how to do so in this lesson.
Viewpoint, Voice, and Tense
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.
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, 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.
Conflict, Action, and Suspense
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.
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, you'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. You'll see lots of great examples that should help you to spark your own creative ideas.
Symbols, Metaphors, and Writing Big
Writing is more than a profession; i'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."
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, 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.
Self-Editing, Submission, and Marketing
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 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.