Fiction Writing Course Outline
View our creative writing course outline below to find out what you'll learn in our exciting online class. Each part of our fiction writing curriculum is designed to enhance your knowledge and passion for your new career.
- Unit 1
- Unit 2
- Unit 3
- Unit 4
Unit 1 The Fictive Dream and Scene Making
Lesson 1.1 Creating a Dream in the Reader’s Mind
In Lesson 1.1: Discover how effective writers use details to create images in the reader’s imagination. Practice choosing the most effective details to establish a believable setting for your plot as you develop a better understanding of the Fictive Dream concept.
Lesson 1.2 Scene versus Narrative Summary
In Lesson 1.2: Employ action and dialogue to advance your storyline as you further explore concepts of the narrative summary. Complete writing experiences to practice writing sample ‘fictive dreams’ as you work with your mentor to understand the relationship between scenery and fictive dreams.
Lesson 1.3 How to Build Characters Via Scenes
In Lesson 1.3: Discover how you can use actions to reveal the personalities of the characters in your story. Practice identifying ‘telling’ details and choosing the best ones to incorporate in your character development efforts. Define what character clichés are, then explore how visual details can help establish them.
Lesson 1.4 How to Sustain the Dream
In Lesson 1.4: Learn the importance of being constantly aware of the images you have created in your narrative. Discover character interactions with your established setting and learn how those interactions can further the plot and character development you are trying to achieve. Finally, practice applying your personal memories to the scenes you create, then alternatively, practice creating scenes based entirely on your imagination.
Lesson 1.5 The Writer's Life
In Lesson 1.5: Learn the tricks-of-the-trade that professional creative writers employ to enhance their writing time. You'll begin to recognize your current habits and learn how to correct them while developing a productive workflow.
Unit 2 How Plot and Character Come Together to Make Stories
Lesson 2.1 Cause and Effect
In Lesson 2.1: Start by identifying the elements of fiction necessary to a well-developed story. Continue by exploring how the scenes you create all interact with one another in a clear trajectory, and how one event ‘presses on’ to a subsequent one. Consider the value of small occurrences as well as you explore subtle ways to make a plot impact, demonstrating how cause and effect moves all stories forward.
Lesson 2.2 Character Conflict
In Lesson 2.2: Here you will start to demonstrate the relationship between internal and external conflicts experienced by characters, and how those conflicts can interact. You will also learn how to apply a given conflict with social institutions and systems. Develop a comprehensive understanding of how a character's conflicts can animate a plot from start to finish.
Lesson 2.3 Situation versus Plot
In Lesson 2.3: Begin by establishing a compelling situation within your plot, then learn the point at which said situation becomes integral to an overall storyline. You will demonstrate the various ways in which a plot brings more visibility to a character’s personal conflicts, as well as the classical definition of plot in relation to character.
Lesson 2.4 Round vs. Flat Characters
In Lesson 2.4: Identify movie types, stereotypes and cartoon characters, then learn how to avoid creating them in your own writing. Learn how to clearly express what your characters want as you differentiate “round” versus “flat” characters in professional writing. Finally, write your own sample scenes in which characters take actions that help build their identity and shape their development.
Lesson 2.5 The Writer’s Life
In Lesson 2.5: Here you will develop a deeper understanding of why regular reading is critical to a professional writer’s development. Learn the ways in which reading the works of other published, professional authors can help inspire, shape your voice and spur concepts for future writings of your own.
Unit 3 Voice and Dialogue
Lesson 3.1 Natural versus Realistic Dialogue
In Lesson 3.1: Define “shaping” and “recording” in terms of depicting character speech, learn the difference between the two, and the most effective times to employ each method respectively. Demonstrate the difference between "natural" and "realistic" dialogue as you eliminate unnecessary small talk, identify “strong” dialog and apply diction to your writing.
Lesson 3.2 Dialog Is a Form of Action
In Lesson 3.2: Demonstrate the difference between what your characters are saying versus how it’s being said as you grasp the concept of “talking around the truth” in your character development. Understand the revealing nature of dialog and its critical interaction with character development as you produce well-written diction that reveals conflict and keeps your story moving forward.
Lesson 3.3 The Writer’s Voice
In Lesson 3.3: Here you will identify your own unique voice, from realizing the details that preoccupy your writing to examining your own written sentences more closely. You will look at the way your sentences sound, how they are composed, the length of them- all the things that make your voice characteristic to you. From there, you will apply your analysis to better demonstrate how your language, sentence structure, diction, and metaphor can effectively combine to produce a story or novel.
Lesson 3.4 Developing Your Voice
In Lesson 3.4: Identify and understand what complex sentences are as you examine other writers’ work. Develop professional strategies used to intensify your unique voice in a story or novel, then practice distinguishing the voices of other well-known writers as you identify what makes each one unique. Finally, you will work on ways to further develop your own distinctive voice.
Lesson 3.5 The Writer’s Life
In Lesson 3.5: Here you will start thinking about the business aspect to a creative writing career. Once you have more firmly established your unique voice and writing style, you will begin identifying publishing venues where you feel your work would be a good fit. You will learn more about how the publishing process works, and what you need to do to get started.
Unit 4 Point of View
Lesson 4.1 The Right Point of View for Your Story
In Lesson 4.1: Here you will begin by identifying the point of view of your characters, most importantly identifying which character is best-positioned to actually tell the story to your readers. From there, you will examine situations in which “observer” storytelling is the most effective. Wrap up the lesson by writing scenes told from varying points of view to help you determine which storyteller feels like the best fit.
Lesson 4.2 First Person
In Lesson 4.2: Begin with a discussion on the complex histories of characters and how these histories help shape particular voices in our character development. From there, learn how use of certain dialog can help you further identify those histories and consequentially shape our first-person stories. Finally, examine the difference between first person and observer-narrator storytelling, and identify the limits and advantages of writing in each style respectively.
Lesson 4.3 Second and Third-Person Narration
In Lesson 4.3: Here you will learn the best methods for describing a character’s point of view “from the outside.” Distinguish when this method is more effective compared to the employment of a character’s interior thought-dialog in effective storytelling. Finally, identify the pros and cons of second person point of view, third person limited point of view and third person omniscient point of view.
Lesson 4.4 Omniscient Narrators
In Lesson 4.4: Learn how the omniscient voice allows you to demonstrate the inner thoughts of several characters at once. From there, learn professional techniques for developing an omniscient voice that actually has a separate opinion of its own. Finally, investigate the limits and advantages of the omniscient point of view overall.
Lesson 4.5 The Writer’s Life: How to Identify and Query Agents
In Lesson 4.5: Here you’ll continue a more business practical exploration of the moneymaking opportunities within the creative writing field, this time by studying the agent- writer relationship. You will learn how to seek out an agent, identify an agent worth working with on your projects, and how to query one professionally.