What do we cover in the class?
The course is outlined according to the acronym I. W.R.I.T.E. I admit I am not a fan of acronyms, but this one came to me out of the blue, and I realized it was very useful, so we’re going with it. Twice, actually. Once for story elements and once for the actual writing. We’ll also look at what readers want in a story so you can create stories with a premise that captures reader interest. There will be assignments throughout the course to help you learn the techniques of great writing, and you'll write a short story (around 20,000 words) and a book proposal. You will also read two books over the course of the class to strengthen your grammar and writing: Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English (Fourth Edition) by Patricia T. O'Conner (in the fall) and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print (in the spring).
Module 1: Story Elements and Knowing Your Reader
I: Introduction Introduction to writing a novel.
I: Ideas Where do we get ideas and how do we decide which ones to use?
W: World The story world (setting) is more than just the place the action happens but influences everything that happens.
R: Readers What do readers expect and want? Learn about genre, tone, book length, story hook, and blurb.
I: "I" (Characters) Who is telling the story? Characters and Point-of-View.
T: Trouble The all-important goals and conflict that drive your story.
E: Events (Plot) What happens in your story? Should you outline or discovery write?
E: Editing for big picture issues.
Module 2: Midpoint
Midpoint: Review, Q&A, and book proposals (even if you're not seeking traditional publishing, writing a book proposal will help you become a better author).
Module 3: Going Deeper into Story and Words
I: Introduction to great writing. Description.
W: Words or not? Show/don’t tell.
R: Rhythm. Writing scene and sequel.
I: Interest. Capture reader interest with a great first line, a middle that doesn’t sag, and a satisfying ending.
T: Talk. Dialogue and action beats.
E: Editing. Self-editing and the different types of editing.
Module 4: The End.
Wrap up. What being an author is like, jobs for writers, how to get published, how to avoid scams, and references for future study. You'll turn in the final book proposal and short story.
Weekly assignments are designed to help students learn to analyze the stories they consume for story elements and good writing technique and so learn from them. Students will also work on developing a short story (approximately 20,000 words) throughout the course and will use what they learn to create a book proposal. Students can post some of the assignments and ask questions in the online discussion board.
The short story will be a retelling of the classic "Beauty and the Beast" story. Why? Because having a framework eases the burden of starting everything from scratch. Retellings and fan fiction are how many of us started out. Retellings are very flexible, however, so you can do a lot with the idea.
Students will also read two books over the course of the class to strengthen their grammar and writing: Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English (Fourth Edition) by Patricia T. O'Conner (in the fall) and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print (in the spring).
That’s the class summary. If you’re still with me, you may be wondering about me and why I am teaching the course and what experience I have in writing and teaching. Again, I’m Elizabeth (E.J. Kitchens), and I’m a freelance copyeditor, author of clean YA fantasy novels, and an instructor. I come from a family of writers but didn’t discover my own love of writing until I was twenty-six. Consequently, I have a science background and have taught college microbiology labs and community college biology courses. I enjoy teaching and writing and helping others with their writing.
If you want to check out my writing, you can find my books on my website here: https://www.ejkitchens.com.
See you in the course!