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 to guide our study of story elements. We'll look at story world, plot, character, ideas, tension, conflict and stakes, and more. 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). Optionally, 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 and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print .
If you want to learn more about the words aspect, about the dialogue and show/don't tell and more, see the Words version of the course (available late 2024) or the Full version of the course (story + word).
Story Elements and Knowing Your Reader Lessons Overview
I: Introduction Introduction to writing a novel. Learn about genre, tone, book length, story hook, blurb, and author worldview and themes.
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? How should that influence our writing?
I: "I" (Characters) Who is telling the story? Characters and Point-of-View.
T: Trouble, Tension, Ticking Clock, and Tips. Some of the essential elements of keeping the reader engaged.
E: Events (Plot) What happens in your story? Should you outline or discovery write?
E: Editing Developmental editing, self-editing, and the different types of editing.
Wrap up. What being an author is like, jobs for writers, how to get published, how to avoid scams, and references for future study.
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.
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 and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print .
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!