Our college affiliated extension courses are offered through the online learning programs of more than 1500 colleges, worldwide! Each course lasts six weeks, and consists of 12 lessons. Each lesson includes instructional materials, a quiz, web resources, an assignment involving your own original writing, and a discussion area where you'll share your work and receive feedback from Steve Alcorn. It's like being a member of the world's most exclusive critique group! New courses begin monthly.
These are our most intensive courses, where interaction with your instructor is key. Here is sample student feedback, all from a single session:
This course helps you develop the same story structuring skills the pros use. You'll understand how your passion, theme, premise, and characters help you create the structure of your story, and you'll discover how viewpoint, dialogue, pacing, and many other techniques are used to build scenes and move your story from beginning to end.
Each assignment in this course helps you develop your own original novel or story. As you apply each technique, your story will take shape, with a clear path from beginning to end.
And whenever you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in the Discussion Area for some interactive brainstorming! Before you know it, you'll be prepared to ...write fiction like a pro.
What makes a mystery? If you consider the books you've read most recently, you may be surprised to discover that many--if not all--are mysteries. From Dan Brown to Dennis Lehane, mysteries are hot items on today's best-seller lists.
This course will teach you the techniques you need to know if you want to become a best-selling mystery author. Mystery Writing begins by introducing the four story types and then explains how they relate to mysteries. It then reveals the three-act story structure, which is any story's key to success. Next, it shows you how to propel the action forward to a climax, followed by a catharsis in which your readers feel the release of tension that accompanies a great finish.
The difference between story and plot is one of the most important distinctions in fiction writing--and one that many professional authors don't fully understand. But you will have mastered it by the end of this course. You'll also get a chance to experiment with viewpoints and see which one works best for your mystery. And you'll write a complete scene from your story and learn the internal structure that makes every scene feel right.
Finally, you'll delve into the special techniques that apply to mysteries, including crime scene description, MacGuffins, and the use of red herrings to misdirect your readers and create suspense. Examples from real mystery novels will show these techniques in action. Then, following each lesson, you'll get to practice on your own story. And when you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in a dynamic, interactive discussion area.
This information-packed online course combines the best advice of many writing professionals, tempered with the instructor's own experiences as a mystery writer. Follow the guidelines taught in this course, and you'll be well on your way to writing a successful mystery of your very own!
From Harry Potter to Twilight, young adult fiction is one of the hottest genres for today's novels. Teens and adults alike have discovered the excitement and passion of these stories, and publishers are hungry for more. If you're eager to break into this market, this course provides you with the recipe for creating your own successful young adult story and shows you how to get it published.
First, you'll learn why writing young adult fiction is both fun and financially rewarding. After that, you'll decide what type of story you want to tell, plan your plot, and choose the dramatic elements that will keep your readers eagerly turning pages. Next, you'll discover the secrets for bringing your characters to life.
You'll also learn about story patterns, the three-act structure, and a technique called scene and sequel. In addition, you'll find out how to introduce conflict, suspense, and mystery so you can grab and hold your readers' attention. And are you fluent in teenspeak? In these lessons, you'll master the art of creating dialogue that resonates with teenagers and young adults.
You'll also decide which viewpoint, voice, and tense you want to use, and you'll see how imagery can make your story sparkle. As you master each element of young adult fiction, you'll also be writing scenes for your own story. In addition, you'll analyze excerpts from bestselling young adult books to see what makes them so successful.
In the final lessons, you'll get expert advice on publishing and marketing your book. You'll learn how to find an agent or publisher and how to write a synopsis that sells. You'll also get the facts about literary contests and discover why on-demand publishing might be the perfect choice for you.
Join author and writing mentor Steve Alcorn and discover what you need to know to write for children. If you're a beginning writer, this course will help you transform your book idea into a finished product that could potentially land in the hands of an editor or agent. And if you're already a successful writer, this course will help you explore new opportunities and markets for your work.
You'll explore the changing world of children's literature and understand the various formats, whether it's picture books, chapter books, middle grade or young adult novels. You'll get insights from publishing professionals to gain a better understanding of the needs of today's market. You'll receive valuable tips about creating your manuscript, and even practice writing a query letter to submit to a publisher.
By the time you finish this course, you'll have all the tools and resources you'll need to begin navigating the world of children's publishing and to continue growing as a writer for children.
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? Are you a published author who wants to learn techniques to write more effectively and efficiently?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Advanced Fiction Writing is for you! 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. And in the Discussion Area, you'll have an opportunity to share your work with classmates to obtain their feedback. In Advanced Fiction Writing, you'll explore the essential techniques that are often overlooked by other writing classes and textbooks. And you'll explore them in a clear, step-by-step fashion that will make it easy for you to turn your story idea into a published book.
Join us for the next six weeks, and you'll never look at fiction writing the same way again!