Stranger Than Fiction: The History & Craft of Fiction Writing$60
About this course
Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 12-17. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted.
Start Date: March 2. Class runs for 4 weeks. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.
What makes a good story? What makes a bad story? How can a writer make their readers care about the characters they have created? What motivates someone to write a story in the first place? In this course, we will look at many examples of creative writers who have used storytelling to share their ideas and opinions about the world around them, and who have turned to fiction to see their imaginations come to life.
This 4-week course will introduce students to major aspects of creative fiction, looking specifically at popular writers and genres that have helped shape modern creative writing in the United States and around the world. As a creative writing “workshop”, this course will focus heavily on reading and writing, and will include examples of famous writers from many different cultures throughout history to help students create fictional stories of their own.
By the end of this course, students will become familiar with several major figures in literary history, as well as with the basic building blocks of storytelling – such as genre, character, setting, conflict, and resolution. Creative assignments will give students the opportunity to use these skills in developing their own creative writing style so they can begin to build their own fictional worlds!
This is class is not recommended for most children under 12 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). There will be only one level for this course.
LESSON PLANS: This is a 4 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.
Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.
DISCUSSION: There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!
ASSIGNMENTS: The assignments in this class are designed to help students develop their own creative writing skills and style. Assignments will be more writing intensive, focused on the basic building blocks of storytelling – such as genre, character, setting, conflict, and resolution. Creative assignments will give students the opportunity to use these skills in developing their own creative writing style so they can begin to build their own fictional worlds! All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.
QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.
GRADES: All quizzes, labs, and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.
TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).
Week 1 – Genre and Character
This first week will look at major classifications of fiction to familiarize students with different genres of creative writing, and will also introduce students to various strategies for creating realistic and interesting characters that readers can follow through the end of their story.
Week 2 – Setting and Backstory
This second week will focus on “world-building” in creative fiction, and will teach students the importance of place and setting in storytelling so that readers have a deeper understanding of the characters and events in a fictional world.
Week 3 – Conflict and Dialogue
This third week will introduce students to different strategies for creating tension in a story, and will focus on writing successful dialogue and character interaction that can show these characters learning and growing from conflict throughout their story.
Week 4 – Resolution and The Editing Process
This final week will emphasize conflict resolution in a story so that the overall journey of each character reaches an interesting and logical conclusion, and will also offer students suggestions and strategies for editing and organizing their creative ideas.
Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.