In this detailed, nuts-and-bolts course, you'll learn how to create complex characters, craft a compelling plot, write dramatic and believable dialogue, choose the best point of view for your story, draw readers into your fictional world with description, and hone your narrative voice.
Every week, you'll get new lessons and a related assignment. Each video and written lecture will focus on an essential element of narrative craft (see schedule below). In the final week, we'll discuss revision and how to submit your stories for publication.
Each module includes writing assignments to help you practice what you've learned and deepen your understanding of the material, as well as suggestions for further reading. The discussion forums provide a place for you to discuss what you've learned and ask questions of the instructor.
If you've always wanted to write a story but don't know where to begin, this course is for you. Taught by a New York Times bestselling author with more than a decade of experience teaching creative writing to graduate students, MASTER THE SHORT STORY provides a great foundation for anyone interested in writing and publishing short fiction.
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If you would like to receive feedback on your assignments from the instructor, please purchase the Critique Add-on.
Week One: Characterization
Learn to create complex characters whose motivations and desires drive your story. Understand the primary methods of character revelation, and discover techniques for making your characters stand out. Define your protagonist and use his or her desires to help plot your story.
Week Two: Point of View
Learn the major points of view and how to use them. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of each point of view, and learn how to choose the best point of view for your story.
Week Three: Structuring the Short Story
Plot and structure are not the same! Learn the difference, and see how an improved structure can take your story from blah to brilliant. Discover the basic blueprint that works for all kinds of stories in any genre.
Week Four: Setting and Description
Learn how to ground your reader in place, and how to make the world of your story come alive through sensory details. Get past abstraction and understand the difference between significant detail and unnecessary description.
Week Five: Dialogue
Get your characters to talk. Learn how to deepen characterization through dialogue, and how to create conversations that progress the plot. Learn techniques for making dialogue sound authentic, and avoid the pitfalls that make for stilted dialogue.
Week Six: Plotting the Story
Learn how to create suspense, create a compelling arc, and construct a strong beginning, middle, and end. Understand the difference between plot and structure.
Week 7: Voice and Theme
Learn how to develop your own unique voice. Discover how theme works with plot and character to make a story both meaningful and layered. Learn how to use thematic connections to make a story collection more desirable to publishers.
Week Eight: Revising and Publishing Your Story
You have a draft and you're ready to roll, right? Not so fast. The story isn't finished until you've revised. Learn how to identify weak spots in your story, improve pace through line edits, and find your story's true beginning and ending. Generate a cover letter and a list of outlets for publication.
By the end of this class, you will have a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of narrative craft. You will have written and revised a short story, and you will be on your way to submitting it for publication.
Enroll now and get started immediately!
This course officially began on February 10th. When you enroll, you'll have instant access to all modules that have been published to date, so that you can catch up at your own convenience. You'll have full access to the course for six months after your enrollment date, so you can revisit all of the materials at any time.
NO-RISK GUARANTEE: If for some reason the class does not meet your needs, cancel any time within the first two weeks for a full refund.
Michelle Richmond is the author of four novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Year of Fog, and two story collections, including Hum, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, and The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, winner of the Grace Paley Prize for Fiction. Her new novel will be published in 2017, with foreign editions forthcoming in 27 languages. She has taught in the MFA programs in creative writing at the University of San Francisco, California College of the Arts, St. Mary's College of Moraga, Bowling Green State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University, where she held the Catherine Julie Cunningham Chair. She has also taught novel writing online for Stanford Continuing Studies. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, where she was a James Michener Fellow. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.
Her articles on narrative craft have appeared in The Writer's Chronicle, Writer's Digest, and Glimmer Train's newsletter for writers, and her essays about literature have appeared in The Believer and Oxford American. Her stories and essays have also appeared in Glimmer Train, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, and many other magazines, newspapers, and anthologies.