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Writing Fiction

For the serious fiction writer, this course helps students hone their craft and master the art of writing great fiction. The course aims to enhance the author’s existing writing toolkit, in the knowledge that there is always more to learn.

Aimed at authors who already have a book idea, first draft, or an outline, this six-week course is for authors with some creative-writing experience, but who may have struggled to get it all down and ready for a publisher to see. The course slashes through the noise and zones in on the essentials. It also highlights the most common mistakes that authors make in fiction.

Delivered live, the course will cover the basics of structure, plotting, theme, dialogue, characterization, point of view, pace, and more. Tutors will provide resource materials for authors to absorb and guidelines to implement in their own time.

BONUS: The last two weeks will feature round-table discussions, with HarperCollins published authors sharing their writing experience with students in a live online environment.

At the end of the course, students should have the tools to produce a solid fiction proposal.

Week 1

Story Engineering and the Big Picture: Genre, Theme, Plotting and Structure (2 hours)

Plot Structure: The dynamics of plot. How to create a story and grow it into a novel.
Scene Structure: Story units. Types of scene and how to develop them.
Theme: What’s it all about?
Week 2

What keeps Readers reading: Characters, Setting, Pacing, and Viewpoint (2 hours)

Characters: Credibility and the art of creating three-dimensional characters.
Setting: The elements of setting.
Pacing: Narration and action.
Viewpoint: Point of view and the magic camera of storytelling in a novel. The dos and don’ts.
Week 3

Now let’s get it right: Dialogue, Show and Tell, Description, Exposition, and Style (2 hours)

Dialogue: Learn to write good dialogue.
Show and Tell: What’s the difference and which should you use?
Description and Exposition: Showing what’s happening, summarizing aspects of the story, and striking the right balance.
Style: How to develop a good writing style.
Week 4

Putting it all together for Publication: Book Proposal, Synopsis, and Submission know-how (2 hours)

The Writing Mindset: Tips on putting it all together.
Synopsis: What to include.
The Book Proposal: What publishers need to see, and how to prepare a book for submission.
Week 5

Genre Breakout Sessions: 1 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins author talks Romance.
A HarperCollins author talks Crime, Thrillers, Mystery, and Suspense.
Week 6

Genre Breakout Sessions: 2 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins author talks Science Fiction and Fantasy.
A HarperCollins author talks Literary Fiction.

Reading Resources:

A comprehensive list of further reading resources is also available for enrolled authors to use and absorb in their own time.