Fiction Writing Course Synopsis
Module 1 - Welcome to The Writers Bureau
Your first and most important step to becoming a published writer - how to build on your natural talent - how to enjoy your course - a six point plan to make your course a complete success - analyse your attitudes and writing ambitions.
Module 2 - Making a Writer Out of You
Deciding where and when to write - how to start your writing - writer's block and how to overcome it - the tools you must work with - keeping a cuttings file - how to organise yourself - the writer's approach to life - the need to read widely - personal qualities every writer needs: perseverance, determination, self-organisation, resilience, confidence - how to use rejections to improve your writing.
Module 3 - Developing Your Writing Style
Getting the basics right - 11 rules to develop a good style and avoid common mistakes - constructing clear sentences and paragraphs - using active and passive tenses - link words and signposts - how to say exactly what you mean - dangers to avoid: verbosity, circumlocution, clichés, repetition etc - dealing with slang and obscenities - how to use adjectives, similes and metaphors - comparing different styles.
Module 4 - Essential Legal Aspects
Copyright, plagiarism and how to avoid it - why your good name is important - selling rights - the Internet - the dangers of libel and how to avoid them - contracts, what to look for and how to safeguard your position - the Minimum Terms Agreement - literary agents and how to obtain one - royalties - Public Lending Right - vanity publishing and its snags - self publishing - tax and VAT - using a pen name or pseudonym.
Module 5 - Writing a Novel - Preparation
Everyone has a novel in them - what type of novel to tackle - the advantages of writing for a specific genre - action story or reflective story? - the right mental attitude - technical preparation - market research - length - creating a project file - getting into good writing habits - don't get discouraged - finding story ideas - making sure your idea is strong enough - research - the basic ingredients - conflict - jeopardy - action - tension - your novel's theme - choosing the right viewpoint: first person or third person.
Module 6 - Plotting
Plan your novel - the synopsis - writing to a formula - drawing up the story-line - adding texture - flashbacks - foreshadowing - subplots - coincidence - drawing up a 'treatment' - the three act drama - the beginning - get your story moving swiftly - the middle - develop your theme - the ending - the final show-down - tying up loose ends.
Module 7 - Characterisation and Dialogue
Creating vivid characters - make them larger than life - the believability factor - bringing your characters to life - names - mannerisms - motivations - building composite characters - contrast your characters - introducing your characters - the advantages of keeping the 'cast' small - avoiding stereotypes - creating a memorable main character - the sympathetic enemy - dialogue - making it plausible and interesting - the functions of dialogue: pushing on the plot, increasing excitement, characterisation - pace - creating emotional change - direct or indirect speech? - dialogue tags - slang and swear words - dialect - presentation.
Module 8 - Setting and Atmosphere, Revising and Selling Your Novel
Finding a suitable setting - building the right mood - using the weather to good effect - drawing on all five senses - choosing the best viewpoint - revising your first draft - seeking feedback from others - your own checklist to use - selling your novel - make full use of your synopsis - manuscript presentation - the covering letter - sending your work to publishers - getting an agent - the end!
Module 9 - Writing Specialist Fiction
Recent changes to the market - Romance - Historical: realistic stories or 'bodice rippers'? - Detective Stories - Thrillers: faction or fiction? - War - Humour: misadventure, satire, sci-fi/fantasy, parody - Children's fiction - Science fiction: the differences between traditional sci-fi and fantasy - Male Interest - Women's Interest - Horror - Westerns - Erotica - market research is vital.
Module 10 - Writing the Short Story
Why short story writing is not an easy option - using your critical faculties when reading - learning to be self-critical - what is a short story? - the markets for short stories: literary magazines, small press magazines, competitions, the mass market, the Internet - ideas for plots - types of short story: women's magazine stories, twist-enders, true life stories, horror stories, science fiction, children's stories - making sure there's conflict in your plot - making your style fit the publication you are targeting - choosing the right viewpoint to use - openings that hook your reader: shock technique, dialogue or narrative - the story's 'body' - satisfying endings - using dialogue to aid characterisation - using dialogue to give information - using dialogue to move the story forward - making your characters believable - making the reader empathise with your main characters - physical descriptions - titles - taboos - selling your work - the covering letter - coping with rejection - success!
Module 11- Short Stories for Radio
Doing your market research - a tough nut to crack - writing to the right length - what makes a winner - the differences between writing for radio and magazines - making it appeal to the ear - choosing the best viewpoint - monologues - example of a typical radio story - getting on the right wavelength.
Module 12 - Writing Radio Drama
Why the radio play is a distinct art form - learning to estimate running time - layout of your script - giving directions - how to do your research - how to capitalise on your listener's imagination - the switch off danger time - opening your radio play - how many characters? - avoiding stereotypes - making your characters believable - where to begin your story - making dialogue work for you - preparing the first draft - editing your work - dramatising a short story - avoiding awkward silences.
Module 13 - Writing for Television
A vast and growing market - cost constraints - doing your market research - know the medium - different types of drama - the importance of ideas - preparing a synopsis - telling the story in pictures and words - learn to express your ideas in television terms - background and mood - exposition - suspense - conflict - dialogue - characterisation - the character mix - structure: beats, scenes and sequences - visualising your material - layout and length - camera tricks and effects - deciding what to write about. Series - breaking into the genre - reading the format - the treatment - how payment is made. Situation comedy - have an original premise - character driven plots - doing the 'postcard test' - making the humour work - learning the craft.
Module 14 - Writing for the Theatre
Putting your play into perspective - how to acquire theatrical knowledge - sources of ideas - how to select a theme - what kind of play? - setting your stage - deciding on characters - the importance of entrances and exits - developing your characters - structure of your play - how many acts? - how many scenes? - planning - dialogue - how to carry the action forward - using dialogue to create character - think of your actors - introducing drama and conflict - the dramatic climax - when to end - developing your stagecraft - directions - know your stage - working with the actors - improving your work - doing your market research - useful contacts - additional reading.
Punctuation And Spelling – Diana Nadin
This is a guide and reference for those who have ever had doubts about their ability to spell and punctuate correctly. This is an excellent little reference book to help you.
Getting The Most From Interviews – Iain Pattison
Iain has interviewed thousands of people, from all walks of life. Here he gives you excellent advice on how to develop your interview technique and takes you step-by-step from setting up the interview to the final written piece.
The Internet - Making It Work For You – Nicola Taylor
Nicola provides a quick guide to writing for online publishers, finding markets and contacting them. She then looks at using the Internet for both research and to publicise yourself.