LEARN and EARN with CREATIVE WRITING
Nurture your Creativity, and Become a Successful Writer
To be successful as a creative writer, you need to develop not only writing skills; but also a technique and an ability to distill your ideas, focus on a project and follow that project trough to it's conclusion. Creative writing is stimulating, but also challenging, and not always completely what the student expects it to be. Then again... if it was what you expect; you would already know what this course sets out to teach you, and you would already probably be a successful writer.
If you want to be a successful, creative writer; and have the commitment to follow that dream; this course could be the path you have been looking for.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate in Creative Writing is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
What is in the Modules
Module 1. Creative Writing
The nine lessons are as outlined below:
2. Basic Writing Skills
3. Being Concise and Clear
4. Planning what you write
6. Non Fiction
7. Newspaper Writing
8. Magazine Writing
9. Writing Books
10. Special Project
Module 2. Writing Fiction
There are eight lessons in this module as follows:
Module 3. Children's Writing
- Scope & Nature of Fiction
- Components of a Story – beginning, middle and end
- Technique…The Creative Process – conception, developing a plot, Writing a Draft, Editing and rewriting; Method Writing
- Conception and Research
- The Short Story
- The Novel
There are ten lessons in this unit, as follows:
Module 4. Editing I
- Introduction: Understanding Children, their thoughts, needs, development.
- Overview of Children’s Writing: Categories (fiction & non fiction), understanding the market place; analyse & understand what is needed for the different categories, etc.
- Conceptualisation: Conceiving a concept…where & how to find inspiration/influence. Developing a concept … how to plan.
- Children’s Writing for Periodicals: Children’s pages in magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Short Stories
- Non-Fiction: Texts (writing to satisfy curriculum. Other (eg. nature, history, biography, hobbies).
- Fiction: settings, characterisation, fantasy, science fiction, adventure.
- Picture Books and Story Books
- Editing your work: Grammar, spelling & punctuation. Improving clarity. Cleaning out clutter; expansions.
- Project - write a short story, picture book or kids page for a (hypothetical) periodical.
Module 5. Dramatic Writing
- Introduction to Editing
- The Mechanics of Clear Writing
- Assessing Manuscripts
- Copy Editing I
- Copy Editing II
- Preparing Copy for Printing
- Proof Reading
- The Final Stages
Module 6. Poetry
- Characters –Developing the characters
- Theme & Genre
- Plot Development
- Weaving a Story
- Writing a Dramatic Short Story
- Developing Sub Plots
- Writing a Chapters for a Dramatic Novel
There are nine lessons in this module as follows:
- Brief description of the many different types of poetry, poetry forms and terminology.
- Famous poets.
- Encouraging your creativity.
- Developing different styles of poetry a
- Developing different styles of poetry b
- Developing different styles of poetry c
- Developing different styles of poetry d
- Getting your work published – how and where
- The next phase – how to continue to improve
Consider How You Might Develop Credible Characters in a Story
Stories need characters. Fiction or non fiction, the creative writer will find the character in what they are writing about and present the subject of their story in a way that engages with and captures the attention of their audience.
Even stories which might seem like they don’t have characters do – a character can be a person, an animal, even inanimate objects. In some novels, the narrator is an active character; in others, the narrator is fairly removed.
Characters drive your story forward. They want, need, and feel and this drives them to take certain actions. Then, when they take those actions, their actions have consequences. Consequences keep the story moving.
Characteristics of Character-Driven Stories
Character-driven stories emphasise character growth over the general plot. In these stories, the main character is seeking something that will change their life on an interior level.
Let’s say we’re writing a story about Sue, a woman who wins a million dollars. In a plot-driven novel, Sue’s big win will result in a series of actions, and these actions will focus on doing. Sue might go buy a new car, or pay off her parents’ mortgage. She will have reasons for each action, and they will be tied to how she feels, but the story will focus on how Sue acts, and her actions will be the most important part of the story.
In a character-driven novel, Sue’s big win will result in a change in her relationships and feelings. How she feels will still drive actions, but the focus will be on her emotions and personal growth. Here, she might pay off her parents’ mortgage, but the novel will discuss why this is important to her, how she feels about paying off the mortgage, and how her parents feel when she does so. In this story, Sue is also likely to reflect on the change she sees in herself, and if it is good or bad.
Developing Your Characters
Before you jump into describing your characters in depth, think about what they do for your story. What are the key feelings and actions driving your plot? This is an important step for both plot-driven and character-driven novels.
Remember: without plot, there is no story. Without characters, there is no story. You need both to write a creative story.
Once you have an idea of what your characters do for your story, it’s time to start the developmental process. It’s easy to think that this stage is just about hair colour and favourite foods, but really, character development is an in-depth process that can make or break your story. Investing time in this stage will make your writing process more fluid, and help you fit all the pieces of plot and character together smoothly.
Set aside an hour or two, grab a pen, and ask:
- Who is the most important character in my story?
- Who is the second most important character in my story?
- How are these two characters related?
You can answer these questions in point form or as paragraphs. Don’t worry about being too specific. That will come later.
- What does my character want?
- What does my character need?
- What is absolutely necessary for my character’s survival? What can’t he/she live without?
- Who does my character care about the most?
- Does my character sacrifice anything by the end of this story? What does he/she sacrifice?
Take the time to answer these general questions for every major character in your story. This will show you how your characters relate to the plot. Invest time thinking about the actions/thoughts your character(s) contributes to the plot, and how he or she drives the story forward. Remember, characters feel then take action. Each action has a consequence.
If you’re struggling with this, find a book you love and work through the above exercises with it, first. For instance, in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea – a character-driven novel -- you could say that Santiago cannot live without the boy who fishes with him and cares for him, or without the ocean. These two needs drive the entire story.
Once you’ve worked through these exercises, you’ll have a much more rounded idea of who you’re writing about, and you can get down to the nitty gritty of individual description.
Developing your characters can be difficult. We talked about deciding who your main and essential characters are.
Write each character’s name down on a piece of paper. Now describe them –
- Their name
- Body shape – overweight, sexy, muscular, chunky etc
- Bad points
- Their part in the story
After you have done this for each character, you may find that some characters are not essential and you can mould them together into one character.
Now try to describe the character in prose form. Think carefully about how they look, how they act.
By now, you should have a pretty good sense of who your characters are and how they fit into your story. The next step is working out how to show who they are. Go back to your profiles. See if there are any key actions or habits your characters have which demonstrate something about them. For instance, in our story about Sue and her big win, Sue might have always been generous – and the reader knows this because Sue donates her time to the local animal shelter and likes to pick up something nice to eat to take with her whenever she goes to visit her parents. These actions are part of Sue’s everyday life. They’re also tied to her personality, so that through them, the reader has a better sense of who Sue is a person.
THE BENEFIT OF THIS COURSE
Being able to write well and creatively is a valued skill in more jobs than what you might imagine.
Creative and effective writing is sought after in marketing anything. Creatively written education materials are valued in education. Creative writing makes web sites work better.
Many who do this course may aspire to write a novel or produce and publish short stories. Some will;others may struggle.
There are however many other opportunities; and good writers are unlikely to ever be out of work.
This course can help you to become a better writer, then discover and exploit any latent potential you might have.