Join Jessica Brody for an in-depth discussion in this video How this course works, part of The Foundations of Fiction.
(introspective music) - In this course, we'll be covering the six foundational blocks of writing great fiction. These are the six tools that every great fiction writer knows and uses to craft sophisticated, compelling, and dynamic works of fiction. - Whether that be novels, short stories, memoirs, flash fiction, and even screenplays and stageplays. - And by the end of this course, these six foundational blocks will become useful tools in your writer's toolbox to help you craft great works of fiction as well.
- Each of the sections in this course are devoted to one of these six foundational blocks of great fiction, with several lectures and fun writing prompts for each to help you really grasp and master each tool. - But to give you a quick overview, here are the six foundational blocks we'll be covering. Number one, characters. In this section, we'll teach you how to craft memorable and complex characters that will pull readers right into your story. - [Jo] Number two, dialogue. In this section, we'll be discussing how to write dynamic and vibrant dialogue that will bring those complex characters to life.
- [Jessica] Number three, point of view. In this section, we'll learn all about the different options you have when choosing who is telling your story, and how to masterfully use each one. - [Jo] Number four, narrative style. In this section, we'll discuss more options for storytelling, this time focusing on how the story is told, and the various formats and techniques we can use to tell an engaging story. - [Jessica] Number five, setting. In this section, we'll share the secrets of the trade for writing and describing vivid scenes and settings that really bring the world of your story to life.
- [Jo] And finally, number six, plot. In this section we'll dive into the world of plot and plot structure, and teach you how to develop your plots to not only keep your reader hooked and turning pages, but also to help you finish the stories that you start with riveting and satisfying endings. - We've designed this course for both beginner and advanced fiction writers. If you're just starting out, this course will give you useful tools and a solid foundation upon which to build your fiction writing. - On the other hand, if you've already been writing for a little while, this course will help strengthen those foundations, and serve as a great reminder of what makes for great fiction.
- We've created two separate tracks for this course. A Foundational Track, for those of you looking to build a solid foundation for your fiction writing, and master the basics of each foundational block, and an Advanced Track, for those of you looking to take your fiction writing to the next level, or even for beginners looking to challenge themselves and dive a little deeper into each of the topics covered in this course. - [Jo] To follow the Foundational Track, simply complete the lectures found at the beginning of each section. These will be labeled with the word Foundation.
Then, skip over the lectures found at the end of each section, labeled with the word Advanced. - [Jessica] On the other hand, if you'd like to follow our Advanced Track, simply complete all the lectures in each section, the Foundation lectures, and the Advanced lectures. - [Jo] But don't worry about remembering all of this. In each section, we'll always remind you where to go if you're on the Foundational Track, or the Advanced Track. - [Jessica] Regardless of which track you choose, you'll be completing tons of fun and inspiring writing prompts, or exercises, designed to get your creative juices flowing, spark new ideas, and help you fully absorb and apply the skills you've learned in each lecture.
- [Jo] And sometimes, we'll even do the prompts right along with you. - [Jessica] Then we'll read what we wrote, so you can see how we chose to approach the exercise. - [Jo] Some students choose to complete the writing prompts as they go, pausing the course to put their new skills to use immediately. - [Jessica] While other students prefer to complete the entire course first, and then go back to try out the writing prompts. - [Jo] Either way is good for us. Whatever works best for you, and your personal learning style. - [Jessica] Directions for the writing prompts are provided in each lecture, but for your convenience, and to make it easier to revisit the prompts as often as you like, we've also provided them as PDF handouts in the resources section, so you can download them, print them out, and do them anywhere and at anytime.
- How, when, and where you complete the prompts is entirely up to you. For instance, some people prefer writing on a computer, or laptop, or tablet, while others prefer the tactile feel of a pen and paper. - [Jessica] That's right. There's no wrong way to do any of these prompts. Our best piece of advice, however, is to not worry too much about being perfect. These exercises are designed to get you writing, get your creativity flowing, and get words down on the page. - [Jo] You may love what you come up with, you may never want to see it again, but the point is that you're practicing your writing.
- Just like a musician with a musical instrument, you have to practice writing preferably every day to get better at it. - And whether you love or hate what you write during this course, we urge you never to throw anything away. - [Jessica] Even the writing you don't like might have the seeds of a big idea. - [Jo] Or maybe there are a few sentences that are really funny or beautiful that you could use later in the future. - Again, these are just practice exercises. You might come up with something in one of these prompts that sparks an entire story, or even a full-length novel.
- Or you might write something that just makes you cringe. - Either way, save everything you write in a drawer, or in a file on your computer. - You never know when it might come in handy. - Okay, I think we've talked enough about what this course is about. What do you say we actually get to the course? - I'm ready, are you? - So, in the next lecture, we'll dive into our first foundational block of writing great fiction, characters. - See you there.
- Creating memorable characters
- Writing dialogue
- Selecting a point of view
- Using an unreliable narrator
- Narrative style
- Building a setting
- Mood, atmosphere, and emotion
- Crafting a plot, from the setup to the resolution