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Course Syllabus: Nonfiction Writing 101


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Course Description


The famous Ayn Rand once wrote, "Like every human activity, [writing] requires practice and knowledge. But there is nothing mystical about it. Any person who can speak English grammatically can learn to write nonfiction." This is as true today as when Ms. Rand first penned it, and you will find it true for you as well as you begin to venture into the world of writing.

 

Nonfiction writing is the most common and broadly dispersed form of writing known to mankind. Nonfiction is based in truth, experience, events or in all of them. It is what the reporter reports; what the biographer writes; what the course writer explains. Everything that is not imagination and invented by the creative mind is nonfiction.

This course is designed to take you beyond the basics and to guide you through the writing process to the finish line. In the course, you will learn how to think like an editor, how to choose your subject matter and examine your competition. You will learn how to structure your writing and what to do when you inevitably hit the infamous "writer's block." If you have basic writing skills and if you follow the course content, you should be ready to submit your writing by the end of the course material. You will know what to do with your article or book when you are finished and how to polish it for presentation to a publisher. Remember, "Writers Write" – so get to writing!

Course Requirements

This course will not require you to have previous experience in any particular area but you should have a high school reading level. No books will be required.

Course Topics

 

Lesson 1: Before You Start, Think Like An Editor

Lesson 2: Article, Project or Book?

Lesson 3: Subject, Title and Subtitles

Lesson 4: Researching Your Subject

Lesson 5: Reviewing Your Competition

Lesson 6: Structure and Organization

Lesson 7: Writers Write; Getting Comfy in Your Own Skin

Lesson 8: Get To The Finish Line; What To Do When You Hit A Block

Lesson 9: Rewriting and Rhythm; Polishing for Your Audience

Lesson 10: Spelling, Grammar and Proper Punctuation

Lesson 11: Edit and Edit Again

Lesson 12: Fact Checking and Proper Notation

Lesson 13: Layout, Proper Spacing and Format - Your Finished Product

Course Materials

All course material will be provided in the lessons and netlinks. There are no required materials to purchase before taking the class.

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a lesson review quiz along with one or two assignments. Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know how to think like an editor.
  • Define article, project and book.
  • Identify subject, title and subtitles.
  • Research your subject.
  • Review your competition.
  • Identify structure and organization.
  • Write.
  • Know what to do when you hit a block.
  • Identify what needs to be polished for your audience.
  • Perform spelling and grammar check.
  • Edit and edit again.
  • Fact check and provide proper notation.
  • Demonstrate layout, proper spacing and format, and submit your finished product, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
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Assessment Guide

An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Assignment2
Lesson 1: Before You Start, Think Like An Editor8
Lesson 2 Assignment2
Lesson 2: Article, Project or Book?8
Lesson 3 Assignment2
Lesson 3: Subject, Title and Subtitles9
Lesson 4: Researching Your Subject9
Lesson 5 Assignment25
Lesson 5: Reviewing Your Competition10
Lesson 6: Structure and Organization7
Lesson 7 Assignment25
Lesson 7: Writers Write; Getting Comfy in Your Own Skin10
Lesson 8 Assignment2
Lesson 8: Get To The Finish Line; What To Do When You Hit A Block10
Lesson 9 Assignment25
Lesson 9: Rewriting and Rhythm; Polishing for Your Audience8
Lesson 10 Assignment25
Lesson 10: Spelling, Grammar and Proper Punctuation10
Lesson 11: Edit and Edit Again8
Lesson 12 Assignment25
Lesson 12: Fact Checking and Proper Notation9
Lesson 13 Assignment25
Lesson 13: Layout, Proper Spacing and Format – Your Finished Product9
The Final Exam58
Total Points:332
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