Course Syllabus: How to Write a Short Story


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Course Description


If you're a reader and thought you might like to try your hand at short story  writing but just don't know how to get started, this basic course will help.  The class takes you through the entire process -- from preparing your mind and getting ideas on paper, to editing and proofing.  You'll learn new skills, and find new ways to express yourself.

 

As you advance through this course, you're going to learn the correct way to write a short story.  More than that, you're going to learn the aspects of every good short story and how to create your own. 

 Please note this is a mechanics class. You will be learning what makes up a short story, but you will not be writing a short story to be critiqued. 

Amateur short story writers try to write their stories like miniature novels.  Their stories read as either an excerpt or a condensed novel.  They do not write short stories that are actual complete stories.  They do not know what sets the short story apart from the novel, and why one can never be substituted for the other.  This course will show you how to write effectively and creatively.

 

Topics will include:

 

  • Lesson 1: The Differences between a Short Story and a Novel
  • Lesson 2: Starting a Short Story
  • Lesson 3: Writing a Catchy First Paragraph
  • Lesson 4: Developing Characters
  • Lesson 5: Choosing a Point of View and Tense
  • Lesson 6: Dialogue
  • Lesson 7: Setting, Context, and Plot
  • Lesson 8: Conflict and Tension
  • Lesson 9: Building to a Climax
  • Lesson 10: The Resolution
  • Lesson 11: Tips for Writing Your Short Stories
  • 24 Answers Every Writer Should Know

Course Requirements

At least a high school reading and writing educational level is required.

Course Topics

 

Lesson 1: The Differences between a Short Story and a Novel

Lesson 2: Starting a Short Story

Lesson 3: Writing a Catchy First Paragraph

Lesson 4: Developing Characters

Lesson 5: Choosing a Point of View and Tense

Lesson 6: Dialogue

Lesson 7: Setting, Context, and Plot

Lesson 8: Conflict and Tension

Lesson 9: Building to a Climax

Lesson 10: The Resolution

Lesson 11: Tips for Writing Your Short Stories

24 Answers Every Writer Should Know

Course Materials

All course materials will be online and no outside purchases will be required.

Grading Policy

The course consists of twelve lessons. At the end of each lesson will be  one writing  assignment and a lesson review quiz based on the lesson material. A percentage grade will be given based on point accumulation.

The course is a mechanics course only' students will not be writing a short story to be critiqued.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast the differences between a short story and a novel.
  • Demonstrate writing techniques that start a short story.
  • Describe ways to write a catchy first paragraph.
  • Know ways to develop characters.
  • Describe how to choose a point of view and tense.
  • Demonstrate how to properly write dialogue.
  • Define setting, context, and plot.
  • Identify conflict and tension.
  • Build a climax.
  • Demonstrate writing out the resolution, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
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Assessment Guide

An Introduction1
Lesson 1 Assignment: The Short Story20
Lesson 1: The Differences between a Short Story and a Novel8
Lesson 2 Assignment: Characters20
Lesson 2: Starting a Short Story8
Lesson 3 Assignment: Show, Don't Tell20
Lesson 3: Writing a Catchy First Paragraph8
Lesson 4: Developing Characters7
Lesson 5 Assignment: Simple Tense20
Lesson 5: Choosing a Point of View and Tense10
Lesson 6 Assignment: Writing Dialogue30
Lesson 6: Dialogue10
Lesson 7 Assignment: What's the plot?20
Lesson 7: Setting, Context, and Plot8
Lesson 8 Assignment: Conflicts20
Lesson 8: Conflict and Tension10
Lesson 9 Assignments: The Climax20
Lesson 9: Building to a Climax8
Lesson 10 Assignment: The Resolution20
Lesson 10: The Resolution8
Lesson 11 Assignment: Short Story Writing40
Lesson 11: Tips for Writing Your Short Stories10
Total Points:326
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