Manuscript presentation, plot, theme, problem, conflict, Thirty-six Situations, four plot forms, openings, closings and in-betweens, subplots, characterisation, types of novels: understand the essentials of planning a novel, selecting and developing a theme, and choosing settings. Also, learn where and how to begin, how to generate ideas and understand the different types of novels.
Unless you have a strong, focused idea, you will likely run out of steam around page 26. You also have to be excited by your ideas. The story and characters must matter to you. In this first section of the course you learn to develop and formulate plots, create characters, understand conflict, and start to write about what you know.
THE WAY TO CHARACTERISE
Novel formats, literary versus commercial, characterisation, one-dimensional stereotypes, physical appearances, clothes, names, mannerisms, personality, introducing minor characters, the climax: learn to visualise your characters and understand their motives, actions and reactions. Are characters real people? Learn how to choose names for your characters. Avoid problem names. Develop the role of minor characters. Discover how to get characters to interact and how to collect mannerisms and habits. Develop the physical appearance and personality of your characters.
Throughout this module you master characterisation and learn how to bring your characters to life with dialogue, dialect and gesture, humour and the right direction.
EMOTIONS, THEME, AND VIEWPOINT
Physical manifestation of emotion, introspection, characterising the hero, heroine and villain, biographies, theme, motivation and values, conflict, viewpoint, show don’t tell: in this module you re-explore the plot and sub plots of your story. We discuss what the opening of your novel needs to make the reader read on and how to pick your story’s defining moment. A plot is event driven. We show you how to interweave your story line and plot to create a truly compelling novel.
Also, you explore the key aspects often overlooked by novel writers – sincerity, sentiment, imagination and fantasy. These should be integral components of your writing.
DIALOGUE AND STYLE
Natural dialogue, dialogue and setting, personality, dialect and emotion, dialogue tags, quotation marks, style, book sizes: making dialogue really work for you and your readers is an essential ingredient for making your characters truly believable. Seventy per cent of verbal communication is conveyed by tone and body language. We give you the tools that make your characters speak out and help your dialogue really work.
STRUCTURE, CHAPTERS, PUBLISHING AND MARKETING YOUR WORK
Construction of a novel, scene changes and settings, viewpoint, length, beginning and ending, settings, transitions, chapters, effective word placement, types of crime novels, research, titles, approaching publishers, rights, agents, contracts, editing: in this final section of your course you bring all your new writing talents together. You prepare, revise and edit your manuscript ready for submission. You learn how to present your novel and write to claim the attention of editors and publishers.