MODULE 1: PLOT PLANNING
Introduction; incident or short story; correct manuscript presentation; formulating main plot; beginning, build-up, climax and ending; laying your story’s foundations; basic plot plan formula; emotion; theme; main character’s purpose; dramatic high spot; analysing published work; writing discipline; story length; tightening prose; first draft; pruning; adding final touches; example of plot analysis.
MODULE 2: WRITING EFFECTIVE STORIES
Story structure; writing style; functions of dialogue; defining characters through speech; dialogue and personality; dialect; jargon; slang/obscenities; including "white space"; the apostrophe; dialogue technicalities; laying out; indenting; quotation marks; basic plot structure; the beginning – physical descriptions and introducing characters; the build-up – weaving your story towards the climax; sub-plots; revealing mood and atmosphere; using dialogue for transition; the Black Spot; the ending.
MODULE 3: ESSENTIAL FICTION KNOW-HOW
Grades of short story markets; pulps and glossies; writer’s block; stock plot plan; the first draft; main theme; individual personalities; setting and climax; introducing your main character; establishing the scene; descriptive prose; “purple prose”; introducing other characters; establishing relationships; setting the mood; dialogue and writing style; third-person viewpoint; punctuation in dialogue; “he said, she said”; action and introspection; multi speakers; unnecessary adverbs; dialogue style; rhythm and cadence.
MODULE 4: THE WAY TO CHARACTERISE
Characterisation; physical appearance; long or short descriptions; clothing; names; habits, speech and mannerisms; personality; non-physical features; making characters real, weaknesses and foibles; minor characters; consistency; sympathetic characters; main character and the climax; portraying emotions and traits; characterising the hero and heroine; the villain and villainess; summary of characterisation.
MODULE 5: SELLING SHORT STORIES
Structure and theme; time span; setting; characters; dialogue; plot; marketing saleable work; taboos; the long, short story or the mini-book; pseudonyms; preliminary letter; writing the synopsis; romantic fiction; the Western; sci-fi; the detective story; false trails; sub-plots and interplay; revision checklist; punctuation (commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, hyphens and apostrophes); editing; manuscript presentation; joining a story group; five final writing tips.