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Introduction to Writing Fiction

Hone your creative writing and editing skills as you learn how to craft compelling characters and atmospheric settings.

1,658 enrolled on this course

Person sitting down while writing in a book.

Introduction to Writing Fiction

1,658 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Launch your creative writing career with the University of Lincoln

Are you a budding writer planning your first prose fiction project? Do you want to get feedback from peers and guidance from a published novelist?

This four-week course from the University of Lincoln provides a comprehensive introduction to the art of writing fiction. From crafting captivating sentences to rounding out characters and describing settings, you’ll gain the toolkit you need to launch your writing career.

Hone your creative writing and editing skills

Throughout the course, you’ll expand your writing and editing skills. You’ll try hands-on exercises and get feedback from peers, which will help you hone your writing practice.

In Week 1, you’ll learn how to construct intricate sentences and develop your own style. Then, in Week 4 you’ll examine methods for refining that style through rigorous editing. You’ll learn how to polish your prose in preparation for publication.

Master the fundamentals of setting and characterisation

Weeks 2 and 3 of the course will focus on two of the most essential considerations of fiction: characterisation and setting.

You’ll learn how to craft compelling characters, relationships, and character arcs, as well as how to bring places vividly to life. You’ll explore the role that character and setting play in the ‘worldmaking’ of fiction.

Get tips and guidance from a published writer

Throughout the course, you’ll gain expert guidance from Dr Amy Lilwall, a published novelist and creative writing lecturer. She’ll share the tools and tips you need to begin writing professionally.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the confidence and training you need to pitch your own work to publishers.

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds Hello and welcome to An Introduction to Writing Fiction. If you have never written fiction before or are a keen writer looking to acquire some fundamental skills, then this course should help you to expand your understanding of the key elements of storytelling. As one of the oldest forms of entertainment, storytelling has the capacity to help us in our professional endeavours, support our well-being, or simply offer opportunities for creativity. Writing is an accessible hobby, requiring only a pen, paper, and your imagination. As with any art form, however, a knowledge of technique is essential when developing your craft. I’m Doctor Amy Lilwall, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Lincoln.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds I am a published novelist and I teach prose writing techniques to undergraduates and postgraduate students. This course will address topics such as the art of writing a good sentence, creating and revealing character, and developing and embedding a sense of place into your writing. You will investigate key writing concepts such as show, don’t tell, the dynamic sentence, rounded characters, and the use of detail. Through carefully selected readings and exercises, you will acquire an applied understanding of specific writing techniques. In week one, you will focus on how to write and identify a beautiful sentence. In your second week, you will learn about the psychological basis of characterization and techniques for building convincing characters.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds In your third week, you will consider the significance of setting and how a full sense of place can facilitate and enhance your narrative. And in the final week of the course, you will combine these techniques to create a rich passage of writing, which you will go on to edit and share. We anticipate that you will spend up to three hours per week studying for this course, and we encourage you to share your opinions, ideas, and your writing with other learners. As with many writing courses, you will be prompted to read extracts from fiction and work by writers on writing to encourage you to think more deeply about your own approaches to developing and shaping story.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 seconds You need no prior knowledge of writing to join the course, just an eagerness to learn and an open mind. We hope that this course will build your confidence as a writer and encourage you to pursue publishing opportunities. If you are looking to deepen your knowledge and awareness of narrative technique and hone your fiction writing skills, then this course is for you. I look forward to supporting your next steps into the world of writing.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Crafting Sentences

    • Welcome & Course Overview

      This activity is designed to give you an overview of the course and what you can achieve throughout the following week.

    • Let's get writing!

      To begin this course, let’s take stock of our usual style of writing.

    • Understanding Word Functions

      In this activity you will learn how to select words for your sentences.

    • Dynamic Sentences

      This activity will briefly explain what a dynamic sentence is and why active and dynamic verbs are preferable when writing prose.

    • Identifying Your Style

      Every writer has their own style! This activity will encourage you to think about your writing style.

    • Summary of WEEK 1

      Congratulations on completing WEEK 1 of An Introduction to Writing Fiction!

  • Week 2

    Constructing Character

    • WEEK 2 Overview

      This activity will summarise this week's learning activities.

    • Basic Approaches to Characterisation

      This activity explores the difference approaches to characterisation and how/when writers consider it appropriate to use each approach.

    • The Psychology of Character

      This activity will deepen your understanding of character construction by exploring writing techniques that reveal the inner workings of character.

    • Mobilising Characters

      In this activity, you will consider the physicality of characters and learn techniques to makes them move and act convincingly.

    • Over to you!

      For this activity, you will bring together everything you have learned from this section to create your character profile.

    • Summary of WEEK 2

      This activity will summarise your learning for this week.

  • Week 3

    Understanding Setting

    • WEEK 3 Overview

      This section contains an overview of this week's activities.

    • Setting and Worldbuilding

      This activity will define setting and worldbuilding and provide different techniques for revealing place in your writing.

    • Sensory Exploration

      This activity will guide you through the use of sensory language to evoke an immersive sense of place.

    • Using Detail to Evoke Setting

      This activity will deepen your understanding of using detail and objects to create a sense of place.

    • Bringing it all Together

      In this activity, you will learn about the ways in which character and setting work together to create story.

    • Summary of WEEK 3

      This activity will summarise your learning for WEEK 3.

  • Week 4

    Editing

    • WEEK 4 Overview

      This section will introduce you to this week's activities and present a summary of the course so far.

    • The First Full Draft

      In this activity, you will be asked to write the first full draft of the opening to your story.

    • Polishing Your Writing

      In this activity, you will learn some tips and techniques for editing writing to a high standard. You will read some advice from well-known writers, understand how to avoid some common mistakes and learn how to format fiction.

    • Final Draft

      In this activity, you will be prompted to use the editing tips you have learned over the course of the week to redraft your opening passage.

    • Summary of WEEK 4

      This activity will summarise your learning for WEEK 4.

    • Your Next Steps as a Writer

      This activity will outline a few strategies for moving forward in your writing career.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Create vivid sentences.
  • Explore how to reveal character.
  • Develop a full sense of setting within their writing.
  • Apply effective editing techniques.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for budding writers of prose fiction in all its forms: flash, the short story, the novella, and the novel. It will also be useful for anyone interested in improving their writing skills or preparing for a university course in creative writing.

An interest in writing and some knowledge of English grammar are essential for this course.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

University of Lincoln

The University of Lincoln is rated in the top 20 UK universities for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2022 and the Complete University Guide 2022.

  • Established

    1996
  • Location

    Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$104/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access

Free

Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 12 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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