Introduction to Writing

24 Hours / 180 Days / Self-Paced

Course Overview:

Do you have exciting stories, plots or characters dancing around in your head?  Do you have a life experience or lesson to share, but don't know where to begin? This workshop is designed for those of you interested in entering the realm of creative writing for the first time.  Our emphasis is on introducing you to the creative writing process.  We'll explore topics such as setting up your writing environment, creating plots, building characters, writing dialog and editing.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Getting Started

First things first! This lesson introduces you to the basic tools of the trade and environment for writing.  We     will discuss different types of writing instruments, ways to capture story and how to choose a writing environment.

Lesson 2: Letting Creative Juices Flow

Staring at a blank page can be unsettling if you're new to writing.  In this lesson, we discuss ways to get those creative juices flowing in preparation for a writing session.  We'll also address the value and process of setting writing goals.

Lesson 3: Building the Plot and Story

Think of plot and story as the meat and potatoes of writing a story.  In this lesson, we explore the difference between these two terms, how they work together and how we create them.

Lesson 4: Characters are Everything

No amount of ingenious plot and story can pull in a reader if the characters are dull, lifeless and unlikable.  In this lesson, we discover ways to create well-developed, multi-layered characters.

Lesson 5: Writing Dialog for the Reader

Writing compelling dialog that fits perfectly with a character is an art.  It's more than putting words on a page.  It starts with listening and requires developing a good ear.  In this lesson, we reveal some rules, pitfalls and tips that can help you to master writing realistic dialog.

Lesson 6: The Magic of Words

In this lesson, we discuss the value of word economy, how to write with description and how the way you put words together can evoke all types of feelings and pictures in the mind of the reader.

Lesson 7: The Power of Editing

In this final lesson, the focus is on taking your story to the next level or next draft, through editing. Many successful authors go through two or three revisions of a story before finalizing it.  Those editing sessions are crucial, and address plot, story, character, dialog and of course, grammar and formatting.

All necessary materials are included.


System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:
  • Cable and DSL internet connections are recommended.
Hardware Requirements:
  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/Headphones to listen to Dialogue steaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in Dialogue streaming audio sessions.
Operating System Requirements:
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.
Web Browser Requirements:
  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.
Software Requirements:
  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.
Web Browser Settings:
  • Accept Cookies
  • Disable Pop-up Blocker.


** Outlines are subject to change, as courses and materials are updated. Software is not included with the purchase of the course, unless otherwise specified. Students are responsible for the purchase and installation of the necessary course software. **