Learn to Write Fiction That Sells
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Learn to Write Fiction That Sells

Everything You Need to Know: From Creating a First Draft to Sending Submissions.
4.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
5 students enrolled
Created by Anna Yeatts
Last updated 3/2017
English
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Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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Includes:
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 10 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write a short story from inspiration to first draft
  • Understand the fundamentals of story structure
  • Apply story structure to their own fiction
  • Give and receive a professional manuscript critique
  • Understand the basics of content, line, and copy-editing
  • Learn which feedback to take, how to incorporate it, and which feedback to ignore
  • Cover & query letter essentials
  • Use leading market submission software and websites to find the right market for their fiction
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • Basic English language skills & grammar
  • Basic word-processing skills
  • Be prepared to write.
Description

Learn to create stories that sell, not half-finished drafts you slog through only to receive yet another rejection letter.

From inspiration to final product, this course teaches the habits needed to become a productive working writer in the competitive short fiction market. Learn techniques to hone your craft, strengthen your storytelling skills, and create stories that catch an editor's eye, stand out from the slush pile, and ultimately, lead to sales.

What This Course Will Cover

  • Writing a short story from inspiration to final draft
  • The fundamentals of story structure
  • How to apply story structure to your own writing
  • Generate new fiction from regular writing prompts
  • The essentials of manuscript critique
  • An introduction to content, line, and copy editing
  • Give and receive peer feedback in a closed, safe environment
  • Learn which feedback to take and which to ignore
  • Instruction on proper manuscript format
  • How to find the right market for your story using market submission tools
  • How to submit your manuscript to an editor
  • Cover and query letter essentials
  • Hardware, software, and writing resource recommendations
  • Tips & strategies to enhance your writing life
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the target audience?
  • Writers of any experience level (complete beginner to professional) struggling to consistently sell their fiction at a professional level
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Curriculum For This Course
34 Lectures
02:04:28
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Introduction
2 Lectures 03:43

In this course, I’m going to show you those ropes in an easy and expedited way. I’ll walk you through my own process of story completion, from inspiration to rough draft completion and through the revision and editing processes. I’ll teach you how to give and receive a manuscript critique and what to look for in your own first readers. 

We’ll go over software and hardware choices, how to use leading market search engines, even how to write a cover letter and submit your story to a publication.

And finally, for those writers who are struggling with breaking through and selling consistently at a professional level, I’m going to share my personal story and give you some advice on what it takes to elevate your story so you can sell at the top-tier markets.

Now, not all of you are working at the same level. So I’ve included a course road map. Of course, you can always work straight through the course from beginning to end and I recommend that. But if you’d like to skip ahead, the road map will help you do that.

Feel free to ask questions. I’ll be updating this course in response to your feedback so please leave that for me as well. And I’d love to know other topics you’d like to learn more about as well.

Preview 02:00

Not all students will be at the same place on their writing journey. Some will be seasoned veterans hoping to pick up a few insider tricks. Some will be brand-new writers looking for a place to start. 

And both are perfectly okay.

To make your class experience easier, I've included a course road map. This will allow you to skip the lectures you're already comfortable with and head straight to the ones you're most interested in exploring. 

Preview 01:43
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Story Creation
2 Lectures 07:13

In this lecture, I'll let you in on my very best secret about how to sell fiction in a professional marketplace. I guarantee it will increase your odds a thousand-fold. 

At the end of this section, students will have a goal: to write a new story.

Preview 01:42

Write fast and dirty is my motto for first drafts. There's nothing pretty or polished about the first run-through of a story. The biggest obstacle to writing is very often in finishing what you start. 

After this lecture, students will be challenged to finish their first drafts without stopping to edit or being distracted by multiple projects at once.

Preview 05:31
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Story Essentials
4 Lectures 14:14

A key skill to develop in flash fiction and other short formats is the ability to get into the action late and out early.

By the end of this lecture, students will understand this simple technique to make their short fiction more dynamic, intense, and more likely to sell.

In Late, Out Early
03:56

The essence of story is far more complicated than most people think. It's our job as professional storytellers to break down this crucial concept and understand it's core components. 

By the end of this lecture, students will be able to identify and use beats, scenes, sequences, acts, and story itself in their own prose.

Preview 05:10

Here's your writing assignment for this lecture:

Pick your favorite piece of artwork. The genre, style, medium, and artist don't matter. It can be street graffiti or the Sistine Chapel. Tell me the story behind the painting. Not the real story. I can read that on Wikipedia. I want the story that only you can tell. It might be the artist's internal monologue as he painted. It might be the characters inside the portrait talking to one another. There might be a portal beneath the statue's base that leads to a different world. But tell me the true story of your chosen piece of art. Be brave. Write fast. Use what you've learned. There's no wrong way to do this exercise. The only way to do it incorrectly is to not do it at all.

By the end of this lecture, students should have a finished first draft.

Writing Prompt
01:13

Flash fiction is a story told in a microcosm. All the rules you've learned so far still apply, but you have less room and fewer words to achieve the same goals.

By the end of this lecture, students should be able to apply the essentials of story structure to a short fiction format.

Flash Fiction: Story in a Microcosm
03:55
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Escalating Tension
3 Lectures 13:53

A pivotal part of escalating tension is leaving yourself somewhere to go. By starting small and moving the conflict upwards and outwards in believable increments, a writer controls the dramatic effect of his story.

By the end of this lecture, the student should be able to apply the basics of start small, go big to their own short story in progress.

Start Small, Go Big.
07:10

Resonance is a technique used in literature to create an emotional response in a reader. By harnessing this technique, a writer instantly makes her stories more marketable.

By the end of this lecture, a student should recognize examples of resonance in their favorite books and movies.

Resonance - A Surefire Way to Make Me Buy Your Story
04:49

Tension is built or lost in the details.

Today's assignment is to use what you've learned so far and keep the tension not only building in your story, but thrumming. Start small, escalate in a natural progression, and end a hairsbreadth from the platform (ie. get out early).

Don't try to be clever and surprise the audience with a twist so insane they'll never see it coming. The twist should be one that makes perfect sense within the context of the story, but not one they saw coming.

Sounds tricky, huh? It is.

But hey, I never said this was easy.

If inspiration strikes, feel free to write a new story. Or rewrite and tighten the tension in an existing story you wrote for this course. 

Writing on a High Wire - Prompt
01:54
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Anna's Rules for Manuscript Critiques
3 Lectures 07:47

Giving a professional manuscript critique is crucial to being received as a professional writer and to finding alpha readers willing to reciprocate in turn.

By the end of this lecture (parts 1 & 2), students will be able to give a professional story critique.

How to Give a Professional Manuscript Critique Part 1
02:30

Giving a professional manuscript critique is crucial to being received as a professional writer and to finding alpha readers willing to reciprocate in turn.

By the end of this lecture (parts 1 & 2), students will be able to give a professional story critique.

How to Give a Professional Manuscript Critique Part 2
03:16

Receiving your own manuscript critique is often more difficult than giving one. But a bad attitude will drive away alpha readers and cost you an essential resource. 

By the end of this lecture, students will be able to receive a professional story critique.

How to Receive a Manuscript Critique Like a Pro
02:01
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The Nuts & Bolts of Writing
2 Lectures 07:16
Choosing the Right Setup: Hardware
02:39

Choosing the Right Setup: Software and Webpages
04:37
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Content Editing 101
3 Lectures 13:13

Many authors skip content editing and head straight for proofreading. But content editing is essential for fixing plot holes, keeping voice consistent, and making sure the story you've written is actually the one you're trying to tell.

By the end of this lecture, students will understand the basics of content editing.

Content Editing
02:35

It's time to edit the rough draft you've been creating in this course.

Here's your assignment.

Pick your favorite homework assignment to date. It should be a finished first draft at this point. If it's not, I recommend taking a day or two to plow through to the end of the story. It's going to be ROUGH, and that's okay. JUST FINISH IT then come back to this section of the class.

It's time to apply a content edit to your first draft.

Go back to the beginning of the manuscript. Turn on "Track Changes" in your editing software. I prefer Word or Pages, but you can also type in comments and bold them or (add them in parenthesis) within the manuscript if you don't have either of these word processors.

Make sure you've saved your original draft. Don't lose it.

We're creating a second draft, but you might want your first draft--maybe a particular phrase or scene--later. Or, horrors, you somehow lose your document and need the first as a backup. SAVE EVERYTHING.

As you read from the beginning, look for the type of edits I described. When you find a problem, don't stop and fix it now. Jot down a note in the margin and keep going. If you have an idea, by all means, jot that down too.

But keep going.

When you get to the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what your story looks like now. Now is when you go back and re-write the rough draft, beginning to shape the story into your second draft--a cleaner, more streamlined version of what will be your finished product.

Don't sweat the commas and misspellings. You don't have to make it perfect on this draft. That comes later. For now, focus on the bigger issues like continuity, making the plot work, developing characters, and filling setting details.

When you're done, copy/paste your second draft into the comments section of this chapter.

Then choose two submissions from your fellow students to practice content-editing. Apply your best manuscript critique skills. 

By the end of this section, students should have hands-on experience in content editing their own work and in using their manuscript critique skills to content edit their peers.

Practice Your Content Editing Skills
01:34

For this lecture, I've uploaded an old story of my own. It desperately needs a content edit. The story itself is broken. 

By the end of this lecture, students will have more practice using their manuscript critique skills to content edit a rough draft.

Edit Me. I Double Dog Dare You. Really.
09:04
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Line-Editing, Copy-Editing, and All That Jazz...
2 Lectures 04:31

Line editing is a meticulous look at the language, pacing, and flow of a manuscript. It's an opportunity to further rework, rewrite, and revise your fiction.

By the end of this lecture, students should under the basic difference between line editing and content editing.

Line Editing 101
02:42

Copyediting, or proofreading, is the final stage of revision before a manuscript is sent off for submission. This is the "moving commas" stage. 

By the end of this lecture, students will understand the basics of copyediting.

Copyediting 101
01:49
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Submitting Your Story
8 Lectures 37:34

Though a cover letter seems like a minor detail, a poorly written one can draw an editor's attention for all the wrong reasons. 

By the end of this lecture, students will be able to properly write a cover letter.

Cover Letters 101
05:28

Finding the Right Home for Your Story
03:09

Finding the right market is essential to selling your fiction. While Duotrope can seem daunting at first, once you learn to use it's features, it makes submitting the right story to the right market far more likely.

By the end of this lecture series, students will be able to use Duotrope's market search engine to find the correct markets for their stories, index their own submissions, and track market response times.

How to Use Duotrope Part 1
05:27

Finding the right market is essential to selling your fiction. While Duotrope can seem daunting at first, once you learn to use it's features, it makes submitting the right story to the right market far more likely.

By the end of this lecture series, students will be able to use Duotrope's market search engine to find the correct markets for their stories, index their own submissions, and track market response times.

How to Use Duotrope Part 2
06:11

Finding the right market is essential to selling your fiction. While Duotrope can seem daunting at first, once you learn to use it's features, it makes submitting the right story to the right market far more likely.

By the end of this lecture series, students will be able to use Duotrope's market search engine to find the correct markets for their stories, index their own submissions, and track market response times.

How to Use Duotrope Part 3
05:11

Finding the right market is essential to selling your fiction. Like Duotrope, the Submission Grinder can seem daunting at first. But once you learn to use it's features, it makes submitting the right story to the right market far more likely.

By the end of this lecture series, students will be able to use the Submission Grinder's market search engine to find the correct markets for their stories, index their own submissions, and track market response times.

Using the Submission Grinder Part 1
03:27

Finding the right market is essential to selling your fiction. Like Duotrope, the Submission Grinder can seem daunting at first. But once you learn to use it's features, it makes submitting the right story to the right market far more likely.

By the end of this lecture series, students will be able to use the Submission Grinder's market search engine to find the correct markets for their stories, index their own submissions, and track market response times.

Using the Submission Grinder Part 2
03:18

More and more markets are moving to online submission systems like Submittable. The ability to navigate online submissions portals is essential. 

By the end of this lecture, students will be able to submit a story using Submittable's submission portal.

How to Use Submittable
05:23
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Shattering the Glass Ceiling
3 Lectures 09:29

My own experience in finding my voice as a writer.

By the end of this lecture, I hope students feel more confident in being who they are.

Finding My Own Voice
02:32

Only you can write the stories that you can write. Understanding this is often one of the last steps a writer takes before beginning to sell consistently.

By the end of this lecture, it's my hope that students aspire to find their authentic style.

Finding Your Authentic Style
02:02

Using a popular story from Flash Fiction Online, I break down exactly what I look for in the slushpile. What makes a story stand out from the rest. Why does this story, Beholder by Sarah Grey, rise above the rest?

By the end of this lecture, students will be able to identify the hallmarks of an exceptional story.

What I Look For When Buying Stories

The frustration of plateauing just below a professional level is tremendous. Many authors give up at this point. But it's my hope, that after completing this lecture, students will continue to write, to struggle, and to aspire to better their fiction in hopes of selling professionally.

Always a Semi-Pro & Never a Pro
04:54
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Anna Yeatts
4.0 Average rating
1 Review
7 Students
2 Courses
Publisher/Editor/Author

Anna Yeatts is a professional publisher, editor, and author. Her short fiction literary magazine, Flash Fiction Online, reaches over a half million readers every year. 

Her own fiction has appeared in multiple magazines and anthologies including Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Mslexia, Daily Science Fiction, and Penumbra eMagazine and has been translated into multiple languages. 

Anna's newest publishing project, NASTY: Fetish Fights Back was recently launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign and features top fiction writers like five-time Bram Stoker Award Winner Lucy A. Snyder, New York Times Bestseller Selena Kitt, and Shirley Jackson Award Winner Gemma Files. 

Anna has read tens of thousands of stories, spent countless hours in the editorial slush-pile, and knows what sells and doesn't sell in today's fiction marketplace.