Perfect Pacing for Fiction Writers: Nailing Act One
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Perfect Pacing for Fiction Writers: Nailing Act One

Write fiction that moves! Learn to pace Act One of your novel or narrative nonfiction so readers demand more.
4.8 (4 ratings)
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.
43 students enrolled
Created by Faith Van Horne
Last updated 9/2015
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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Includes:
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 5 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Draw readers in from Chapter One with dynamic pacing.
  • Introduce your characters, world, and conflict with flair.
  • Create prose that makes your reader need to move on to the next chapter.
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • Computer with word processing program, pen and paper, or fiction creation tool of writer's choice.
  • The first few chapters of your novel or narrative nonfiction work, ready for revision; OR
  • A story idea you're ready to write
Description

Course Description

Do you wonder how your favorite novelists create openings that grab you, pull you in, and make you need to read to the next page? In this course, you'll learn how to pace your first chapters with flowing, dynamic prose. Whether you're looking to self-publish or are searching for an agent, editor, or publisher, you'll discover the techniques to build a strong story opening.

Contents and Overview

This course contains thirteen lectures and approximately fifty minutes of video content. In addition, it contains worksheets with practical exercises that you'll apply to your own work.

For those vital opening chapters, I'll teach you what I've learned as an editor. My experiences editing for a New York Times bestselling publisher, and now for independent authors, have shown me the mistakes so many authors make in those first pages. We'll cover three major areas that trip many writers up:

  • Introducing characters for the first time
  • Confusion between world building and world introduction
  • Presenting your story's initial conflict

Each of these areas will be broken down into the following lessons:

  • The most common problems writers make
  • A case study of an author who's done it well
  • Worksheets with exercises to apply to your own story

Whether you have a completed draft that you need to polish, or you're writing down your story for the first time, these techniques will help you create a story with pacing that pulls the reader to the next page.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for writers of fiction and narrative nonfiction who want to create a strong first act to their novel or memoir.
  • This course is NOT designed for technical writing, such as manuals, copy, or other nonfiction business writing.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 13 Lectures Collapse All 13 Lectures 01:19:11
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Welcome, and Introduction
3 Lectures 18:22

Learn about your instructor's background, and why she's teaching this course.

Preview 07:26

How to take advantage of this course, whether you're starting from a completed draft or a blank page.

Preview 03:43

Here I'll cover my overarching philosophy of story pacing. You'll receive some excellent resources for reference and further learning as well. Keep these ideas in mind as you work through each section.

Philosophy of Pacing
07:13
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Character Introduction
3 Lectures 21:13

Learn the most common mistake writers make when they introduce characters to the story, and why it stops your reader.

Introducing Characters: The Most Common Issue
09:02

Follow an example of excellent character introduction step-by-step, and analyze why it works. Source material: Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

Case Study: Character Intro, Harry Dresden
12:11

Use the worksheet to revisit your story and, based on what we've learned, craft dynamic character intros.

Exercise: Revising/Writing Your Character Intro
1 page
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Introducing Your World
3 Lectures 11:18

Learn the most common problem new writers face when introducing their world, and why it stops the reader.

Introducing Your World: The Info Dump
03:30

Continuing with Jim's Butcher's Storm Front, see an excellent example of pacing the introduction to your fiction/narrative nonfiction world.

Case Study: World Intro, Jim Butcher
07:48

Use the worksheet to revisit your story and, based on what we've learned, pace your world intro so it hooks the reader.

Exercise: Revising/Writing Your World Intro
1 page
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Establishing Conflict
3 Lectures 11:18

Learn the most common issue with pacing your story's initial conflict.

Establishing Conflict: The Problem
03:36

In our last look at Storm Front, see how Jim Butcher starts off strong by establishing conflict right off the bat.

Case Study: Establishing Conflict, Jim Butcher
07:42

Use the worksheet to establish strong initial conflict in your story.

Exercise: Introducing Initial Conflict
2 pages
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In Conclusion
1 Lecture 00:00

Now that you have a first act that moves, I'll talk about where to go from here.

The Next Step
2 pages
About the Instructor
Faith Van Horne
4.8 Average rating
4 Reviews
43 Students
1 Course
Editor, Writing Instructor

Faith Van Horne spent three years as an editor for Ellora's Cave, a New York Times bestselling epublisher. Since then, she's worked as a freelance editor, working one-on-one with authors to help them hone their craft. She edits for writers who choose to self-publish, as well as those seeking traditional publication. She's also had a novel and a novella published, as well as numerous short stories. Her own collection of short stories, Super Sargasso, is now available.

She found that she wanted to reach more writers, so she began teaching workshops. Teaching online is an extension of those in-person lectures.