A Step-By-Step Process
Writing a successful novel or screenplay is all about asking the right questions and following a step by step process that shows you what to do and when you need to do it, grounding your story and allowing your creativity to flourish.
It is not necessary to start with a clear idea for a story. In fact, 60% of writers who do this course start with a blank canvas. This course asks the right dramatic questions and is designed to help you find and clarify the story you want to write.
During the course, people often ask, "How could anyone write a novel or screenplay without having a process like this?" It is essential that you have a process that allows you to access the power of your imagination while grounding your story in solid structure.
Ninety per cent of novels and screenplays are rejected because of poor structure.
Many people can write great scenes and/or have a strong initial incident that they think will make a great story. But a few good scenes and a dramatic incident doesn't necessarily make for a powerful story.
As Dwight V. Swain says in the Techniques of the Selling Writer, "With skilled handling and the development of point of view and dynamic characters and complications and climax and resolution, the incident may quite possibly build into a story. But a story is a complex thing. Its materials demand skill in their manipulation."
The purpose of structure is to link the action of the story with the character journey so that each scene contributes to the overall character arc and the story builds in a dramatic and logical way, engaging your reader from beginning to end. This is the art and craft of storytelling.
As Robert McKee, who travels the world teaching story structure, says, "There are no unrecognised geniuses. For writers who can tell a quality story, it is a sellers' market, always has been, always will be."
"Well! I feel like I've learnt more in this course that I did in my whole MA in writing at Sydney Uni. Fabulous. Finally someone who really does have the key to practical help for writers. I really loved finally feeling like things were coming out of me, when for so long I've felt like a big dried up prune." Tiara Lowndes - Editor
Live vs Online
The 10-Month Novel and Script First Draft Course Online contains all the information, processes and outcomes of the Live course. Everything is laid out one step at a time.
Even though this is a 10 month course, you can move at your own pace with your personal online tutor. We have created a schedule to help you manage your time and if you follow it, you should be able to complete the course with one month to spare.
During the course you will:
Develop the broad spine of your story using our Ten-Step Outline before you start writing the actual first draft to make sure your story is structurally sound.
Follow a proven step-by-step process that will help you work effectively. The process will make sure your story is building dramatically and logically.
Receive guidance, accountability, inspiration and support from your personal tutor.
Develop a regular writing habit - a fundamental ingredient of the writing success.
Learn the essential keys to creating powerful drama full of internal and external conflict using our specialised Scene Templates.
Develop a deep understanding of classic story structure dynamics by using our 8 Turning Points and 29 Story Steps.
Learn the art and craft of storytelling. The goal of the first draft is not to write the perfect story, but to go on a journey to discover the possibility of your story and characters.
Complete your first draft in ten months while taking your main character and yourself on a profound journey of change. A huge achievement.
As Ernest Hemingway said to F. Scott Fitzgerald "The most important thing about a first draft is finishing the damn thing."
You will write the majority of your first draft behind closed doors. It is essential that you develop a writing habit whereby you are writing an average of five scenes a week. It's not a huge time commitment (roughly 30 minutes a day four to five times a week). Your tutor will give you feedback on one scene a week and the dynamics and evolving spine of your story, not on all of your writing. It is a very delicate process. To this end, unlike Unlocking Creativity, which is only a 4 week course, you will not be reading others' work or giving feedback to each other. You will be working solely with your online tutor.
Like all of our online courses, this course is undertaken by writers from all over the world. Therefore the course materials can only be accessed online via our website and by having a stable internet connection. We do not have or offer a hard copy Course Book for this course. You can however, print out the course materials.
Writing your first draft is an act of discovery. The first draft is about finding and expanding the dramatic possibilities of your story, not writing the perfect story. When you are finished you will still have work to do. Excellence is a commitment to completion.
If you want to write a screenplay, we recommend you write it in narrative form first. Only when you have completed the first draft and found your story should you attempt to put it into screenplay format. Don't think of it as writing a novel, think of it as writing a detailed treatment. This is the practice of many industry professionals.
If you have enrolled for the 10 Month Course and after completing Unlocking Creativity, your tutor or Roland and Kathleen feel that you are not ready or suitable for the longer course, we will recommend that you either repeat Unlocking Creativity and go into the next Novel & Script course, or we will provide you with a refund for the N&S course only.