If you want to write like a published author, begin at the beginning. Start with the same basic elements of fiction and nonfiction used by successful writers; once you master these basics, you can write for any publication that interests you. You’ve already seen enough, done enough, gained enough insight into human relationships, and accumulated enough special knowledge and facts to fill a five-foot shelf. But what you may be lacking is the practical experience to get it all down on paper (or saved to your computer hard drive). You also need to know how to approach editors and publishers.
Getting started in writing is the single-most important step to becoming the writer you’ve always dreamed you could be. While working through the tutorial, you’ll be experimenting with a wide variety of genres and creative writing techniques. You’ll learn not only how to generate ideas from the world around you, but also how to find and develop your own distinctive voice and ‘calling’ in writing. However, it is important to bear in mind that recreational writing is not the same thing as writing for publication. While a recreational writer doesn’t have to please anyone except him- or herself, writing for a publication obliges the author to meet certain criteria. For example, writing for trade publications or specialized topic-specific magazines demands focused, useful and specialized information relating to their field; this means you need an above average knowledge of the topic. It is wise to target a publication relating to a trade you have some experience with. If this isn’t possible, you can work with someone who has the relevant technical knowledge and write the article with them using a question and answer format. Once you have produced a good article for a trade publication, it can open the door to further writing opportunities. Besides knowing the subject matter well you need to communicate with your reader in a common vocabulary. Equally as important as the content is the tone in which it is presented.
A motivated reader, eager to learn, does not respond particularly well to condescension, and certainly does not want to be “talked at” or scolded. Choose words that will motivate them to the goal of the article. Choose language that will intrigue them to read more. In a sense, the reader should feel that you are working with them, approaching the material together. This is one of the most powerful ways to get the reader ‘invested’ in the article’; lead them toward any possible call to action you might have at the conclusion. On the other hand, if you are writing to entertain, keep it light and fun and don’t lecture; you are seeking to change what readers think or how they perceive something. Persuasive writing is lean without being mean; forceful without being aggressive; to the point without being dry; and educational without sounding like a speech. Crafting a persuasive piece of writing for publication is both art and craft, requiring a mix of creativity and skill. Read and re-read your work several times and edit if necessary; every word must contribute to the overall effect and meaning or it should be deleted. Meaningful writing is concise. The more you write, the better you will become; writing is a process.
This tutorial is designed for individuals interested in creative writing, either for personal fulfillment or as a career pursuit. It contains information about the principles of writing as well as exercises for developing diverse writing skills. You can benefit from consulting the many online writing-oriented resources listed in the Resource Directory (Module 15) in order to deal with uncertainties in the writing process or simply to improve your writing skills. Most Web sites contain useful articles on aspects of the writing process and current developments in the writing industry. They often contain interviews with established writers, which can provide inspiration for aspirant creative writers who are looking to enter the commercial writing market. I trust that the information provided in this tutorial will advance your writing endeavors and help you find ways to express yourself clearly and passionately.
This self-study course allows the learner to focus only on those modules specific to the type of creative writing he or she plans to undertake. You set the pace that’s comfortable for you, and your personal mentor fits his or her schedule to yours. The information contained in each module provides the learner with a description of the genre and includes practical suggestions on how best to apply the material. There are no official examinations or tests on conclusion of the tutorial; however, two assignments form part of the guide, which may be forwarded to e-cottage synergy for comment. The objectives of the tutorial are:
- To provide essential information on creative writing in general;
- To facilitate the self-learning process to initiate literary works;
- To act as a learning resource in conjunction with other resources.
MODULE 1: The Writer’s Toolbox
Test your grammar skills
Elements of style and description
Writers’ research guides
Writing magazine articles
Develop your own writer’s voice
MODULE 2: The Elements of Creative Writing
MODULE 3: Writing for children
MODULE 4: Non-Fiction
MODULE 5: Fiction
MODULE 6: Books
Article and Manuscript Structure
MODULE 7: Screenplay
MODULE 8: Poetry
MODULE 9: Self-publishing
MODULE 10: e-Publishing
MODULE 11: Online writing
MODULE 12: Finding a publisher
MODULE 13: Marketing your writing
Marketing your writing
The Sales Strategy
How to write a proposal for publishing
Drafting a proposal
How to write a winning résumé
MODULE 14: The finishing touches
What is a kill fee?
Register an ISBN
MODULE 15: Resource Directory
Jobs for writers
Contact Theresa (firstname.lastname@example.org) to order a self-study tutorial “Introduction to Creative Writing” (e-book) or if you need assistance in preparing your manuscript for publication.