Greetings aspiring storytellers! Many passionate readers dream of writing, and perhaps even publishing. The Write Your World class will guide you toward realizing that dream. This class is suitable for projects of all sizes including short children’s stories, novellas, and full novels (longer projects might be better-tackled over two school terms). No matter your word count goal, format, writing level, age ,or personal schedule, you are welcome in this class.
Class projects that students may choose:
- Novel (40,000 words or longer)
- Novella (between 17,500 and 39,999 words)
- Novelette (between 7,500 and 17,499 words)
- Short Story (fewer than 7,500 words)
- Children’s Book (with or without illustrations)
- Graphic Novel/Comic Book
Note: Word count guidelines are hotly debated between some authors. C.S. Lewis’s The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe had only 37,000 words and, by the above guidelines, isn’t a “real” novel! Bearing this in mind, I am more concerned that you set a goal you can reach and then succeed.
- September: Plying Worlds from Your Mind; Finding Your Story. We will explore idea-generation,. Students will choose a story idea, create a few simple characters, and set Project goals (format and word counts). Students may work with the professor to create a personalized attainable goal for the Final Project.
- October: Outlining (in a way that respects people who prefer to “write on the fly”). Will will discuss the One Page Novel and J.K. Rowling’s Outline of the Order of the Phoenix.
- November: Begin (writing your story). We will explore using the One Page Chapter outline, learn about the Hook, and fill out more detailed character sheets. Begin writing and complete at least one chapter (or similar self-created goal). Note: I advise beginning sooner than this, especially if a novel is your goal.
- December: One Word After Another. The class will address how to overcome difficulties that writers often face, including writer’s block, lack of persistence, adversity, sabotage, perfection, and more.
- January: Facing the Finish Line. For those who will be finishing their stories this term, we will explore the art of endings, cliffhangers, and embark on the Hunt for Loose Ends. Final Project is due. Those who wish to continue writing during Spring Term will instead submit what they’ve written so far and fill out a brief questionnaire.
Assignments : each due on the last day of its associated month. Please either post assignments in the class forum (preferred) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Remember, you can earn extra credit for participating in the class forum, and turning in assignments in the forum counts! Important: Emailed assignments must include your HOL name and house, and the subject line should state the assignment number.
Extra Credit : There are 3 extra credit assignments, all of which are due on December 31st. (There is a separate extra participation credit that is awarded monthly, through January.)
Final Projects : Due January 13th (This is one week prior to term’s end, allowing Prof. Fumbleknot enough time to read and score.).
Extensions are allowed. Please contact me before the assignment’s due date to arrange for an extension or alternate assignment options. Do not be shy! This class is meant to offer support and take the apprehension out of writing, so contact me should you encounter difficulties of any sort.
Accessibility: While I hope this class is already accessibly-presented, I will gladly provide assistance and alternative options should anyone discover class elements that are incompatible with their disability/alter-ability. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require assistance.
House Points & Passing the Class
4 assignments at 30 points each : 120 points
3 extra credit assignments worth 30 points each : 90 points
Extra participation credit worth 6 points each month : 30 points
1 Final Project (which also counts as the Final Exam) : 60 points
300 total house points
You must earn at least 120 points and submit the Final Project to earn a Quill and pass this class.
Questions you may have:
Do I have to be a good writer?
I will not grade your writing quality! Most students will turn in rough drafts, which means nitpicking grammar and style would be inappropriate. Final project grades hinge upon level of completion and invested effort. (Students attempting to write a full-length novel may carry their projects over to Spring Term, and will be given full credit for progress completed thus far.)
Must I share my story and ideas?
No! You are not required to share your final written work(s) with the class. Some assignments and activities ask that you share story ideas. However, you might feel either shy or distrusting, particularly if publishing is your goal. And that’s ok! You may instead email those assignments instead of posting them in the class forum. Just be sure to still participate in the class forum, even if it’s just to cheer on your classmates, so that you may earn the monthly participation extra credit points!
You may also request an alternate assignment to replace sharing. We will discuss this together, and I will make my decisions on an individual basis.
If I earn a quill in this class, may I take it again?
Alas, no. It is against HOL policy to take a class if you’ve previously earned a quill for it. However, I hope to offer a followup course next term for class graduates to explore editing, publishing (including self-publishing), titling, cover art, and other fun topics. The followup course will also support any who are completing full-length novels from the first term.
Guest students are always welcome in this class. Therefore, anyone may visit the class forum and participate in the classes, write a story, and perhaps earn a special award (just no house points).