This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others. 

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Fiction Writing & Literary Form, Part One (HS 11-123)

Learn all about creative writing and get a jump on what you need for literary criticism and analysis for college writing! In this hands-on fiction writing course, you’ll learn the must-haves for writing your own books and stories as you create and write in stories that interest YOU! Get in-depth how-to knowledge on Plot & Structure, Description & Setting, and Characters & Dialogue, and learn how to transfer exceptional creative writing skills into all of your writing!

Total classes: 12

Prerequisite: Required: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I (HS 9-1) and High School Simplified Writing 1: Strong Foundational Writing Skills (HS 9-2).

Prerequisites can be taken either live or through Unlimited Access and can be taken concurrently.
An alternative to the prerequisite: a passing assessment from the Aquinas Writing Advantage Assessment service. Please contact [email protected] for any questions on permissions.

Suggested grade level: 11th grade; however, this course can be taken at any grade level in high school with the prerequisite.

Suggested credit: One (1) full semester’s credit for Creative Writing, Fiction Writing, or English

Special Notes: Course materials are provided free for this course. This is Part One of a 2-part course. Students are expected to sign up for Part Two in the spring. Due to the popularity of this course, it is offered at different times during the week. Choose the day and time that works best for your family’s homeschool.

Accompanying Courses: Students who enjoy creative writing are encouraged to sign up for one of these optional LIVE courses in addition to this course: Story Writing with Maureen Ryan, Developing Characters with Cherise Papa, or Writing for Video Production with Doug Hughes. Students who want a career in writing should explore the many options available as recorded, independent-learning courses via our Unlimited Access program, including Screenwriting, The Hero’s Journey, Authoring a Book, and more.


“What makes great fiction? And how can I use fiction writing to make all of my writing dynamic, interesting, and strong?” In this course (the first of two successive courses), you’ll understand what makes excellent fiction writing and hone your writing skills as you write your own story using the elements and writing techniques of excellent storytelling. Whether you want to write a novel or want to be a dynamic, successful writer in all that you do — learning great plot and structure, description and setting, and characters and dialogue skills will allow you to write exceptionally well, raise your written communication skills, become skilled in the elements of literary analysis, and be fully prepared for college and beyond. Learn skills, be creative, and enjoy writing! Sign up for Part Two (Spring semester), for a complete year of writing credit.


Plot and Structure (Weeks 1 – 4)

The first 4-week segment of the course teaches your student about writing a gripping plot for fiction books of any genre for middle-grade, young adult, and adult story plots.

Class 1: Great openings—the opening line, hook, drop into action, and inciting incident
Class 2: Developing your plot—doors of no return, peaks, and the rising plot line
Class 3: Creating tension and intrigue—tricks, tips, and “the plant”
Class 4: Great endings—creating a strong climax and finish

Description and Setting (Weeks 5 – 8)

In the next four weeks, the student will learn how to use excellent descriptions and craft a strong and memorable setting for any fiction work.
Class 5: Description and Setting Foundations

Class 6: Types of Description—the senses, metaphor and simile, figures of speech, and literary techniques
Class 7: Principles and techniques of memorable settings (including examples to learn by)
Class 8: How to integrate description and setting into plot, structure, and character development

Characters and Dialogue (Weeks 9 – 12)

The final four weeks teach the importance of dynamic characters and dialogue for fiction books of any genre—and how to create memorable characters and clear, distinct dialogue.

Class 9: Types of characters, developing characters fully, introducing your character
Class 10: Character arc– your lead character’s inner change
Class 11: Dialogue how-to’s, do’s, and don’ts
Class 12: Showing your character in the dialogue– weaving dialogue with your character and the action

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: All course materials are provided FREE in the course. Microsoft Word or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document is required. If you do not own Microsoft Word, you can use a system such as Google Docs that converts to Word documents FREE.

Homework: Weekly writing assignments with direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated three (3) to four (4) hours per week for homework outside of class time that includes reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

Important Dates

Class dates and times:

Wednesday, September 11 to December 4, 2024. No class Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving break)
10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central, 8:00 Mountain, 7:00 Pacific)


Thursdays, September 12 to December 5, 2024. No class Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving)
1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes

Choose from courses in all subject areas for your upper grade school, middle school, and high school student—taught by worldwide experts in Catholic education.
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