Follow the online continuing education series for fiction writers of all levels: The Mechanics of Fiction Writing. Links to video forms of each lecture are available via the thumbnail in the appropriate section heading. You can support this series and future productions by purchasing a copy of the accompanying book of lecture notes and skill-sharpening exercises for yourself or as a gift to a fellow writer.
Lessons 1 & 2
Laying the foundation for Mechanics. Learn why fiction gets taught the way it does, how Mechanics changes the game, and how we can construct a functional definition of fiction as a target to aim at as fiction writers.
Build a comprehensive understanding of how plot works in fiction based on decades of scholarship in narrative theory, breakthroughs in cognitive science, and a thorough grounding in narrative craft.
Develop a bulletproof framework for understanding the narrator. Learn how the narrator's posture in relation to the story affects the narrator's attributes and functions, and how these characteristics shape the story each narrator tells.
Learn how your readers form their impressions of your characters from the cues your writing presents them. Explore major attributes from reliability and agency to likability and roundness: access the keys to building characters readers will see as vivid human avatars.
Discover how cognitive science shapes our understanding of how readers construct storyworld space in their minds: everything from how readers map space and even feel a "sense of a place" to how you can craft lasting images, you will enhance your ability to create vivid and immersive storyworlds.
Sharpen your ability to convey your stories clearly, accurately, and beautifully. Heighten your awareness of rhythm, style, and sentence structure, and learn how reader-focused prose can more effectively and artistically convey stories worth reading and sharing.
Survey both the abstract and more concrete elements of stories that exist between the lines: explore everything from metaphors (small and large) to the implicit rules of conversation to the symbolism and epiphanies that give stories their emotional force and meaning. Build a framework for understanding how and why stories are meaningful for readers.
Cover a wide range of ground beyond the pages of the book itself. Consider useful advice on how to adapt well to a life as a fiction writer, from effective ways of approaching a blank page to protecting your mental health and well-being. Also examine the comprehensive list for further reading on the topics covered in Mechanics.