Online Advanced Writing Course
Improve your skills as a Freelance Writer
This course develops and sharpens your writing skills largely through interaction with a professional, published writer, who becomes your tutor and mentor.
In addition, you will read about different writing techniques, you will conduct research and interviews, and plan projects.
While all these career-building skills are important, they obviously take time to develop. This course builds on skills and experience you might already have. It assumes that you have a solid understanding of writing. You may already have had something published. If you want to build on your past experience and skill though; this is exactly what this course is designed for.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
- Writing Themes, Sentence Structure, Summary Skills, Theme Development (eg. Deductive, Inductive, Classic, Chronological, Descriptive, Analogy, Cause & Effect, Classification, Definition Analysis, Comparison & Contrast, Flashback etc)
- Writing a Regular Column
- Newsletters, News Columns, Criticism Journalism (eg Theatre Critics, Book Reviews, Film Reviews, etc)
- Educational Writing
- Interviewing Skills, Illustrating an article, Putting it all together
- Scientific Writing
- Technical Writing, Statistics
- Writing a Biographical Story
- Developing a draft plan, Research, Writing the final manuscript
- Writing a News Article
- Analysing a news article; writing and illustrating a sporting event
- Fiction Writing
- Category Writing; Mainstream Writing; Characteristics of good fiction (ie. A strong plot;. A hero or heroine; Obvious motivation; Plenty of action; A colourful background), Forming and developing an idea.
- Other Writing
- TV & Radio Scripts, Science Fiction, Conducting a Survey; Developing a Story.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Review basic writing skills and discuss theme development
Develop skills in writing a regular magazine or newspaper column.
Describe the key elements of educational writing.
Describe the key elements of technical writing.
Develop skills in interviewing and preparing a biographical story.
Develop skills in writing news articles.
Develop skills in writing fiction.
Describe other writing styles including script writing.
What will a Publisher Publish?
Each time a publisher confronts a new manuscript or idea for a publication, he or she must decide whether or not to publish it, even if it was commissioned. While personal taste will probably influence the publisher’s decision (consider how many best sellers were repeatedly rejected by unimpressed publishers), the decision will also be based on some basic, practical questions; among them, how closely the manuscript (or article) aligns with the publisher’s standard criteria and requirements. Market analysis helps a publisher make these kinds of decisions.
While many publishers will accept proposals or manuscripts to consider for publication, most non-fiction and educational publications result from publishers’ suggestions or commissions. One of a publisher’s chief duties is to find new titles or ideas and to commission writers for them. These may be ideas or titles consistent with the publisher’s established identity, or may contribute to the gradual development of a publisher’s identity as their reputation for producing particular kinds of works grows. In acknowledgement of this seeking role, the publisher is sometimes called the ‘commissioning editor’, and larger publishing houses may have more than one commissioning editor to help create its list of titles and preferred writers.
To carry out their commissioning role, publishers must engage in research and development of potential ideas and needs for publication, and the authors to fulfil them. The research part involves identifying public interest, potential markets, and niche areas, such as the need for educational books, or interest in gay or feminist writing, do-it-yourself home improvement, or a particular style of writing.
Successful commissioning is based on a good knowledge of the current market and market trends, which requires careful market analysis.
To analyse the market, a publisher should:
a) Investigate competition from other publishers. Determine what else is currently on the market, and how successful those publications are.
b) Research reader demand. What do readers buy, what are they looking for, and what are they prepared to pay?
c) Exploit niches (small specialist areas) and undersupplied markets. The best success stories in publishing are those where publishers were prepared to take risks and go out on a limb.
The marketer (and/or publisher) gains knowledge of the market by:
• talking to bookshop staff, editorial staff, and technical and educational experts, as well as target readers;
• keeping in touch with popular trends (through newspapers, popular magazines and television shows);
• reading relevant trade, technical or popular magazines and books;
• visiting trade shows;
• attending publishing fairs.
The development part involves finding the right authors with the skills, expertise, or public recognition to write the document.
Once the publisher has decided to commission a particular kind of work from a writer, the publisher provides the author with a contract that both parties sign to prevent misunderstandings at a later stage. The contract specifies the method of payment to the author (royalties or lump sum) and the treatment of subsidiary rights (the author’s and publisher’s rights with regards to publication in other works, including films, videos and translations).
Uncommissioned manuscripts and proposals
Most publishers will at least consider uncommissioned manuscripts or articles submitted by hopeful authors, to meet the enormous demand for interesting reading. Publishers are always on the lookout for innovative and appealing ideas that will stimulate reader interest in a world of television and video movies. With an increasingly discerning readership in an increasingly competitive field, publishers must be visionaries, willing and able to see the potential in an idea or manuscript in the hope of publishing the next great book or bestseller.
In addition to the many unsolicited complete manuscripts that are submitted by hopeful authors, many non-commissioned publishing projects begin with an idea that is presented to the publisher in the form of a proposal. Usually, a book proposal contains:
• a description of the book
• a table of contents
• a chapter or two chapters (usually the first and another) to give the publisher an idea of how the book will be written.
A proposal allows the publisher to determine whether a writer’s ideas and skills might result in something worthwhile (to that publisher), without having to read through a complete manuscript.
Because publishing is, in the end, a business, when deciding what to publish, a publisher must balance the desire to produce quality, creative, aesthetically appealing, hardback books or beautiful, informative magazines and the need to publish and sell a sufficient volume of works to remain viable and produce a profit. It may be, after all, the sale of large numbers of medium quality paperbacks or magazines that largely funds the risky, brilliant, quality projects that may not sell.