Creative Writing I

Learn How to Write Narrative Fiction Like a Novelist

Picture This: A Kid Who Has the Tools to Write Compelling Narrative Stories


One night when my son Connor was in middle school, I went into his bedroom to kiss him goodnight. Much to my surprise, he wasn't reading an adventure novel like his normal bedtime ritual; rather, he was intently writing line after line of handwritten sentences in a purple spiral-bound notebook.

Curious, I asked him what he was doing.

"I'm writing my first book, mom," he said.

"Wow," I muttered in astonishment, "I had no idea you were doing this."

Each night thereafter, I found him absorbed in crafting his teenage masterpiece. That December, he proudly handed his wrapped Christmas present to his dad and I. When I opened it, I was delighted to find his handwritten novella.

I read each page with more and more fascination as a profound idea dawned on me -- his novel sounded a lot like his favorite authors...Tolkien, Lewis, Riordan, Zahn, Rowling, and Jacques. The plot lines were similar. The hero, villain, and quest were familiar. Even the stylistic techniques echoed those used in the many volumes of treasured books in his personal library.

I realized then that reading classic literature had impacted his writing skills. Through years of immersion in quality read-alouds and private reading, Connor had begun to imitate the art of storytelling and the craft of narrative fiction.


If your kid is a natural storyteller, give him the writing tools that every author uses.

He already has a vivid imagination...

If you're like me, you've got at least one kid in your family who's a natural storyteller...one who:

  • listens intently during family read-aloud time
  • always finds something to read at the bookstore or library
  • memorizes the details of epic movies like Star Wars and LOTR

He may even love dressing up in costume as his favorite character! When you ask him questions about the movie or literature, he's eager to tell you all the juicy details. At night when you tell him, "lights out," he begs you to let him read one more chapter...

His imagination for storytelling is already apparent, but he needs the secret recipe to make his stories truly come alive.

Up to this point, your child has happily gobbled up the stories you've told, epic movies you've watched, and illustrated storybooks you've read. If all you ever do is give him the yummy frosted three-layer cake to taste, he'll never know how to bake his own delicious concoction.

But he lacks the tools to put it all together...

Just like every baker needs ingredients and a recipe, your little writer needs to know the elements and framework of a typical story before he can write narrative fiction.

What secrets do authors know? Novelists know the elements of narrative fiction like:

  • how to structure the hero's quest for maximum thrill
  • what twelve character archetypes are most popular
  • when to add a cliffhanger that keeps the reader wanting more

Authors of classic literature also know the framework of a great story like:

  • the ancient three-act play which starts with an exciting event
  • where to place the climax for greatest impact
  • when to add (and take away) dialogue

Writing a great novel is not rocket science, but to do it successfully, you've got to know the rules.

Your kid can write like a best-selling novelist once he learns the rules of storytelling.

That's Why I Created this Writing Course

That Christmas when Connor gave me his first novella, I realized that he needed to learn the structure and rules of storytelling so that his future compositions were coherent -- stories with a plot line that flowed seamlessly like a fantastic movie with three-dimensional characters that his audience could relate to and timeless themes that would resonate with truth. So I created a writing course that would teach him the tricks of the trade, and now I'm going to teach your son or daughter to write like a novelist, too!

Your Coach

Diane Lockman
Diane Lockman

If you want motivated, self-directed kids, then homeschool mentor Diane Lockman’s simple approach to classical education is just what you need. She shows you how to make learning relevant, measurable, and achievable as you teach your kids to read, think, write, and speak about life’s most meaningful ideas.

In addition to her popular podcast, Diane serves families through two online communities: Bright Moms, a group coaching course that takes the guesswork out of planning and teaching and Classical Scholar Academy where she uses classical methods to teach writing, literature, and history to 7th-12th graders. 💕

Luke is naturally creative, so storywriting doesn't feel like work to him, but Diane's class made him work! He improved as a critical thinker about what makes a good story. And he improved as a peer critiquer, able to give feedback and push his peers to write more compelling stories. Luke hopes to pursue a career in the film industry, and I know this class will serve as a great foundation for him as he follows his dreams. ~Julie

What You Get in this Writing Course

In Creative Writing I: How to Write Narrative Fiction Like a Novelist, your kid will take the first step towards being a published author by learning how to write a compelling short story, novella, or novel. Each of the 15 lessons is designed to acquaint you with the fundamental building blocks of storytelling through video, audio, and pdf. Topics include plot progression, character archetypes, setting, dialogue, point of view, conflict, artistic style, thematic motifs, and audience analysis.

what-youll-learn-1What He'll Write

The course comes with 75 writing prompts (5 per lesson); most students find that picking 3 prompts a week gives them plenty of practice with the concepts like:

  • write the exciting event that starts the hero on his journey
  • compose a flashback to explain the character's motivation
  • use a trinket to represent the villain's power

Once you register, I'll send a username and password along with a link so that he can publish his writing on our class blog, Teen Scholars, and submit a short story at mid-semester.

By the end of the course, he'll have 20,000+ words in his online writing portfolio which will really help when he gets ready to publish his first novella!

what-youll-learn-1What He'll Read

In this course, he'll read three books (two classic children's books and one contemporary handbook):

You're welcome to pick up copies of the books at your local library, or click on the links above to purchase your own from amazon.

what-youll-learn-1How He’ll Learn

There are 15 lessons in this course. Each week, he'll log-in to his private dashboard and find:

  • three key ideas
  • a reading assignment
  • one video lesson
  • active learning practicum with questions and short quiz
  • 5 writing prompts

In the classical tradition, he'll learn from an experienced writer, Diane Lockman, and two master storytellers, C.S. Lewis and Brian Jacques. Diane will teach him what he needs to know to perform a close reading of the classic literature and a contemporary writing handbook. He'll get to imitate the author's technique and style using substitution and paraphrase. He'll also practice what he's learning by responding to specific writing prompts. Finally, he'll confirm what he's learned in weekly interactive practicums and quizzes.

Get Started Today!

6 month access for $ 199 ... that's only $ 13/lesson!

Start Learning

...or keep reading because I've got even more great stuff to tell you!

Who Should Take this Writing Course

This creative writing course is written for homeschool kids doing middle or high school level work (12-18 years old). Although I discourage younger writers due to the amount of reading (50 pages/week) and writing (600-1000 words/week), I do make exceptions for kids who demonstrate readiness through a writing sample. At a minimum, your child needs to know how to:

  • write the basic paragraph
  • use a variety of sentence structures (simple, compound)
  • add stylistic techniques like using adjectives to modify a noun

All assignments are submitted online via blog posts, workshop comments, or typewritten docs, so knowing how to type is an essential prerequisite. This course is not for beginning writers. I highly recommend Andrew Pudewa's writing seminar as a starting point before enrolling in this course.

Will My Teaching Style Resonate with Your Kids?

Watch this Sample Lesson on Plot

Wistia video thumbnail - NF-L9-INVENTING-CHARACTERS

Sample Writing Prompt

Each week, your student will practice what he's learning by responding to 3-5 writing prompts and posting his composition on our class blog for my feedback. Here's an example prompt:

  • Invent a character with a MYSTERIOUS PAST. Tell us what he did and what was done to him. Write 300-500 words (~3-5 paragraphs).

Sample Writing Practicum

After the watching the primary lesson, your child will continue practicing with the key ideas. Here's an exercise from the character lesson:

  • In this exercise, you're going to pick a main character (hero or villain) from this week's reading in The Long Patrol for a MOCK INTERVIEW. Pretend that he sitting down with you in real-life. What would you like to know about him? What clues are in the text?

Sample Quiz Question

At the end of the Practicum, he'll answer a few automated quiz questions which immediately tell him whether his answer was right or wrong like this one:

  • Should an author know what motivates a character to do what she does?
    • Yes, if you want a fully-developed, relatable character
    • No, motive is irrelevant to moral choice

And that's just a taste of what he'll do each week! By the time he completes this writing course, he'll be able to teach his siblings the elements of fiction. Plus his own writing will be stellar since he's learned the concepts, studied classic authors, and written ~ 20,000 words from his own imagination.


Just imagine how thrilling it will be when you assign literature, and he confidently writes with expertise!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does class meet each week?
There's no online weekly meeting, and as soon as you register, all 15 lessons will be available in your student area. This course is completely self-paced so that you can do the lessons (24/7) whenever it works for your schedule. There's never a conflict with other homeschooling academic or extracurricular commitments.
How many hours a week are required?
Most kids can expect to spend 4-5 hours a week on the reading, lessons, practicums, and writing assignments.
Is there a required textbook?
Yes, there are three required readings. We will be using the Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children by Nancy Lamb. We'll also be reading C. S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Brian Jacques' The Long Patrol.
How does the interactive practicum work?
Every week after you complete the video lesson, you'll have a chance to practice what you learned before you do your writing prompts. The principle of the recorded practicum is imitation using “show, stop, and do.” For example, you'll watch me demonstrate a writing skill, then you'll stop the video and imitate what you've seen.
Do you edit my writing?
No, I believe you'll learn how to become a better writer if you make your own edits; however, I do give constructive suggestions for making your presentation better on the student blog and in one-on-one web conference calls, as needed or requested. If you decide to write a short story (after lesson 7), I'll also give your an extensive proofreading to make the content and stylistic technique better. My students have found this comprehensive exercise extremely helpful.
Can I schedule a private meeting with my teacher?
Yes, you're always welcome to schedule live coaching calls in my web conference room, as needed, to ask questions or discuss writing assignments. Plus if the students are interested, I'll host two special (optional) live meetings in our online conference room for fun, collaborative learning with other classmates.
Do you issue a report card?
Sort of... I send two progress reports (midterm + final), and a Certificate of Mastery upon completion of the course. I believe in the final authority of the homeschool parent in assigning the letter grade, but I hope to support you with concrete feedback.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does six month access sound? After enrolling, you can retrieve this course across any and all devices you own. Since a typical homeschool semester is four months, you've got an extra two months to catch up in case circumstances get in the way.
Can I give high school credit for this course?
Yes, this course is worth a half year (1/2 CR) one-semester high school credit. Most homeschool moms list it as an ENGLISH composition credit.
Can a middle school student take this course?
Of course. If you believe your younger child is ready for introductory high school work, by all means, please don't wait until an artificial grade level arrives to enroll him. (Remember to teach skills, not subjects. When he masters the skill, move on!) If you'd like to enroll a younger child (10-12), make sure he's mastered the paragraph to avoid needless frustration,
Is this course taught from a Christian worldview?

Yes, my relationship with the Living God informs all of my teaching; there are lots of references to faith and Christian principles in the content.

What if I am unhappy with the course?
I would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me in the first 30 days, and I'll cancel your subscription. No questions asked, and we can still be friends. :-)
Do you still have questions?

Please shoot me an email, and I'll be happy to answer your concerns.

Give Your Kid the Writing Tools He Needs

In 30 Days, He'll Be On His Way to Writing Like a Novelist

When you buy the Creative Writing I course, you're giving your homeschool 'tween or teen the power to move his loosely-pieced imaginative writing to a new level...that of an experienced storyteller. He'll learn all the elements of narrative fiction plus the exact framework for putting it together in one cohesive, entertaining story from beginning to end.

This is the best writing course my children have ever taken! Diane has helped our little guys discover one of their greatest loves--great characters in great stories." (Hosanna, mom of 4)

Not only will be be able to recognize all the secrets the next time he reads a book or watches a movie, but he'll also be positioned to publish is work if he feels so inspired.

Start today!

This course is not open for enrollment.