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 you're like me, you've got at least one kid in your family who's a natural storyteller...one who:
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...
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.
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:
Authors of classic literature also know the framework of a great story like:
Writing a great novel is not rocket science, but to do it successfully, you've got to know the rules.
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
There are 15 lessons in this course. Each week, he'll log-in to his private dashboard and find:
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.
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:
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.
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:
After the watching the primary lesson, your child will continue practicing with the key ideas. Here's an exercise from the character lesson:
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:
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.
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.
Please shoot me an email, and I'll be happy to answer your concerns.
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.