Maricopa Community Colleges  ENG183   19896-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval:  4/11/89

ENG183  1989 Fall - 9999


3 Credit(s)

3 Period(s)

Basic Manuscript Writing: Fiction

Basic skills and techniques used by the professional fiction writer in writing fiction for publication, including characterization, plot development, writing dialogue, setting scenes, and establishing mood. Emphasis on writing scenes.

Prerequisites: None.


Course Notes: ENG183 may be repeated for a total of six (6) credit hours.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


ENG183  1989 Fall - 9999

Basic Manuscript Writing: Fiction



Describe what is involved in a professional writing career including attitudes and skills an author should possess. (I)


Write scenes using the techniques of characterization to identify and describe a character. (II)


Write a sketch which describes the plot for a story including, the type of character, his/her outer problems and inner conflicts. (III, IV)


Identify and describe the story types. (V)


Summarize a character's actions and motivation as they relate to fulfilling basic needs. (VI)


Describe the use and function of scenes in fiction writing. (VII)


Compare and contrast the different types of viewpoints and their uses. (VIII)


Write scenes, selecting a suitable point of view. (VIII)


Write paragraphs illustrating the use of past and present tense. (IX)


Write a scene which effectively shows emotion through the use os description and dialogue. (X, XI)


Apply techniques for writing realistic dialogue. (XI)


Describe ordinary and/or unusual settings, using ambiance and sensory perception to create effective scenes. (XII, XIII)


Write a scene in which a flashback occurs including the use of an action or symbol to trigger the flashback and a transition to bring the story back to the present. (XIV, XV)


Identify transitions in own writing and the writing of others. (XV)


Rewrite a paragraph using cadence to achieve a different effect. (XIV)


Write a rough draft for a short story incorporating the appropriate writing techniques. (I - XVI)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


ENG183  1989 Fall - 9999

Basic Manuscript Writing: Fiction

I. Fiction Writing as a Career

A. Characteristics of an Author

1. Love of Writing

2. Dedication to Task

3. Ability

4. Ability to Accept Criticism

B. Struggles and Rewards of a Writing Career

1. Amount of Time Required

2. Earnings

C. Important Information Sources

1. Writers' Market

2. Writers' Magazine

3. Publishers' Weekly

4. Using Sources to Choose Your Market

II. Characterization

A. Role of Characterization in Fiction

B. Developing Interesting Characters

1. Opposing Traits In a Character

2. Traits Which Make the Character Unique

3. Character Creation, Not Copies of Real People

III. Sources of Ideas for Stories

A. Writing What You Know About

B. Researching What You Don't Know About

1. Detail About Time and Place

2. Examine Events for Cause and Effect

C. Finding An Interesting Person, Situation, or Setting

D. Adapting True Stories

IV. Plot is Character in Action and Conflict

A. Stories With Structure: Beginning Middle, and End

B. Main Character-Problem or Conflict

1. Change In His/Her Life

2. Humans Against Society, Himself/Herself, Nature, or God

3. Struggle Revealed Through Plot

4. Plot Non-existent Without Action

V. Types of Stories

A. Action - Emphasis On Physical Action

B. Didactic - Intended to Convey a Message

C. Episodic - Episode Which Becomes a Turning Point In the Character's Life

D. Plotted - Romance, Mystery, Western, and Science Fiction

1. Initial Situation

2. Complication

3. Conflict

4. Development

5. Climax and Outcome

E. Psychological - Emphasizes Character

1. Stream of Consiousness Story

2. Conflict in Protagonist's Thoughts

F. Unplotted - Emphasizes Mood

VI. Motivation

A. Plot Weak Unless Motives Are Compelling

B. Basic Needs Motivates Characters to Certain Actions

1. Need to Love and Be Loved

2. Need to Belong

3. Need to Achieve

4. Need for Security

5. Need to Know

VII. Scenes

A. Used to Dramatize Rather Than Just Tell

B. Must Have Conflict

C. Must Be Clear

1. Time Frame

2. Place and Season

D. Mod - Fear, Excitement, Worry, Mystery

E. Eliminate Trivial Details

VIII. Character Viewpoint

A. Third Person - Narration

1. Conveys Idea That Story Is In One Person's Mind

2. Gives Author More Freedom

3. Most Versatile and Easiest to Use

B. First Person - "I Viewpoint"

1. All Thinking done by "I" Character

2. Allows Author to Get Deep Into Character's Thoughts

3. Requires Author to Realistically Portray Character's Feelings

C. Omnicient Viewpoint

1. Thoughts of More Than One Person

2. Usually Important Characters

D. Second Person View Point

IX. Tenses - Past and Present

X. Emotions

A. Emotions Should Be Intense

B. Use Outward Behavior and Reactions of character

C. Strong or Important Scenes Need to Be Built Up In Advance

XI. Dialogue

A. Functions of Dialogue

1. It Should Sound Natural

2. It Should Advance Story - Give Information

3. It Should Characterize

a. Give Information About Feelings

b. Education

B. When Writing Dialogue, Give a Separate Line to Each Speaker

C. Beware of Dialect

XII. Ambiance

A. Allows Reader to Experience the Setting

1. Time of year

2. Weather

3. Smell and Feel

B. Some Must Occur In Opening Scene

XIII. Sensory Perception

A. Use to Involve Reader and Stimulate Senses

1. Taste, Smell, Feel, Sound, and Color

2. Set Mood

B. Adds Color and Interest to Dull Scenes

XIV. Flashbacks

A. Transitions Between Past and Present

B. Long Flashbacks - Short Story Within the Story

C. Short Flashbacks - Use Only Important Details

XV. Transitions

A. Used to Shift Scenes and Bridge Time

B. Used to Make Writing Flow

XVI. Orchestration

A. Cadence - Sentence Structure and Length

1. Used to Evoke Feeling

2. Choice of Words and Word Order

3. Punctuation

B. Style

1. Not WHAT you deal with, but HOW

2. The Way An Author thinks and Uses Words

C. Rule of Three

1. Settling Conflicts

2. Use of Primary Characters


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