Maricopa Community Colleges  ENG184   19896-99999 

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

ENG184  1989 Fall - 9999


3 Credit(s)

3 Period(s)

Advanced Manuscript Writing I: Fiction

In-depth instruction in writing publishable manuscripts. Includes research techniques, writing query letters, advanced techniques in character, plot, and scene development. Emphasis on critiquing and revising manuscripts.

Prerequisites: ENG183 or permission of Instructor.


Course Notes: ENG184 may be repeated for a total of six (6) credit hours.

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


ENG184  1989 Fall - 9999

Advanced Manuscript Writing I: Fiction



Describe points to consider when selecting story materials. (I)


Describe the research process, identifying techniques and sources of information. (II)


Write scenes for a short story or novel which utilize the techniques of characterization to identify and describe the main character and secondary characters in scenes. (III)


Outline the plot for a short story or novel, describing the main character, his/her outer problems and inner conflicts, and how the conflicts will be resolved. (IV)


Identify types of character motivation in own writing and the writing of others. (V)


Demonstrate the effective use of dialogue, movement, characterization, and conflict in writing scenes for a short story or novel. (VI)


Select a suitable story viewpoint and character viewpoint for a short story or novel and demonstrate their use. (VII)


Write query letters to potential publishers (including story synopsis) . (VIII)


Analyze the writing of others, identifying scenes, plot, character motivation, viewpoint and any other elements; comment on author's style. (IX)


Write a rough draft of a short story or chapters for a novel, incorporating appropriate writing techniques. (I - IX)


Revise rough draft based on the critique of self and others. (IX)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


ENG184  1989 Fall - 9999

Advanced Manuscript Writing I: Fiction

I. Ideas for Short Stories and Novels

A. Generation of Ideas

B. Feasibility of Ideas

II. Research

A. Techniques

1. Organizing Notes

2. Note Cards By Categories

3. Recording Sources of Information

B. Sources of Information

1. Public and University Libraries

2. Encyclopedias

3. Journals

4. Old Photographs

5. Webster's Biographical Dictionary

6. The Handbood of English Costumes in the Eighteenth Century

III. Development of Characters

A. What You Need To Know About Your Character

1. What Does He/She Look Like?

2. Outstanding Traits and Attitudes

3. What is His/Her Life Story?

4. What Does He/She Rebel Against?

5. What Are His/Her Basic Assumptions?

6. What Are His/Her Physical Mannerisms?

7. What Are His/Her Faults--His/Her Contradictions?

B. Techniques

1. Combining Description With Action

2. Reveal Character Slowly

3. Appropriate Use of Static Description

4. Choosing Names That Fit the Character

5. Loaded Words

IV. Structure - Character and Plot Resolution

A. Main Character Must Resolve Conflict Through Own Action

1. Don't Bring in Outside Influences

2. Don't Rely on Obvious Solutions

3. The Unexpected Must Be Plausable

4. Don't Give Character Problem He/She Can't Resolve

B. Development of Conflict Moves Story Along

C. Plot Answers Questions

1. What Happened?

2. To Whom Did It Happen?

3. Where Did It Happen?

4. In What Way Did It Happen?

5. How Did it Feel Happening?

6. Why Did It Happen?

V. Character Motivation

A. Self-Preservation

B. Love and Loyalty

C. Power

D. Society

VI. Scenes

A. Purpose of scenes

1. Move Story Along

2. Give Information

3. Give Characterizaiton

4. Show Conflict

B. Tying Scenes Together to form a story

VII. Viewpoint Gives Coherence to a Story

A. Story Viewpoint

1. Subjective

a. Most of Action Through Thoughts and Emotions of Character

b. Most Popular Viewpoint

2. Objective

a. Reader Observes From Afar, Neve Gets Into Character's Mind

b. Thoughts Shown Through Observing character's Actions and dialogue

3. Objective Viewpoint Story Never has Subjective Scene

4. Subjective Viewpoint Story Can Have Objective Scenes

B. Character Viewpoint

1. Third Person - Narration

2. First Person - "I" Viewpoint

3. Omniscient Viewpoint

4. Second Person

VIII. Query Letters

A. Know What Publishers Expect

1. "Query First"

2. "Will Read Manuscripts"

3. Multiple Submissions

B. Information to Include

1. Story Length

2. Intended Audience

3. Story Synopsis

a. Theme

b. Characters

c. Conflict and Resolution

4. Technical or Research Information

5. Personal Qualifications of Author

IX. Student Critique, Revising, and Editing Manuscripts

A. Checkpoints

1. Beginning - Is It Intriguing?

2. Are Time, Place, and Action Always Clear?

3. Middle - Story Development

4. Detail Given to Setting

5. Character Development, Motivation

6. Pace and Rhythm

a. Transitions

b. Dialogue

c. Narration

7. Ending - Resolution

8. Loose Ends

B. Second Reading

1. Repetitions

2. Awkward Phrasing

3. Spelling, Grammar, Syntax

4. Dangling Participles

5. Cliches

6. Specific, Descriptive Nouns

7. Active Verbs

8. Variety in character, action, scenes

9. Variety in Length, arrangement of sentences

C. Third Reading

1. Boring Passages

2. Favorite Passages That Don't Work

3. Remove all But Salient, Noteworthy Details

4. Eliminate Extraneous Dialogue

5. Remember Your Market and Audience

D. Recognizing and Correcting Common Mistakes

1. Connecting Sentences With Commas

2. Dangling Participles

3. Redundancy

4. Long Words

5. Clutter Words

6. Using Parts of Speech and Punctuation

7. Sexism

8. Words - Pretentious, Precise, Vague, Cliches


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