Certificate in Mystery Writing Online Course

Understand mystery writing


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Learn The Techniques You Need To Know To Become a Best Selling Mystery Author

Mystery Writing begins by introducing the four story types and then explains how they relate to mysteries. It then reveals the three-act story structure, which is any story's key to success. Next, it shows you how to propel the action forward to a climax, followed by a catharsis in which your readers feel the release of tension that accompanies a great finish.

The difference between story and plot is one of the most important distinctions in fiction writing--and one that many professional authors don't fully understand. But you will have mastered it by the end of this course. You'll also get a chance to experiment with viewpoints and see which one works best for your mystery. And you'll write a complete scene from your story and learn the internal structure that makes every scene feel right.

Finally, you'll delve into the special techniques that apply to mysteries, including crime scene description, MacGuffins, and the use of red herrings to misdirect your readers and create suspense.

Examples from real mystery novels will show these techniques in action. Then, following each lesson, you'll get to practice on your own story. And when you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in a dynamic, interactive discussion area.

This information-packed online course combines the best advice of many writing professionals, tempered with the instructor's own experiences as a mystery writer. Follow the guidelines taught in this course, and you'll be well on your way to writing a successful mystery of your very own!

Course Fast Facts:

  • Only 6 weeks to complete this course
  • Approximately only 2 to 4 hours per week of study is required
  • This course is delivered 100% on-line and is accessible 24/7 from any computer or smartphone
  • Instructors lead each course and you will be able to interact with them and ask questions
  • You can study from home or at work at your own pace in your own time
  • You can download printer friendly course material or save for viewing off line
  • You will be awarded a certificate at completion of this course

How to study online course?

Upon enrolment an automated welcome email will be sent to you (please check your junk email inbox if not received as this is an automated email), in order for you to access your online course, which is Available 24/7 on any computer or smart mobile device. New courses start every month to ensure that we have the correct ratio of students to tutors available, please ensure you select a starting date when you go through our shopping cart, at checkout. The course is easy to follow and understand.

Recognition & Accreditation

All students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion with a passing score (for the online assessment) and will be issued a certificate via email.

 

There are 12 units of study

The Four Story Types

You're probably wondering if you can really write a novel or screenplay. You may have already started one—maybe even several—and then run out of steam. In this first lesson, you'll begin finding out the secret that guarantees success. It's the secret of knowing where you're going before you start. We'll also take some time today to discuss what makes a mystery great, and to explore a number of real-world examples.

Plot vs. Story

Did you know that there's a big difference between story and plot? Amazingly, even many professional authors are confused about this. Today you'll learn that plot is physical while story is emotional. Balancing the two is one of the keys to writing fiction that will satisfy your audience.

Passion, Theme, Character, and Premise

This lesson is about the dramatic elements at the heart of every story: passion, theme, character, and premise. Your passion is what drives you to tell your story and the theme is the underlying message it carries. To convey your theme, you create characters that represent it—either positively or negatively. Put these elements together and you've got your premise.

Character

Character is what story is all about. Without a character—and a change in him or her—there can be no story. Today, you'll discover why the best characters are flawed. We'll explore you main character—the protagonist—and the opposing force of the antagonist. And then we'll look at tricks and techniques for creating characters that are memorable.

The Checkpoints of Mystery Story Structuring

In this lesson, we'll explore the structure underlying almost every great story. That's right: Nearly every successful story has the same structure—a structure that virtually guarantees success! Like Sherlock Holmes, we'll examine each element of it under our writer's magnifying glass. Then we'll test our theories against some well-known mysteries. By the end, we'll have solved the mystery of story structure.

Act 1: Hook, Backstory, and Trigger

This is the first of three lessons in which you'll construct your story outline, act-by-act. In Act 1, you'll hook your readers. Then you'll fill them in with some character history called backstory. Finally, you'll exit Act 1 with a bang by triggering a traumatic event in the life of your protagonist.

Act 2: Crisis, Struggle, and Epiphany

Today, we work on Act 2 of your mystery. If Act 1 ended with a bang, Act 2 starts with a whimper. Your protagonist begins in crisis—an emotional state brought on by his or her flaw. And because of that flaw, your protagonist will struggle throughout the act as the antagonist deals setback after setback. Fortunately, at the conclusion of Act 2, your protagonist finally figures out the source of all this emotional distress and overcomes it.

Act 3: Plan, Climax, and Ending

The epiphany that ended Act 2 has prepared your protagonist for triumph in Act 3. So it's time to devise a plan. The result will be a final confrontation with the antagonist. This lesson looks at the best way to defeat the antagonist—it's not what you might guess. Then, with that dramatic climax behind you, you'll be ready to tie up all your story's loose threads in the ending.

The Story Outline

We've accomplished a lot and you've gotten pretty comfortable with story structure. This is the lesson where we put it all together. We're going to move from story idea, to story outline, to developing scenes. From these little seeds, we're about to grow a forest.

Scene and Sequel

In this lesson, we'll unravel the internal structure of every piece of fiction you've ever read. This is different from story structure and it's something I bet you never even knew existed. It's calledscene and sequel. After today, you'll never forget it.

Viewpoint

One of the most important choices an author makes is viewpoint. It affects every aspect of story—from theme, to pacing, to suspense. Today we'll look at the three most common viewpoints: third person omniscient, third person limited, and first person. We'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each by considering examples from real-word mystery novels.

The Mystery

Much of what we've talked about in this course applies to all types of fiction, not just mysteries. So, in learning how to write a great mystery, you've also been learning to be a better writer in all genres. But in this final lesson, we'll examine some elements unique to mystery writing. Then we'll wrap up with ideas about how to follow the roadmap you've created and actually reach your goal of a finished novel or screenplay.

Entry requirements

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Computer requirements

Students will need access to a computer and the internet.

Minimum specifications for the computer are:

Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

MAC/iOS

  • OSX/iOS 6 or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

All systems

  • Internet bandwidth of 1Mb or faster
  • Flash player or a browser with HTML5 video capabilities(Currently Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

Students will also need access the following applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Customer Reviews


Every person considering writing any type of fiction should take this course with Steve Alcorn. It contained concise information, writing assignments and quizzes, as well as comprehensive review by the instructor. Mr. Alcorn was in his classroom available for instruction and assistance when it was 2:00 a.m. and I was in my pajamas! The class was strikingly beneficial, fun and up-to-the-minute with instructional responses. He has my highest recommendation.

During the course I wrote a mystery using your guidelines. I finished it last week and sent off a query letter. The publisher has requested the complete manuscript!

Having this course being taught by a published author was immensely valuable. It is great to be taught by someone who has the success and experience, yet can still relate to us beginners and cares that we are successful too. Wonderful!!

I have a novel coming out in June 2007 (thanks to Steve's help), and a mystery in the hands of another publisher, a mystery that never would have been written without his help. I wanted to say thank you.

I really enjoyed taking this course. Steve is excellent. He knows his subject. When I had difficulty grasping a topic, he gave good examples that helped me understand the point he was trying to make. I recommend this course to everyone who has an interest in/or aspires to write mysteries.

Steve Alcorn is an amazing teacher. I took his Advanced Fiction Writing and Mystery Writing courses, in that order, and I learned more in his courses than I did as a creative writing major at an outstanding university. This is by far the best way to learn, and you're learning from a real pro. Thank you Steve - I am working on my mystery and plan to get a book proposal out there within a few months.

Thanks Steve, you're the best! You're a great role model for all of us who dream of being a writer whose readers just can't wait for us to write another best seller! I enjoyed your sense of humor, guidance and best of all your knowledge of the craft, which is without peer. Thanks again for all your encouragement -- it made a big difference.

You know what I liked about your course? My entire home library of books on writing TOLD ME WHAT I needed to do in order to write a book. You SHOWED ME HOW to do it. Thanks a million.

You may be interested to learn that during the course, I developed a novel. Shortly after completing the course, I finished work on the book and submitted it. It has been accepted by a publisher!! Very helpful course.

Run; do not walk, to sign on for Steve's classes. This is the best writing class I ever took, exceeding a college curriculum.

Through well-crafted lessons, expert online instruction and interaction with your tutor, participants in these courses gain valuable knowledge at their convenience. They have the flexibility to study at their own pace combined with enough structure and support to complete the course. And they can access the classroom 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection.

New sessions of each course run every month. They last six weeks, with two new lessons being released weekly (for a total of 12). The courses are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and assignments. A dedicated professional instructor facilitates every course; pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback, and facilitating discussions.

About this Course

Learn The Techniques You Need To Know To Become a Best Selling Mystery Author

Mystery Writing begins by introducing the four story types and then explains how they relate to mysteries. It then reveals the three-act story structure, which is any story's key to success. Next, it shows you how to propel the action forward to a climax, followed by a catharsis in which your readers feel the release of tension that accompanies a great finish.

The difference between story and plot is one of the most important distinctions in fiction writing--and one that many professional authors don't fully understand. But you will have mastered it by the end of this course. You'll also get a chance to experiment with viewpoints and see which one works best for your mystery. And you'll write a complete scene from your story and learn the internal structure that makes every scene feel right.

Finally, you'll delve into the special techniques that apply to mysteries, including crime scene description, MacGuffins, and the use of red herrings to misdirect your readers and create suspense.

Examples from real mystery novels will show these techniques in action. Then, following each lesson, you'll get to practice on your own story. And when you have questions or insights to share, you can join your instructor and classmates in a dynamic, interactive discussion area.

This information-packed online course combines the best advice of many writing professionals, tempered with the instructor's own experiences as a mystery writer. Follow the guidelines taught in this course, and you'll be well on your way to writing a successful mystery of your very own!

Course Fast Facts:

  • Only 6 weeks to complete this course
  • Approximately only 2 to 4 hours per week of study is required
  • This course is delivered 100% on-line and is accessible 24/7 from any computer or smartphone
  • Instructors lead each course and you will be able to interact with them and ask questions
  • You can study from home or at work at your own pace in your own time
  • You can download printer friendly course material or save for viewing off line
  • You will be awarded a certificate at completion of this course

How to study online course?

Upon enrolment an automated welcome email will be sent to you (please check your junk email inbox if not received as this is an automated email), in order for you to access your online course, which is Available 24/7 on any computer or smart mobile device. New courses start every month to ensure that we have the correct ratio of students to tutors available, please ensure you select a starting date when you go through our shopping cart, at checkout. The course is easy to follow and understand.

Recognition & Accreditation

All students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion with a passing score (for the online assessment) and will be issued a certificate via email.

 

There are 12 units of study

The Four Story Types

You're probably wondering if you can really write a novel or screenplay. You may have already started one—maybe even several—and then run out of steam. In this first lesson, you'll begin finding out the secret that guarantees success. It's the secret of knowing where you're going before you start. We'll also take some time today to discuss what makes a mystery great, and to explore a number of real-world examples.

Plot vs. Story

Did you know that there's a big difference between story and plot? Amazingly, even many professional authors are confused about this. Today you'll learn that plot is physical while story is emotional. Balancing the two is one of the keys to writing fiction that will satisfy your audience.

Passion, Theme, Character, and Premise

This lesson is about the dramatic elements at the heart of every story: passion, theme, character, and premise. Your passion is what drives you to tell your story and the theme is the underlying message it carries. To convey your theme, you create characters that represent it—either positively or negatively. Put these elements together and you've got your premise.

Character

Character is what story is all about. Without a character—and a change in him or her—there can be no story. Today, you'll discover why the best characters are flawed. We'll explore you main character—the protagonist—and the opposing force of the antagonist. And then we'll look at tricks and techniques for creating characters that are memorable.

The Checkpoints of Mystery Story Structuring

In this lesson, we'll explore the structure underlying almost every great story. That's right: Nearly every successful story has the same structure—a structure that virtually guarantees success! Like Sherlock Holmes, we'll examine each element of it under our writer's magnifying glass. Then we'll test our theories against some well-known mysteries. By the end, we'll have solved the mystery of story structure.

Act 1: Hook, Backstory, and Trigger

This is the first of three lessons in which you'll construct your story outline, act-by-act. In Act 1, you'll hook your readers. Then you'll fill them in with some character history called backstory. Finally, you'll exit Act 1 with a bang by triggering a traumatic event in the life of your protagonist.

Act 2: Crisis, Struggle, and Epiphany

Today, we work on Act 2 of your mystery. If Act 1 ended with a bang, Act 2 starts with a whimper. Your protagonist begins in crisis—an emotional state brought on by his or her flaw. And because of that flaw, your protagonist will struggle throughout the act as the antagonist deals setback after setback. Fortunately, at the conclusion of Act 2, your protagonist finally figures out the source of all this emotional distress and overcomes it.

Act 3: Plan, Climax, and Ending

The epiphany that ended Act 2 has prepared your protagonist for triumph in Act 3. So it's time to devise a plan. The result will be a final confrontation with the antagonist. This lesson looks at the best way to defeat the antagonist—it's not what you might guess. Then, with that dramatic climax behind you, you'll be ready to tie up all your story's loose threads in the ending.

The Story Outline

We've accomplished a lot and you've gotten pretty comfortable with story structure. This is the lesson where we put it all together. We're going to move from story idea, to story outline, to developing scenes. From these little seeds, we're about to grow a forest.

Scene and Sequel

In this lesson, we'll unravel the internal structure of every piece of fiction you've ever read. This is different from story structure and it's something I bet you never even knew existed. It's calledscene and sequel. After today, you'll never forget it.

Viewpoint

One of the most important choices an author makes is viewpoint. It affects every aspect of story—from theme, to pacing, to suspense. Today we'll look at the three most common viewpoints: third person omniscient, third person limited, and first person. We'll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each by considering examples from real-word mystery novels.

The Mystery

Much of what we've talked about in this course applies to all types of fiction, not just mysteries. So, in learning how to write a great mystery, you've also been learning to be a better writer in all genres. But in this final lesson, we'll examine some elements unique to mystery writing. Then we'll wrap up with ideas about how to follow the roadmap you've created and actually reach your goal of a finished novel or screenplay.

Entry requirements

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Computer requirements

Students will need access to a computer and the internet.

Minimum specifications for the computer are:

Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

MAC/iOS

  • OSX/iOS 6 or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

All systems

  • Internet bandwidth of 1Mb or faster
  • Flash player or a browser with HTML5 video capabilities(Currently Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

Students will also need access the following applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Every person considering writing any type of fiction should take this course with Steve Alcorn. It contained concise information, writing assignments and quizzes, as well as comprehensive review by the instructor. Mr. Alcorn was in his classroom available for instruction and assistance when it was 2:00 a.m. and I was in my pajamas! The class was strikingly beneficial, fun and up-to-the-minute with instructional responses. He has my highest recommendation.

During the course I wrote a mystery using your guidelines. I finished it last week and sent off a query letter. The publisher has requested the complete manuscript!

Having this course being taught by a published author was immensely valuable. It is great to be taught by someone who has the success and experience, yet can still relate to us beginners and cares that we are successful too. Wonderful!!

I have a novel coming out in June 2007 (thanks to Steve's help), and a mystery in the hands of another publisher, a mystery that never would have been written without his help. I wanted to say thank you.

I really enjoyed taking this course. Steve is excellent. He knows his subject. When I had difficulty grasping a topic, he gave good examples that helped me understand the point he was trying to make. I recommend this course to everyone who has an interest in/or aspires to write mysteries.

Steve Alcorn is an amazing teacher. I took his Advanced Fiction Writing and Mystery Writing courses, in that order, and I learned more in his courses than I did as a creative writing major at an outstanding university. This is by far the best way to learn, and you're learning from a real pro. Thank you Steve - I am working on my mystery and plan to get a book proposal out there within a few months.

Thanks Steve, you're the best! You're a great role model for all of us who dream of being a writer whose readers just can't wait for us to write another best seller! I enjoyed your sense of humor, guidance and best of all your knowledge of the craft, which is without peer. Thanks again for all your encouragement -- it made a big difference.

You know what I liked about your course? My entire home library of books on writing TOLD ME WHAT I needed to do in order to write a book. You SHOWED ME HOW to do it. Thanks a million.

You may be interested to learn that during the course, I developed a novel. Shortly after completing the course, I finished work on the book and submitted it. It has been accepted by a publisher!! Very helpful course.

Run; do not walk, to sign on for Steve's classes. This is the best writing class I ever took, exceeding a college curriculum.

Through well-crafted lessons, expert online instruction and interaction with your tutor, participants in these courses gain valuable knowledge at their convenience. They have the flexibility to study at their own pace combined with enough structure and support to complete the course. And they can access the classroom 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection.

New sessions of each course run every month. They last six weeks, with two new lessons being released weekly (for a total of 12). The courses are entirely Web-based with comprehensive lessons, quizzes, and assignments. A dedicated professional instructor facilitates every course; pacing learners, answering questions, giving feedback, and facilitating discussions.

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Now Only AU$299 Save AU$301 (50%)
OFF RRP AU$600
Delivery Method Online
Get Info Pack

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Course Summary

Course ID No.: 007MYS
Delivery Mode: Online
Course Access: 6 Weeks
Tutor Support: Yes
Time required: 24 Hours
Assessments: Yes
Qualification: Certificate of Completion

Start Dates

This course is available to begin on the following dates

  • 17 July
  • 14 August
  • 11 September
  • 16 October

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