How to write novels | Shane Kluiter | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Creative writing course intro

      1:15
    • 2. Creative writing course Characters

      7:27
    • 3. Creative writing course Your World

      4:01
    • 4. Creative writing course plot

      7:02
    • 5. Creative writing course original

      2:15
    • 6. Creative writing course Writing about what you don't know about

      5:28
    • 7. Creative writing course how to get better at writing

      2:46
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About This Class

In this course you will learn about character development, world building, and structuring a plot. This course is designed to give your writing a strong foundation and includes tips for writing a Novel as well as how to create Short Fiction and Flash Fiction.

This course is full of:

  • Time tested story telling techniques used by literary greats like, J. R. R. Tolken and Brandon Sanderson

  • Examples from popular books and movies that are used a helpful examples to give a greater impact to the learning

  • Practical writing tips and advice to take you on an unforgettable creative journey toward becoming an exceptional fiction writer

  • Examples of how to write fiction

What do all great writers have in common? 

They read and they write daily. It's a habit. That's how you polish your craft.

Is this course for you?

  • If you have been trying to figure out how some writers can consistently structure plots that hook readers and keep them interested for hundreds of pages, this course is for you.

  • Do you have a story in you aching to get out?

  • Do you have an idea of what you want to do but struggle with execution? 

  • Do you feel like you are right there, almost ready to be successful at writing but you just need 1 more push into the space?

  • Are you ready to write your first novel?

Meet Your Teacher

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Shane Kluiter

Knowledge is Power

Teacher

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Transcripts

1. Creative writing course intro: storytelling is one of the ancient human traditions. Our ancestors were gathered around fires, sharing stories with each other. They and out history, life lessons, general principles that we wanted. Future generations toe learn. And remember, in this course, we're gonna learn about writing earlier about basic plotting, skills, structure and the mindset that you need to push through and really finish a novel. Because it's a huge undertaking you have before you. We're gonna specifically look at how to create stories and 100 stories based on time proven principles that will allow us to create something people actually want to read and engage with something that gives us that, um, that sense of fulfillment and completeness in a story. I've written over seven books and network with dozens of authors online to gather information to help set up a course that will help you better understand and better utilize your time around writing a book so you can write faster and write more effectively 2. Creative writing course Characters: first, let's talk about characters. Who is your story about? Why should we care about them? It's a very important thing to think about when you're making a character, especially one of your main characters. You know why? Why are they engaging? Just having somebody who woke up one morning and stuff started happening at the action happened and they found a sword and they defeated a demon and it saved the day. That's not engaging. That's not a human. That's not someone you want to remember. It's not somebody you feel is realistic. When we're making characters, they want them to be realistic. We want to ask yourself, Is this someone I could see being really, Characters have flaws. There are three things that you can dio, who will help readers connect with your characters. You can make them relatable or seemingly very ordinary when we meet them, and then they go from change because people change. They face hardship. They overcome it, they grow stagnant. Characters are generally not very interesting. You can give your character flaw and imperfection something that holds them back or something that isn't what we would imagine in a perfect person, because we're not perfect. Your average person can't be perfect. No one in the world can be perfect. So why would we expect a character to be? The characters are perfect. It makes it hard to connect with them. But when they fail and that's 1/3 that we have characters that have the ability to fail, we see them fail. We don't just know that they failed in the past. We know that they have flaws. We know that they're ordinary people with a history in the past, the relatable, we see them fail. The character can respond to that, and the character can grow from that in, the character can know that it's there's something at stake, and your reader knows there's something at stake for the character because we've seen them fail. And once we've established the character and fail, it makes it so that in the future that character could fail again. So we don't know if they're always going to be successful. And that adds suspense to our stories. That adds wonder towards the future. No one wants to read about someone who has never lost. Where is the sense of wonder? Where's the excitement? It's gone I often ask myself if characters are weak or if they seem unrealistic, our character is too strong. Are they breezing through certain circumstances which don't make sense? Do I have a small person who somehow just be up 10 large people or 10 big monsters without any things special happening that caused it? He didn't think of something interesting in a way that just feed them. Did he just pick up a sword and then poof. He did it like I'm imagining it in my backyard and playing with a stick when I was a boy because it's not realistic and it's hard to connect with. It's hard to believe it's easier to make believable characters when they're human. By human, I mean there positives and negatives. They may have anger issues. Perhaps they have a drug abuse problem, things that don't affect the main story but add to the character development along the way . But not everyone needs a sad background. If we look at life, everyone has problems. Everyone faces hardship, the rich, the poor, the healthy, the sick. We all have our crucible having problems at steps to a character having connection with other people, adds layers to that character. The mention of the characters family, friends, even if not all of them are shown gives the feeling of a bigger world. Our character doesn't exist inside a bubble. They're not just popped into existence to go off on a journey they came from somewhere. They're going to go somewhere after the story and through their lives. They've built a whole tree of connections should more than no more than just the people essential tool story. And that can come in this simple as a character, passively mentioning that their father used to do X, y and Z when they were a kid, implying they had a memory with them or an uncle or a friend. Someone you don't meet in the story. It doesn't have to be huge. It's not a big part of the story. It's a small moment of characterization. The adds a layer. Characters need hopes and dreams. They need to be people. If you take a look at the ancient stories of Greek mythology, uh, as a great example, you take a look at Zeus. Zeus is like the greatest of all the gods. Jesus has a sex problem. He made babies with everyone. Every God in their pantheon has stories and flaws. Older, great gods, very human. They're still interesting today because they were so human because they had flaws because they could fail. Zeus got into trouble constantly because of his problems because of his flaws. And it caused other gods and other Demi gods Siris of problems that created the great stories. Hercules, for instance, caused by that oftentimes characters can change. A character undergoes a change of belief, and that can make for a powerful or where they realize their worldview is wrong. Maybe you lead up midway through the story of the character realizes what they had believed was the right thing to do. The whole time actually would do more harm than good, and when they realize that they change in the direction changes. I hope this helps with character development and building a deeper connection to your characters. 3. Creative writing course Your World: this video. Let's talk about you're setting your world so very much like your character. You want to think of your world is something with age, you know, this is the place where everything happens. There are things that are happening in your world. Your character is affected by may not necessarily see. They will hear about things that may be happening off in the distance or in other cities or other places. They don't have to see everything when they go places. They can go to places with history, and they can interact with that history and it gives depth to your world. This is where your characters experienced terrible perils and see victory over impossible odds. It can't be boring your world stagnant. Did your world change? Or do only the characters change? Imagine having a world that never changes in characters that were always the same. It wouldn't be enjoyable. As the world changes, you can show the characters response. Sometimes the world changing is the main catalyst of a story. These are questions I ask myself when reading or writing or watching a movie. Some worlds don't need to change, but need to have a judge in many cases, the world's do change. Or rather, they should change as a result of the actions of the characters, because that makes it riel. Sometimes your characters will change as the world acts upon them. Maybe there's a tornado or a drought. World is acting upon the characters, creating a situation, putting a pressure on them. Maybe two cities have decided to go to war with each other, and your character isn't involved in it. He's off on another quest, doing something else. But he can passively see parts of the battle or the impacts of these two cities. Going toe War has caused him to have to take an alternative route to where he needs to go, to get the item that will unlock the door to get into the cavern, to face the final dragon, to get the ring that will allow him to save the princess. But because of this war, he can't just go through the forest. He has to go over or around a nearby mountain range because the forest is no longer safe. Because of these warring parties attacking each other there, it would be better for the character and safer to go around your world is a character and still to be developed like one. Your world is all of the things. It's the plants. It's the ground. It's the weather. It feels riel. When you add those details when it's always a sunny day or the weather isn't literally never mentioned, it can't feel riel because you don't have that feeling that there is weather. But when things change, when curator's wake up in the morning and there's do and at noon it's hot in the air is now dry or when it rains. And the characters talk about how it had been so dry, and it's good that it finally rained in passing as they travel to their next location. That adds depth to the world that gives you a history of the world that makes the world feel real, gives life 4. Creative writing course plot: strong story builds up to a climax and creates a payoff both for the reader and for the characters. You got to be some very real threat of some very real problem in the story you're working against. Her characters are competing with, or a struggle they're trying to overcome personally, something we don't want to see happen or something we do want to see happen that we're not sure if it can't Maybe something's happening that we want to see stopped. But first we need a setting. Then we need to introduce our characters within this setting. Then we have to make the reader believe that this really could happen. It's very easy to write an unbelievable character or an unbelievable plot in Korea plot without failure. It's a It's something that a lot of writers do by accident because they create Avery Linear plot. Where Hero finds a problem, Hero goes to solve the problem. Hero successfully solves it. But if you look at stories, it's not usually what happens, and the stories that we like as a species. We like stories where the hero goes and they fail, the hero goes and they fail and then they find a way to overcome it, and then they find success. The middle of a story is really where the characters should struggle. It's where the characters should almost come close to finding a victory and in many times in the middle of story care. Cruel. Finally, just want ready. They weren't ready for that victory. They need to lose and suffer a little bit. So I confined victory. Then victory will be all the sweeter. The end of the story is where we see the resolution of the problem. It's where we see the culmination of everything. That's where we've overcome and we see the aftermath of it. Sure don't just end when the problem goes away. Harry Potter didn't just kill Voldemort than last page done. There's some fallout. Lord of the Rings. They didn't. Finally, defeats are on, and then everybody was gone by the next page, didn't flip turn the page and has done the whole falling action, and it adds to the story. It makes it feel real. You've completed the main objective, but what affected that have? That's the payoff. When we look at organizing our plot, we're looking organizing our plot. One easy way to organize the story is to break it down with the very commonly used formula . And that is 10% 25% 50% 75%. And then at 100%. These air points in the story, right? So if we had a 10,000 word story at the 1000 word 10000.10% and we would have an opportunity, right, we have introduced the character of the world. Maybe they've done something, but at this point, the character has an opportunity. What do they have to gain at this point? They're spent. There has to be something happening in the story where we know the character could get something or could achieve something or struggle towards a goal. There's a direction starting to form. They started on some form of path, and then 25% of the way into your story, there's some kind of a complication. Something's stopping your protagonist and evil, which are storm a demon. Maybe it's just bad luck. Something happened. Something sets them back. Something gets in the way. Next quarter of your story, they struggle with us. They try to find a way through it, and they get to the point of halfway through your story where there's a turn, they decide to overcome this. There they found a way they think is going to work, and they struggle towards the completion of their task. Then we go through another 25% of our story, where we get to the point where they've almost one. Yet they fail now worse than they have failed in any other time in the story, and it almost looks like the protagonists will be defeated. Maybe they're done for action falls and then rises again for the last quarter of your story , where the protagonist fines victory in their end and the heroine's mission is accomplished . This is a smoothing out of the story process. Obviously, there's more points within your story. However, these air main points that you can time out kind of with how long you want the novel to be , or how structures you want story to be and as a smoother read to the story. Obviously, when you're doing this generalized version of a story line, you're not going to go in and say, Well, on 50 pages into 101 story, I want to be 100. I need to do a turning point directly here. It's a relative percentage should be around. They're they're just good points to aim at, UM, 10 pages into 100 page story. You don't need to force an opportunity. It could happen a little sooner. It's just around that 10% markets where you'd want toe have that starting to happen for the flow of your story to make it engaging throughout. It's always a horn to remember if you can remove a part of the book and the plot still works that you probably didn't need that part. Don't waste your time. And don't waste your readers time with events that don't contribute to the story and drag out long points that just disrupt the flow. 5. Creative writing course original: great in this lesson. We're gonna talk. Oh, originality. You know, it's it's something that a lot of writers struggle with is the fear of not being original. And that's something that really it comes from deep inside, where we we tell ourselves. No, I have to be original. I have two unique. I have to create something new that no one's ever seen. But every store idea you can think of has been done some shape or form already. Every idea you have is not unique. The idea of uniqueness is something that itself is relatively fictional, especially think about just the number of people in the world. What you can do that would be different is stop worrying about being different. Stop worrying about trying to create something that's uniquely different instead of that, just worry about creating something that is good. Someone could read your story and say, Wow, this is basically lower the rings and to them maybe it is because they were looking for specific parts that were similar to one of their favorite stories, which is Lord of the Rings, which is why they would make that connection. But in reality, maybe you've never even read floor the rings. People see what they look for. And if you look for creating a story that's truly unique, you will end up actually looking for ways that it is not unique and you will hold yourself back. You will reduce the amount of time you were working on it and you will struggle. He will stress out over things that are not important. The best thing you can do for your writing is to just sit down and write. The more you create, the better you will get unless you will worry about accidentally not being unique. 6. Creative writing course Writing about what you don't know about: talk about writing about things we don't know about. So when researching how to write fiction, you likely have found things saying, Write what? You know This statement comes up often. Stephen King's had made books about how to write short stories and all of his stories. Well, not all a lot of thumb have writers right there. The main characters, the books are in print right around in Maine, where he lived. You know, um, these are examples of being successful writing what you know. But you seem King writes about things he does were in information driven society. We all have the unique opportunity, toe learn and no more. You may have never built a house or even owned a home, but maybe you have a plot that really depends on a character having a problem within their home that they're building. And that drives a story when there's a problem in the house that I already have a pipe burst. This finds something. They find something in the wall, and then the after a parent. This is something you've never done, but you can find the information for it. You can do research. You can find a YouTube video about somebody repairing a wall or tearing down a wall. You can write about that. You can visualize that you can learn more about it. So it sounds really sounds like the characters actually doing it. Sounds like the character knows what they're doing. It implies knowledge when you write about it. Most task benefit from a 10,000 foot view instead of a highly detailed explanation, especially with something as boring. It's like preparing a wall, but adding a little details. Make it feel real. Personally, I really like learning about serial killers, animal psychology, history. So when I write, I pull a lot of that kind of knowledge outright, especially where it like, or if I need a deep dive into addiction and the effects of withdrawals in the body treatment of addiction, I can research it. I can do a quick look and see articles say about it. I look at interviews with addicts. It only takes a few minutes to really do that and kind of emulate that and transferred into my writing. There's thousands of articles about everything I like. One of the worst things people can do is have a character who's supposed to. I know a lot about a search matter or being expert and have that character in the story when they know nothing about it over there looking toe, learn nothing about it. If you have a character who's an expert than they need to know if that character needs to know to an extent you need to know. For example, you might have a soldier's when your main characters a soldier who just fires a gun and some generic way is not a lot of detail. Instead, that gun could be under 15 and this is how it's reloaded, and this is how it's clean. And this is why that's the gun that he uses. And he keeps this gun because he's been through some circumstance with this gun. Details that add to the world details that add to that characters expertise, Right? Maybe you the character with a sword and they do the same thing. Maybe you have a character who is a writer, and he writes everything by hand because he prefers that way, and he uses the same panning. It's refillable Inc for it because he's a type of character who has that have personality where they want to use the same item for as long as possible and their conscientious about it, and they refill it because it's more environmentally friendly and that's important to them . And it might not be important to you, but you can find people who it is important to, and you can ask them how they do it and how they manage. See it online, and it doesn't take very long to do, and you can emulate that. Your story and that makes your character is more real. We make up an item. Were a gun or a box or some mythical object or whatever you need, you could make up glasses there special on Do Something in your sci fi world, adding believable details make that fictional item feel real. So far, Phaser Gun might have some similar parts to it that current guns have right, and you could use the terminology for those who should make the phaser gun seemed like more of a real thing. Your fantasy. Laval might have a great back story, but lacking interesting world by looking to the history of regions, you can see how that kind of plays out in our world in the past, and you could take just that. History rode into another world and have it happening in the background by changing names and changing a few events a little bit. But the basic history is still just something that happened in Europe in the 14 hundreds, and no one would know the wiser. And it's happening in the backrooms. It doesn't matter. It just adds a layer. The War of Roses is cited as the inspiration for a song of ice and fire. Red Wedding is based off of a real event. Use things that you know. If you don't know things, learn enough to talk about them. 7. Creative writing course how to get better at writing: How do you get better writing you reading, right? It's actually it's It's this. It's that simple. You read books, you learn how other writers described things. You learn how they structure things. When you write, you exercise your creative muscles. I am to write 1500 words a day when I thought Sure short. I always make sure at least 1000 words a day, even if it's just garbage and then I end up throwing away. I'm used to putting that out. Put out. I'm used to making that a priority in my day, and sometimes it only takes 45 minutes to do it. But that's my time that I set aside for me and I get more done that way, and I home that skill. We all friends at one write books. I personally written three that I'll never publishes because the first works are total remission. I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote them in the first place. Get seven books that are under a variety of pen names, some trying different marketing tactics, but I would never have written seven books is I hadn't written the 1st 3 that I never published, I wouldn't have had the skills of the persistence needed to finish them. The first time you play basketball, you want good at it. First time you did anything you won't get at it. First book you write could be off. And that's okay. None of what you write needs to be the first time you write it. You can rewrite things, but writing every day will make you of much better. Writer. They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Writing for one hour a day would take you 30 years to become an expert. Maybe I'll take us time. Maybe you don't want to be expert still writing only once or twice a week for 10 or 15 minutes, it's not gonna get a book finished. Good writing takes consistency. Just like any other skill people strive to be good at. Thank you for time being the time to go through this course. I appreciate your, um, being a student, and I hope this course was very helpful to you. Attached to the course is a list of writing prompts, and I I hope you take Samuel through this