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Writing Fiction

Course CodeBWR105
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Become The Fiction Writing You Dream of Being

Good fiction has a strong plot or story line, believable and interesting characters, a unifying theme, and holds the reader's attention. Whether you want to write novels or short stories, this course will give you valuable writing tools, such as the ability to plan and critically appraise your work to achieve the effect you want.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. Thank you for making it available".  S. Cooke, Writing Fiction graduate. 

Do this course and you could be:

  • Writing a novel
  • Writing stories
  • Writing science fiction
  • Expanding your creative fiction writing
  • Writing short fiction and much more.


Becoming a fiction writer - what you need to know

Fiction is writing that encompasses imaginary yet believable characters, events, and environ ments, but can also include real places and events. A good fiction writer can skillfully weave fantasy and reality, or create a world that is wholly imagined yet feels real.  If you want to write fiction, this is the course for you. 

Quotes from Graduates:

"Having a (tutor) who is able to critique my work was essential. I needed to know where my strengths and weaknesses lie. An informed and knowledgeable tutor helps a lot". Wendy

"I found the course to be extremely helpful. It has given me the confidence and skills to present my work to publishers."
- Dilys

"I commenced the Creative Writing Course with the ACS having had no prior experience in this field whatsoever.
Having always been in accounting or payroll jobs, I decided to give the course a go.The course demonstrated to me what I enjoyed writing about, the types of writing I was good at, and not so good at. It broadened my horizon to show me what was out there to write about. It gave me knowledge and confidence. I have continued to write, and in the future want to commence with the next course, but in the meantime, I have submitted various articles of mine to some magazines and have had nothing but positive feedback from all the editors and some of my work is to be published!! Which I personally feel is fantastic as I have only been doing this for a year or so. Thank you for opening up a whole new world of creativity to me which I can only enhance upon!!"
- Jo


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Fiction
    • Elements
    • Types of Fiction (Category/genre and Mainstream)
    • Characteristics of Category Fiction (strong plot, hero/heroine, motivation. Action, background/setting)
    • Characteristics of Mainstream Fiction (Strong plot, Action or intrigue, hero, heroine, romance, happy ending)
    • Book, play or short story
    • Categories (Fantasy, fairy tale, fable, myth, legend, science fiction, western, drama, romance, comedy, horror, crime, suspense, erotica)
    • Getting an Idea (using a fragment, philosophical approach, develop from a title or opening sentence)
    • Back story
    • Types of writing
    • Theme development
    • Write an Analogy
    • Writing a Balanced Theme
    • Are You Suited to Writing Fiction ; Imagination, Being Informed, Human Behaviour
    • Importance of Focus
  2. Components of a Story
    • Story Components
    • Story Structure
    • Theme
    • Plot
    • Characterisation
    • Settings
    • Developing your own Style
    • Aspects of Style.
    • Case Study
  3. Technique
    • Conception (Characters, Settings, Events)
    • Write a Synopsis
    • Developing a Story
    • Examples of Plot Structure
    • Method Writing (Developing characters, changing characters, Appropriateness of characters, Revealing characters through crisis, names, stereotypes, creating dynamic characters)
    • Writing a Draft
    • Editing and Rewriting.
  4. Conception and Research
    • Conceiving a Story
    • Parts of Conception
    • Making conception original
    • Types of research (Primary and secondary data)
    • Planning a formal survey
  5. Drama
    • Writing a Dramatic Story
    • Common mistakes
    • Time Shifting
    • Transition between events
    • Dramatic conflict
    • Motivation
    • Dialogue
    • Point of View.
    • Representing Characters Speech
  6. Fantasy
    • Science Fiction
    • Methods to develop Sci Fi
    • Fairy Tales.
  7. The Short Story
    • Characteristics of Short Stories.
    • Length in terms of: the time frame; the number of characters; the number of events; the number of settings
    • Common Problems with Short story Writers
  8. The Novel
    • Guidelines
    • Planning a Novel
    • Making a story Endure (Archetypes, etc)
    • Tips
    • Getting Started
    • Submitting a Manuscript.
    • Which Publisher

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the nature and scope of fiction writing.
  • Determine the components of a fiction story, as the first step in planning a story.
  • Determine a systematic approach to building a fiction story.
  • Develop your capacity to conceive fiction stories.
  • Develop your ability to write dramatic stories.
  • Develop your ability to write fantasy
  • Develop your ability to write short stories
  • Develop your ability to plan for success in the writing of a novel.

There are traditionally main two types of fiction:

Also referred to as ‘genre’. Genre writing is usually classified according to its overriding theme or setting (eg. science fiction, westerns, adventure, historical, romance, erotica, mystery, suspense, fantasy and war stories).

These stories are aimed at the widest possible audience. They can deal with most aspects of modern life including relationships, careers, and the search for success and fulfilment. Popular mainstream writers include Jeffrey Archer, Jackie Collins, Colleen McCullough and James Michener.



There are four main types of writing. All writing falls into one of those groups:


  • Its purpose is to explain something to the reader. Generally facts are presented then analysed.


  • Its purpose is to persuade the reader.


  • Its purpose is to create an impression of something.


  • Its purpose is to tell a story.



The following outlines depict several ways a theme can be developed:

  • Deductive    Used where there are two or more things to be discussed. The main idea of the writing is revealed early, and other things which relate to it are discussed as the work progresses.
  • Inductive     Here the main idea is saved till the end of the writing. Everything written about throughout the piece leads to a conclusion, a moral or some type of revelation at the end.
  • Classic      Combines both deductive and inductive. There is discussion around a theme throughout the passage, but still a major conclusion or revelation at the end.
  • Chronological     The writing develops in order of a time framework. That which occurs first is discussed first, that which occurred last is discussed last.
  • Descriptive      The passage gives a strong impression of that which is described.

  • How to do something      If you are an expert in the subject you are writing about, you can write along the lines of "How To". If you are not an expert, you are better to write "How it is done".


  • Analogy      This is where comparisons are made between two things.
  • Argument      An argument can be dangerous. It is important to remember that there are always opposing views which are virtually impossible to change. Your best option is to present the facts, and then tell the reader to draw their own conclusions.

  • Balanced      Here the first half of the work will inevitably lead to the second half.
  • Cause and effect      The results (effect) of some event, action or idea are shown.
  • Classification      Here you show how something or group of things are classified.
  • Definition, Analysis    Used to classify, categorise or explain confusing things.
  • Comparison and contrast    Here both similarities and differences between things are shown.
  • Summary   Reviewing something in a shorter version.
  • Flashback   Looking into the past.
  • Evolution of narrative    A new form of narrative is beginning to develop as a result of seminal cinematic works such as Pulp Fiction. This film approaches narrative in a completely different way to the traditional, subverting the chronology of the tale so completely that it is impossible to define which part of the story is ‘now’ and which part is happening in flashback or flash forward. This is just one example of the ways it is possible to depart from traditional approaches to achieve a particular effect.

Good fiction has a strong plot or story line.

It is believable and interesting characters, a unifying theme, and holds the reader's attention. Whether you want to write novels or short stories, this course will give you valuable writing tools, such as the ability to plan and critically appraise your work to achieve the effect you want.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. Thank you for making it available".  S. Cooke, Writing Fiction graduate. 



This course is a great start for the aspiring writer - it will enhance your confidence through tutor support and encouragement.

  • It is a great introduction to work shopping your work - gain great insights and informative critiques.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Improves writing skills and fundamentals involved in the creative writing process.
  • Well-suited to writers wanting a better understanding of genres, modes of writing and writing styles

At the end of this course you will:

  • Know the difference between several genres and types of writing
  • Understand key writing concepts such as theme, characterisation, and ideation
  • Understand the common errors and pitfalls in writing, and how to avoid them
  • Understand how to revise and improve your work
  • Understand how to apply good writing practice and theory to create well-written, engaging stories and other creative works
  • Draft a creative piece and develop a plan to move forward with it


Next steps:

Want something more in depth? Learn about our certificates and higher qualifications in writing and journalism here.

Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Journalist, Editor, Broadcaster, Teacher and Consultant for over 30 years. Rosemary is former gardening editor for the Weekly Times (a Weekly Farming Newspaper in Australia); and author of six books in her own right. She has written articles for many magazines across Australia, and has since 2008 worked as a tutor and freelance writer with ACS; contributing to books a range of genres.
Rachel SyersRachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture. Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea. Rachel has a B.Journalism.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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