Monday, July 9, 2012

Brave Writer Fan Fiction Class Starts TODAY!

Today marks the beginning of the four-week Brave Writer Fan Fiction Class, a first for Brave Writer. I have been writing fan fiction for over 18 months now, and I'm up to nearly 1.3 million "reads" (hits) on my two novels (one still in progress) and three short stories on two websites, and Fan

From my proposal for the Fan Fiction Class:

The writing of fan fiction has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the vast majority of the writers and readers in this genre of fiction are teenagers. So it seemed fitting that Brave Writer should offer a class in this growing genre of fiction writing.
Writing fan fiction involves the creation of stories and books around already existing characters from a previously published work of literature or other art form. Obviously, this type of story can not be published for profit as the characters belong to the original author; however, students can learn a great deal about the fiction writing process from writing fan fiction.
The most popular works of fan fiction involve the characters from the Harry Potter series, the Twilight books, and the Hunger Games trilogy. However, a great deal of fan fiction is also written from the works of Jane Austen as well as past and current television shows and movies. Really, almost any book, television program, or movie can be the basis of a fan fiction story.

In fact, fan fiction went mainstream in late 2011 with the publication of P. D. James' Austen fan fiction entitled Death Comes to Pemberley. In this recent novel by one of the most well-known mystery writers in Great Britain, the character of Wickham is accused of murder, forcing Elizabeth and Darcy into the awkward position of having to prove his innocence. Because Jane Austen's works are no longer under copyright, Ms. James was able to publish this work of fan fiction for publication and profit.
The advantage of writing fan fiction is that the characters are already familiar to both the writers and most likely to the readers; therefore, young writers can concentrate on manipulating the plot as they are already familiar with the characters and settings. Young writers can thus focus on plot development especially as they construct their stories.

In this class, Susanne Barrett, author of two fan fiction novels and several short-story length works on and, will lead students in the creation of a short work of fan fiction. Susanne's works of fan fiction have garnered nearly a million “reads” (hits) on these websites; in addition, her Master of Arts in English Literature and her ten years of experience at Brave Writer make her uniquely well-suited for teaching this new course.
By the end of this class, students will have created a story worthy of publication on one of the several websites devoted to fan fiction, if desired.

Tentative Class Schedule:
Week One: Discussion of definition of fan fiction and which authors have requested their works to not be the subject of this genre. Examination of fan fiction story examples. Free writing exercise to determine topic/work of fan fiction to be written.

Week Two: Character study exercise to aid in developing already established characters. Plot exercise/assignment to study the elements of plot in preparation for plotting the story. Discussion and writing of a plot outline for the story.

Week Three: Writing of first draft of fan fiction story.
Week Four: Peer evaluation of first drafts of fan fiction stories. Revision and editing of first drafts. Posting (and possible online publication, with parental permission) of final fan fiction stories. 

Note: More exercises may be added to the first two weeks of class as needed to aid students in creating the best quality fan fiction stories possible. 

So if you're interested in enrolling a student in the Fan Fiction course at Brave Writer, act now as today is the first day of the class and we have a few openings remaining!

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A New Job Position at Brave Writer!

I've been working at Brave Writer for ten of the twelve-plus years that the company, the brainchild of Julie Bogart, has existed. I started with teaching an online poetry class and with writing the monthly language arts subscriptions. This past school year I taught eight courses: Literary Analysis: Anne of Green Gables, MLA Research Essay, Groovy Grammar Workshop, Playing with Poetry Workshop, Literary Analysis: Little Women, Literary Analysis: Merchant of Venice, and Shakespeare Family Workshop. Whew!! The fall wasn't too bad, but I taught straight through from January 3-June 15. It was crazy but fun. 

I'm also teaching a summer course at Brave Writer in writing Fan Fiction (class #8 for the 2011-2012 school year) which starts next Monday, July 9 and runs for four weeks. It will be fun to explore writing stories based on already-existing characters, from Jane Austen to The Hunger Games. Fan Fiction writing is especially helpful in luring reluctant writers to the keyboard as they create new adventures for their favorite video game, movie, TV, or book characters while they absorb basic story structure which will assist them when they approach literary analysis as high school students. Plus...they're actually writing during summer break!! Yes, Virginia, miracles can happen!! ;)

Recently Julie offered me a new position that will be of greater assistance to her in the running and expansion of Brave Writer. I signed the contract and mailed it back on Friday, so we're ON!! My new title is Senior Teacher, Staff Writer, and Curriculum Developer. Pretty cool, eh?

I'll be working with the language arts subscriptions again; Julie now has three: The Wand (grades 1-3), The Arrow (grades 4-6), and The Boomerang (grades 7-9+). We used to have The Slingshot (grades 10-12), but there just wasn't that much call for subscriptions for high schoolers; they prefer the interactivity of discussions, so Julie has added a Boomerang Discussion Group, plus we'll be offering several literary analysis courses this year as well.

I'll also be helping with new staff hires (probably at a later date), with creating a "staff handbook" of sorts to keep all the online classes organized similarly, with creating and editing curricula, with some information for the website, etc. Teaching classes will still be a large portion of my work; I'll be teaching six courses (one in the fall, three in winter, two in spring), then possibly a seventh class in Fan Fiction again if this summer class starting next week does well. I'm to be working twenty hours a week with teaching always being the first priority.

So I'm really excited about this new position at Brave Writer--no more freelancing!!! And I'm also looking forward to teaching the following courses in the 2012-2013 school year:

MLA Research Essay
Groovy Grammar Workshop
Playing with Poetry Workshop
Literary Analysis: The Importance of Being Earnest
Literary Analysis: Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare Family Workshop
possibly...Fan Fiction in summer 2013

Please do feel free to check out all that's going on at Brave Writer by clicking the bolded, colored words or by typing in

Writing bravely with you,