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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Study Writing to improve your Fiction Writing and realise your dream of being a writer.

Always dreamed of writing a novel, short stories or screen plays? This could be the course for you.
  • Learn to write fiction from our highly experienced tutors.
  • Study in your own time and at your own pace.
  • Develop your creativity with this Fiction Writing course.

Comment from one of our Writing Fiction students:

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

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Improve your fiction writing skills with this great online course.

This course will introduce you to the techniques you need to help you become a great fiction writer.

  • Learn the basics of plot development, characterisation and developing your own style.
  • Study different genres of writing and identify the characteristics that set them apart from each other.
  • Learn how to plan a novel and submit a manuscript.
 Above all, learn how to turn your germ of an idea into a potentially publishable work.
Getting started as a fiction writer

Fiction is writing that includes imaginary characters, events and/or settings created by the writer. In this course you will study various types of fiction writing and learn how to apply various techniques to hone your craft. The course also looks at the nitty gritty of how to go about submitting a manuscript and getting your work published.



There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

1. Scope & Nature of Fiction - Elements of fiction writing, two types of fiction, characteristics of category fiction, characteristics of mainstream fiction, book, play or short story, category stories, getting an idea, backstory, types of writing, theme development, writing an analogy, writing a balanced theme, are you suited for writing, imagination, being informed, human behaviour, the importance of focus, terminology.

2. Components of a Story – beginning, middle and end - Components of a story, what is a story, basic story structure, theme, plot, characterisation, setting, style, aspects of style, a case study of genre - romance.

3. Technique…The Creative Process – conception, developing a plot, systematic approach, the creative process starts with conception, writing a synopsis of the story, developing a story, examples of plot structure, method writing, developing characters, where do characters come from, changing characters, appropriate characters, names, avoiding stereotypes, writing a draft, editing and rewriting, reviewing your draft.  

4. Conception and Research - Conceiving a story, real life observations, start with a fantasy setting, parts of conception, make your conception original, researching for writers, types of research, planning a formal survey.

5. Drama - Writing a dramatic story, common mistakes in writing dramatic stories, time shifting, transition in time between events, changing protagonist, dramatic conflict, motivation, dialogue, points of view, representing character's speech.

6. Fantasy - Writing fantasy, science fiction, points to consider, writing fairy tales.

7. The Short Story - Writing a short story, characteristics of the short story, common problems for short story writers.

8. The Novel  - Writing a novel, planning your novel, what makes a story endure, tips for writing a publishable novel, getting started, submitting a manuscript, which publisher.


  • 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.


Duration: 100 hours


What is Fiction Writing?

Fiction is writing that includes imaginary characters, events and/or settings created by the writer. All of the components of a fictitious story do not necessarily need to be fictitious though:
  • Imaginary characters might be set in a real world setting such as a well known city or a particular country.
  • Characters might be fictitious, but set in a “real” event. For example, you might write about the experiences of a fictitious character during World War II.
  • Real characters may be used for a fictitious story that embraces an imaginary event or setting (eg. a story about William Shakespeare travelling through time; 00or something more realistic, like a summer’s holiday at a fictitious beach resort, taken by a famous historical figure such as Mozart).

Two Types of Fiction

There are traditionally two types of fiction:

Also referred to as ‘genre’, these stories have a distinct theme and as such are easy to categorise. Examples of category or genre fiction are science fiction, westerns, adventure, historical, romance, erotica, mystery, suspense, fantasy and war stories.

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

One aspect of this course involves both factual information geared to developing an understanding of processes. Another major part of this course involves you undertaking practical tasks of writing pieces of your own fiction; and analyzing the writing of other authors.

Fiction is writing that encompases imaginary characters, events and/or settings created by the writer. All of the components of a fictitious story do not necessarily need to be fictitious though:

  • Imaginary characters might be set in a real world setting such as a well known city or a particular country.
  • Characters might be fictitious, but set in a “real” event. For example, you might write about the experiences of a fictitious character during World War II.
  • Real characters may be used for a fictitious story that embraces an imaginary event or setting (eg. a story about William Shakespeare travelling through time; 00or something more realistic, like a summer’s holiday at a fictitious beach resort, taken by a famous historical figure such as Mozart).

What Type of Fiction Interests You?

There are many different types of fiction; and once you learn the principles taught in this course, you should have a foundation to tackle whichever interests you. These categories may include:


The dictionary defines fantasy as “fancy, mental image; caprice; hallucination”.

Fantasy always includes events that are unlikely, if not impossible, in real life. It usually contains unrealistic settings, characters and events.

Fantasy is a broad term that can encompass a range of different categories including fairy tales, myths, fables, science fiction, and others.

Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are fictitious stories that involve romance and legendary deeds, where the characters include fictitious creatures such as fairies, witches, wizards, dragons, gnomes and elves. They are usually, but not always exclusively, written for children.


Fables are stories which teach a moral (i.e. a principle or rule to live by). They often include animals or inanimate objects that are personified. Aesop’s tales (eg The Tortoise and the Hare) are classic examples of fables.


Myths are stories designed to explain a belief, natural event or phenomenon. The word “myth” has evolved in modern times and has come to be associated with things that are not true but it originally derives from the Greek word mythos, which simply means narrative or story. Myths concern extra-ordinary characters (usually heroes or gods) and are usually attempts to explain or interpret natural events in a supernatural way. All cultures and religions have their own mythology, including the Aboriginal “Dreamtime” used to explain creation, the Christian stories of creation and Noah’s ark, and the extensive Greek mythology relating to its various deities and their activities.


Legends are stories passed down through generations of people, which originated so long ago that their truth cannot be verified. They may be partially or fully fictitious, but there is no way to be sure. The main character may often be real (i.e. he/she/it actually existed), and the setting may very well have been real but the tales may have been embellished in the retelling. They sometimes involve elements of the supernatural.

Science Fiction

Science fiction is fantasy that incorporates science or technology into the story. Often the setting is in the future, in space or on another planet; but this does not necessarily need to be the case. Science fiction can be set in the real world, but simply incorporate some “imaginary” elements of science or technology. It can even be set in the past.


Westerns are stories where the setting is in the frontier American west; usually stories about cowboys or cowboys and Indians.


A drama is a story that stirs the emotions. It makes people feel tense at times, and more relaxed at other times; sad on occasions, and happy on other occasions. It is usually an emotional roller coaster.


Romance stories also stir the emotions, but are normally gentler than dramas. They may create the emotional highs and lows of a period, but the overall feeling of the story should be a warm, perhaps calming and satisfying one.


Comedies are designed to make people laugh or at least smile. They can range from slapstick comedy, where the drive is physical conflict (eg a man’s head comes into conflict with a bucket full of paint), right through the black comedy, where subjects that are usually treated in a serious way (eg death) become the source of humour.


Horror stories prey upon universal human fears, such as fear of death, mutilation, monsters etc to give readers the thrill of fear and of exploring the taboo. Originally borne out of primitive fears of the devil and supernatural evil forces, horror stories often revolve around evil entities intruding into everyday life. They are designed to alarm and terrify while simultaneously exciting readers in much the same way as a ride at an amusement park might elicit screams of both terror and excitement. Generally, horror stories end with some kind of catharsis in which a level of normalcy is restored. This could be equated to the experience of a rider safely exiting a rollercoaster at the end of the ride. In this way, horror stories simultaneously unsettle and reassure the reader.


Crime fiction is a genre that covers a broad range of writing, from whodunits through to legal dramas. A branch of crime writing which is growing in popularity is one in which the writers explore the graphic and unsettling elements of violent crime (including lurid descriptions of the corpse, method of dispatch and autopsy scenes). The genre could be considered the horror genre of the contemporary era in the sense that it plays upon modern fears and insecurities (eg of being raped or murdered in an increasingly violent society). As with horror stories, the denouement generally involves a catharsis of some kind, eg the killer is caught, but this is not necessarily the case. In Bret Ellis’ novel American Psycho, the killer is never brought to justice, further fuelling the reader’s niggling sense of being unsafe in a dangerous world.


A suspense story aims to keep the reader guessing. It must contain uncertainty or anxiety. The reader will be told just enough to secure their attention, but information will be held back in order to build tension. It will finally be revealed at points in the story which are beyond where the reader desperately wants to know that information. In effect, the writer is creating a desire, and suspending delivery of information to satisfy that desire.


Erotica is literature that deals with sexual love. Theoretically, it differs from pornography in the sense that it aspires to an artistic aesthetic rather than simply aiming to stimulate sexual desire for commercial purposes. 


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Student Comments:
"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



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 workshopping 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






Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.


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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John MasonMr Mason has worked 45+ years in Writing, Education, Horticulture and Recreation. His experience in both public & private sectors is extensive; particularly across Australia and England.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Tracey Jones (writing)Tracey has enjoyed creative writing since she was a child. She has had several short stories published and a novella. She is also a keen writer of children's stories and poetry. She has also written many academic and non-fiction books in the fields of psychology, sociology, child development, writing and marketing.

Check out our eBooks

Writing for Childrenby John Mason and staff of ACS Distance Education
English GrammarThe English Grammar ebook can be a great reference for students, people who are learning English and anybody who writes anything- ever. The English Grammar ebook takes grammar back to basics to help confirm correct use of grammar. Topics that are covered within this course include 1/ Introduction- the components of language, 2/ Types of words, 3/ Punctuation, 4/ Upper and lower case, abbreviations, numbers, bullet points and 5/ Using words together.
Professional WritingProfessional writing is any writing that you are being paid for. It can include fiction writing, a best-selling book, articles in a magazine, articles in a newspaper, blogs for companies, technical manuals or procedure manuals, copy for catalogues, newsletters, text books and other academic material and so on.
Creative WritingThe Creative Writing ebook can be useful for writing students or even professional writers to help improve their writing techniques and skills. The Creative Writing ebook is a fabulous starting point for budding writers. The topics that are covered within this book are an introduction to creative writing, Methodology and technique- the building blocks of writing, Genres, Creative non-fiction, creative writing techniques, developing your skill, building your career and a Glossary.