How Writers Write Fiction 2015

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In late September 2015, the International Writing Program will open its fourth creative writing MOOC, How Writers Write Fiction 2015. This MOOC will offer an opportunity for the interactive study and practice of writing fiction. This course has been designed to welcome both beginning and experienced writers; video classes, writing assignments, and discussions will engage and challenge writers at all levels. How Writers Write Fiction 2015 will be taught by Christopher Merrill, IWP Director and University of Iowa Professor of English, and Angela Flournoy, author of the critically-acclaimed novel The Turner House. This MOOC is freely available to everyone in the world; there is no cost to register.

Course Description

How Writers Write Fiction 2015 will be taught in English as follows: each week, instructors Merrill and Flournoy will post a new video class. In this video class, they will introduce two or three short video lectures given by successful authors of fiction. Featured authors will include Venise Berry, Edward Carey, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Bernice Chauly, Susan Taylor Chehak, Boris Fishman, Angela Flournoy, Boaz Gaon, Andrew Sean Greer, Paul Harding, Naomi Jackson, Leslie Jamison, Mamle Kabu, Jonathan Lethem, Margot Livesy, Stephen Lovely, Peter Orner, and Douglas Trevor, among others. Each week, the video class will be followed by a set of writing assignments. These assignments will invite you to write fiction, post your work to the MOOC website, and engage in community feedback with your fellow writers. Supplementary readings will also be posted for your exploration.

Each week, a team of teaching moderators will lead live discussions of the video topics and the challenges of the writing assignments around the clock in the MOOC discussion forum. A teaching moderator or guest author will open a video master class, offering an in-depth analysis of the week’s writing themes; discussion of the master class will follow in the forum. Community moderators will actively support the participation of writers who are new to online learning, new to writing fiction, and/or writing as nonnative speakers of English. These community moderators will facilitate the formation of writing groups and support the vitality and inclusivity of your international writing community.


Again, this MOOC is freely available to everyone in the world; there is no cost to register. The University of Iowa will offer an optional MOOC Certificate of Completion for a fee of $50.00 USD. You are not required to pay this fee in order to register for and participate in this MOOC. Those who wish to earn the MOOC Certificate of Completion must complete a set number of weekly video quizzes, weekly writing assignments, and weekly peer feedback and discussion requirements.

All are welcome to join us in this exciting exploration of fiction-writing theory, practice, and community! 

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For questions regarding How Writers Write Fiction 2015, please contact us at

IWP Online Campus

The IWP Online Campus, a MOOC outreach initiative, provides the IWP's creative writing and literature MOOCs as MOOCpacks, online toolkits that feature all of the course content and various teaching tools for use in a study group or workshop setting. As part of the IWP's commitment to global accessibility for educational resources, the kits are designed to be used by anyone, anywhere in the world who wishes to lead a local group; no prior teaching experience is necessary. If you are interested in using this MOOC to lead a local study group or workshop, visit our IWP Online Campus page for more details.

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