Angela Rydell, MFA, has taught creative writing through UW-Madison Continuing Studies since 2006. Read more.
Who this course is for
- Beginning fiction writers looking for help getting started.
- Anyone bogged down in the midst of a fiction project
- Veteran writers who want to get recharged, refocused, and refreshed.
Fiction writer Barb Natividad publishes flash fiction story in literary journal
Barb Natividad of Chicago, IL published her flash fiction story "The Way Home" in Wilderness House Literary Review, Vol. 8.1. Here's a link to Barb's story. A student in How to Write Compelling Fiction taught by Angela Rydell, Barb says taking the Continuing Studies course "has really helped me focus on sticking to one character's point of view, as well as exploring the main character's motivation. I've also learned that conflict is essential in a story, and how to create conflict in my work."
Ari Lukas wins cash prize for fiction
Fiction writer Ari Lukas took 3rd Place in the Writer’s Weekly 24-Hour Short Story Contest for her story “One Potato Two Potato.” She won $200 and publication on WritersWeekly.com. Congratulations, Ari! Ari recently completed How to Write Compelling Fiction.
Diego Pérez Giménez of Reus, Spain, publishes short story in anthology
Reus, Spain, writer Diego Pérez Giménez recently published his story “Encuentro afortunado” ("Lucky encounter") in the Spanish anthology Cuentamínate, coming out this autumn. Diego wrote his story while enrolled in our online course “How to Write Compelling Fiction,” and emailed instructor Angela Rydell when his story was accepted: “I'm glad and proud to say that a short story that I wrote has been selected to be published in an anthology here in Spain (in old style paper). I would like to thank you because you're responsible in part for this success. Your workshop has been very helpful.” Congratulations to Diego and Angela!
Instructor Angela Rydell nominated for a Pushcart Prize
Angela Rydell's poem "The Stepmother and the Mosquito Bird," published in The Cleveland Review, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read the poem here: http://clevelandreview.org/the-stepmother-and-the-mosquito-bird-by-angela-rydell.Angela teaches “Poetry Writing: Getting to Good” and “How to Write Compelling Fiction” for UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Angela also teaches in person for us and will be teaching flash fiction next June in the annual writers’ retreat in Madison.
This is a noncredit, online writing class through UW-Madison Continuing Studies.
How to write compelling fictionLearn to write stories others can't stop reading
Most people have probably heard the dictum: Write what you know. The acclaimed writer Flannery O’Connor had a slightly different approach: “Start with anything you can make real.” This class will focus on helping writers get past those difficult beginnings and explore ways to take what you can make real on the page and turn it into well-crafted fiction. Each lesson will include techniques, examples and exercises so that you can put what you’re learning into practice immediately.
In seven easy-to-understand lessons, you’ll learn specific techniques to help you develop your fiction. Among other topics, we’ll cover:
- Gathering material
- Developing characters
- Point of view
- Conflict and plot
- Crafting believable and interesting dialogue
You will receive prompt feedback and enjoy an ongoing discussion with your instructor, all included in the basic fee of $135. For a total fee of $175, you’ll get all of this plus a detailed critique of up to 2,000 words of your own writing. Work at your own pace; you have up to a year to finish the course.
You can start our workshops anytime, and there are no required hours to log on. It's all done with one-on-one correspondence with the instructor using email. Some classes have materials on a web site, but you can access those at your leisure with a password that we will give you. We have writers from around the world participating in our workshops, and we have success stories. A lot of great writing gets accomplished via email. Because of the one-on-one nature of our workshops, you'll find them an excellent "coaching" or mentoring situation that will keep you going. And if you want to just work on your own-hey, that's fine too. Of course you can do the suggested exercises on your own and pass on the feedback if you'd rather do that. We're also here throughout the year if you have questions.
Registration is just $135, which includes instructor feedback and answers to your questions. If you choose the $175 level, you will receive an additional detailed critique of up to 2,000 words of your writing.
Work at your own pace and take up to a year to finish. You will earn 1.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), (1.3 CEUs if you sign up for the critique option), when you complete this online writing course. Register and start the course at any time.
Angela Rydell, MFA, has taught creative writing through UW-Madison Continuing Studies since 2006. Programs include Write-by-the-Lake Writer's Workshop & Retreat, School of the Arts at Rhinelande, Writers' Institute, and Weekend with Your Novel. She has also taught at Edgewood College and in the national program "Senior Summer School," been a poet-in-residence in elementary schools, and is the lead judge for the 2010 Wisconsin People & Ideas poetry contest. She is a recipient of Poets & Writers' Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, The Sun, Alaska Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals.
"The self-paced nature worked very well for me. No pressure. Excellent, timely feedback phrased in a constructive and encouraging way. Above all, I liked having an instructor who I could "feel" really cared about my development and was always accessible for questions. Not easy to do in an online course!" -Tom Annino, Glen Mills, PA
"The critiques were extremely valuable. A Angela is the perfect kind of writing coach: She doesn't coddle you for fear of hurting your feelings (what good is that to aspiring writers?), and she is eager to let you know when you've done well and, more importantly, why something works." -Sara Green, Madison WI
"Thanks so much for the excellent advice and insight. Having Angela's analyses of my course work has been invaluable in working towards writing good fiction." -Gregory Renz, Lake Mills, WI
"The course pushed me to explore areas of my writing I had not touched upon. That was great. We all need a little push now and then. When you work out of your comfort zone, you find out things about your writing and yourself. Angela gave great feedback and was a positive influence...very encouraging throughout the process." -Janice Giordano, Tomball, TX
"Your critiques targeted what was specifically wrong, not general comments...insightful on how to improve." -Kelley Lortz, Rolla, MO
"The structure of the course helped me get into the rhythm of writing continuously. While the information in the lessons was helpful, it was the back and forth interactions with an instructor that I enjoyed the most. Angela's feedback allowed me to start catching mistakes in my writing (not giving a strong sense of place, or shifting the POV) in ways I would not have before." -Megan Detire, Bever Dam WI
"I really appreciate the insight you are giving me into my writing. It is making me look at my written words more closely than I have ever before." -Richard Reynolds, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
How to register
Online: Register now online with our secure server.
Mail: Print and mail our registration form.
Telephone: Call 608-262-2451 or toll-free 800-725-9692 to register. Our phone is answered M-F, 7:00 am-4:30 pm Central Time. At other times please leave a message, and we will return your call.
Your contact for more information about How to Write Compelling Fiction is Laura Kahl, 608-262-3982, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about online learning contact Lori O'Neill at 608-263-6322 or toll-free 877-336-7836 or email LSAonline@dcs.wisc.edu.
Also of interest
Explore other online writing classes.
The same writing staff that bring you these great online classes also provide individualized writing critique services. Learn more by visiting our writing critique services web page.
Subscribe to the Writing News, our free e-mail newsletter and 3-4 times a year you will receive a detailed e-mail with information about our upcoming writing programs, and news about student achievements or opportunities for writers. To subscribe send a blank email@example.com.