{Review} Writing Fiction, by Sharon Watson

Who agrees to review a writing curriculum in the final weeks of her child’s high school graduation? This silly blonde of course!

Why?Writing Fiction

Because it’s about writing fiction! Isn’t that wonderful?

Plus, it’s written by a dear woman that I’ve had the pleasure to work with for the past couple of years. How could I resist?

Writing Fiction [In High School]: Bringing Your Stories to Life!

  • A two-semester course for English credit
  • No prerequisites needed
  • 13 fact-filled chapters, approximately 300 pages
  • Practical lessons and approximately 100 interesting assignments
  • One of only a few fiction texts uniquely designed for high school teens
  • Written to the student in a conversational tone
  • Hundreds of age-appropriate fiction examples from classics to recent novels
  • Optional manuscript track for teens who have already written a story

Not surprisingly, we didn’t get too far into the curriculum before the whirlwind of graduation came down upon us. But, we delved in far enough for me to share how much we loved it!

Here are my top reasons why:

First, Sharon does a great job of laying the foundation for writing before jumping in too deep. With lots of great examples, students are exposed to important concepts such as the important hook in the first sentence, where story ideas come from, and the characters’  point of view. While some students may be chomping at the bit to start writing novels, the curriculum starts at a slow pace with a strong foundation.

Second, the curriculum is flexible. Designed to be used with a group for a full year, it is easily adaptable for different situations. Some lessons are shorter than others meaning that some students or groups may be able to move quickly at different points if desired. There are multiple writing actives, including the manuscript track, for students who want to dig in even deeper.

Third, the supplemental materials and resources are fun for students and easily accessible for mom. From writing their own life story as a fairy tale, to watching The Princess Bride or Sense and Sensibility. Sharon utilizes stories that many students are already familiar with to teach them story structure and theme. By analyzing movies and other materials that they already enjoy, students are more open to the critique process as they work through their own stories.

Fourth… Ooops! I really was only going to give you my top three, since the curriculum has taught us the importance of ‘threes’. But I couldn’t help pointing out… the price! For less than $40 you have a full year’s writing curriculum. For high school curriculum, this is a bargain!

Will this curriculum be perfect for you and your student?

Maybe. I should point out that what I saw as a positive, some families may consider a negative. I LOVED the flexibility of how the lessons and activities were set-up, allowing you to move at the pace of your student and your group. But I know that some families desire a structured lesson plan, with a daily checklist of what to do next. You will not find a daily lesson plan in this curriculum. But to be clear, writing doesn’t work that way.

One of the first things Sharon shares in the book is that every writer’s process is different. And to pull a quote she includes in the student book, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.” –Somerset Maugham, author of Of Human Bondage

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