- Course Goal: By the end of the course, students will be able to write a satisfying, suspenseful mystery that will keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats.
- Course Objectives: By the end of the course, students will learn:
- • the elements of a mystery story
- • how to pick the right type of crime for their mystery
- • how to develop a well-rounded, interesting main character
- • how to collect story ideas and try them out
- • a variety of ways in which characters can change throughout a story
- • how to write a character “Back Story”
- • how to describe the culprit and the circumstances surrounding the crime
- • how to develop a list of suspects and give them powerful motives
- • how to rule out suspects until only the culprit remains
- • how to “hide” clues so readers have to work hard to find them
- • how to incorporate alibis, witnesses, red herrings, and investigation strategies into their mystery
- • how to create a setting that adds an important dimension to the story
- • how to use a tool called a “Story Mountain” to organize their ideas logically
- • how to plan their chapters before beginning the drafting process
- • how to progress through the stages of drafting, revising, editing, and publishing
- • how to reflect on their work at the end of the writing process to promote future improvement
- Students need to possess reading and writing skills at, near, or beyond their grade level.
This course is designed for children 8-12 years of age who are interested in writing their own mysteries. National Board Certified elementary school teacher and award-winning author Steve Reifman will take young writers step-by-step from the beginning of the writing process to the end and help them craft stories that keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats! It doesn’t matter whether students are already seasoned mystery writers or brand new to the genre. This course promises to take young writers to the next level.
In the easy-to-follow videos and detailed handouts that comprise this course, Steve skillfully combines the wisdom accumulated throughout his 19 years as an educator with numerous examples from his book Chase Against Time to teach students about crimes, crime solvers, suspects, motives, clues, witnesses, alibis, red herrings, and all the other elements that make mysteries so much fun to read and write.
What’s even better, students can learn at their own pace. While the course’s twenty-nine videos focus on the same knowledge and skills that one might find in a more traditional 4-6 week writing class, the structure of this course enables students to work on their mysteries anytime, anywhere. Students can watch and pause the videos whenever they wish, re-watch videos as necessary, and complete the course as their schedule permits.
In addition to teaching the knowledge and skills required to help children write their own mysteries, Steve focuses on higher purposes. He wants children to experience the same thrill of writing a mystery adventure that he had when he wrote Chase Against Time and its sequels. He also promotes valuable writing habits such as perseverance, pride, and paying attention to detail. Furthermore, he wants children to develop a passion for reading and writing, and he leads the course with these larger objectives in mind.
- Children 8-12 years of age