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Reading and Writing Fantasy: Novel Study and Creative Writing for Teens

Tassie Bauman Smith
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In this 8-week course, students will read the novel "Elantris" by Brandon Sanderson, study Sanderson's techniques and use/subversion of classic fantasy tropes, and write and edit their own fantasy story.

Class Experience

US Grade 8 - 11
Intermediate - Advanced Level
8 lessons//8 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Getting Started
In this introductory lesson we will explore the plot structure of our featured novel, "Elantris." We will also be introducing the idea of architects vs gardeners and prewriting.
 Week 2
Lesson 2
Story Structure
Based on the videos that the student's have watched as part of their homework, we will begin exploring the intricacies of plot structure as a creative writer. We will review the section of Elantris that we read and review the each young writer's pre-writing.
 Week 3
Lesson 3
World Building
Based on the videos that the students have watched as part of their homework, we will begin exploring the importance and limitations of world building in the genres of speculative fiction. We will also analyize the world building of "Elantris" as well as the students' own worldbuilding.
 Week 4
Lesson 4
Based on the videos that the students have watched as part of their homework we will explore Sanderson's Three Laws of Magic and discuss how students will chose to build the magic systems for their short stories.
 Week 5
Lesson 5
Based on the videos that the students have watched as part of their homework we will be exploring the building blocks and arcs that make up great characters. Students will also discuss their own main characters and arcs as well as the arcs of each of the three main characters in Elantris.
 Week 6
Lesson 6
Prior to the class meeting all students will read their classmates' work and prepare to give and receive constructive feedback on their stories. This can be a nerve-wracking lesson as receiving feedback is challenging at every level. However, students frequently choose this as the most useful lesson each semester.
 Week 7
Lesson 7
In this lesson we will be exploring the process that authors go through to edit and prepare manuscripts for publication. We will also finish up discussing the plot, characters, and worldbuilding of "Elantris."
 Week 8
Lesson 8
Final Presentations
Students will present their manuscripts, and we will review the material in the course and look towards our future endeavors in creative writing.
  • Students will gain skill and confidence in literary analysis. Students will write and edit a fantasy project they can be proud of!
I am eager to have your learner join the students from 5-50 to whom I have taught English. Although my original BA is in Psychology, I have taught both ESL and English at three different Universities abroad.  I love students and I love literature. I have written a published non-fiction book, have another at the publisher, and have a completed novel in the editing process. I am eager to help North American students get a worldwide perspective on literature drawing from my own experiences as a reader and a traveler. 
2 - 4 hours per week outside of class
Frequency: included
Feedback: as needed
Details: Homework is a very important part of this class. Students will be assigned both reading, writing and watching homework each week. To understand and benefit from the class this must be done before class. Students will also spend 3 weeks creating a story, 1 week peer-editing, 1 week revising, and then present their stories to the class.
Letter Grade
Frequency: included
Details: Parents who need further feedback on their student's strengths, weaknesses, or creative writing needs can email for more information.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
"Elantris" has fantasy religions, fantasy politics, and some fantasy cursing.  More seriously, it has several disturbing scenes of people in chronic pain. If you have any questions about the novel, please contact me. 
We will read "Elantris" by Brandon Sanderson.  This book needs to either be purchased or gotten from the library in time for students to read before the first class.  We will also be watching sections of Brandon Sanderson's lectures for free on Youtube for homework. 
Joined September, 2019
Teacher expertise and credentials
I teach all kinds of English classes including writing, grammar, literature, and ESL.  I am an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction especially poetry, science fiction, and fantasy. 

I have been teaching for more than 10 years.  I taught English... 


Group Class


weekly or $210 for 8 classes
1x per week, 8 weeks
55 min

Completed by 20 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 13-17
2-6 learners per class

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