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Master Class I: Writing, Editing, and Publishing

Note: Enrollment in this course is limited. Registration will close once the maximum class size is reached.

Open to: Grades 7-9

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of a CTY Writing, Grammar, or Critical Reading course or successful completion of a CTY placement test.

Course Format: Session-basedSee calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 16 weeks

Student Expectations: Students are encouraged to work an average of 3 hours per week, with a one week break in late December.

Course Code: PUB1

Course Description


In Master Class I, students will compose, critique, revise, and refine original writing—both their own and that of their classmates, all while guided by their CTY instructor. Working individually and in workshop settings, students in grades 7–9 will learn the art and craft of writing, editing, and designing an online literary zine.

Students will:

  • write narratives and polish their works with strong leads, effective transitions, and suspenseful cliff hangers
  • learn about genres and compose works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
  • use editor’s marks and marginal notes to content edit, copyedit, and participate in workshops
  • identify appropriate visual content to enhance their work
  • discover publishing venues that accept student submissions
  • collaborate with classmates to create an online literary zine to display their work

By the end of the course, each student will be an experienced writer and editor and own a personally curated Digital Toolbox filled with useful resources for future writing projects. This course is a prerequisite for enrollment in Master Class II. Students who are four or more units behind in their work will not receive course completion documents.

This course is designed to be an ungraded, enrichment course; instead of a grade, instructors provide specific feedback about each student's work at the end of each unit and a detailed final evaluation at the end of the session. Parents or guardians may request a final grade if needed for school credit.

This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations. Students may be invited (but not required) to publicly post their work on outside sites (e.g., Scratch project database, YouTube, etc.).

Materials Needed

There is a textbook purchase required for this course:

The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life (2nd ed.) by Priscilla Long (University of Mexico Press, 2018) ISBN 978-0826360052



Unit 1: The Narrative

  • Define narrative and its subtypes and components
  • Explore narrative techniques including foreshadowing, flashbacks, dialogue, point of view [aka POV], and in media res
  • Learn strategies for generating original and memorable characters with distinctive literary voices
  • Develop a compelling first-person fictional narrative

Unit 2: Editing for Content            

  • Identify the goals of content editing
  • Examine methods of editing for content
  • Analyze and edit writing for content

Unit 3: Effective Leads and Transitions

  • Define the goals of effective leads and transitions
  • Analyze and judge the effectiveness of leads and transitions
  • Write effective leads and transitions
  • Learn the concept of literary cliff hangers, practice creating them, and assess cliff hangers written by others

Unit 4: Drilling into Details

  • Appreciate the essential role of detail in writing
  • Differentiate between effective and ineffective details
  • Identify resources for finding new and specific words
  • Explore the effects of varying word choice
  • Examine the difference a single word can make (especially the verb)
  • Choose effective words and details to incorporate into written work
  • Understand the importance of avoiding plagiarism in all its forms

Unit 5: Focusing on Fiction

  • Define genre as it applies to literature
  • Differentiate fiction from nonfiction
  • Analyze the components of fiction
  • Produce a work of short fiction

Unit 6: Navigating Nonfiction

  • Define what constitutes nonfiction
  • Appreciate the paradox of nonfiction
  • Study what inspired one writer to compose a nonfiction graphic memoir
  • Produce a work of nonfiction

Unit 7:  Pondering Poetry

  • Define what constitutes and differentiates poetry from fiction and nonfiction
  • Analyze the different forms and types of poetry
  • Study examples of well-constructed works of poetry
  • Employ the figurative language often used in poetry
  • Produce a work of poetry

Unit 8: Mastering Copyediting

  • Identify the goals of copyediting and how they differ from the goals of proofreading
  • Explore and experiment with copyediting tools and techniques
  • Copyedit written material

Unit 9: Critiquing and Workshopping

  • Define criticism and workshopping and their interrelationship in the context of the writing process
  • Identify the goals and processes of critiquing and workshopping
  • Analyze and critique written work
  • Exchange feedback in a workshop setting

Unit 10: Publications and Venues

  • Define various types of publications and venues
  • Learn important terms used in journalism
  • Distinguish characteristics of writing for different publications and venues
  • Research and identify a publication that is appropriate for a specific piece of your writing
  • Participate in a writing workshop

Unit 11:  Incorporating Visual Content

  • Discuss types of visual content
  • List criteria for selecting visual content
  • Analyze examples of effective visual content
  • Identify appropriate sources of visual content
  • Describe the process of seeking formal permission to use content
  • Demonstrate how to cite and credit sources
  • Choose visual content to complement writing
  • Create a brochure with text and images

Unit 12: Selecting a Publication

  • Identify sources for publishing your work
  • Describe the components of submission criteria
  • Explore concepts that include self-publishing and property rights
  • Discover the possibilities offered by writing fanfiction.

Unit 13: Submitting Your Writing

  • Break into the business by publishing a review, letter to the editor, or editorial
  • Create an effective query cover letter
  • Demonstrate the process of submitting your writing for publication
  • Accept the inevitable rejection that is part of a writer’s professional life and move on

Unit 14: Producing Your Literary Zine

  • Define the literary journal and its goals
  • Analyze examples of successful literary journals
  • Adapt the goals of a literary journal and apply them to the creation of literary zine
  • Participate in a writers' workshop of the 2-page spreads slated for publication in this class's literary zine

Unit 15: Publishing Your Literary Zine

  • Collaborate as a member of a team to publish a high quality literary zine
  • Complete a reflection letter about your participation in the course

Technical Requirements

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.