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Master Class II: Writing, Editing, and Publishing

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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 Master Class 1: Writing, Editing, and Publishing

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

Course Length: 15 weeks

Student Expectations: Students are encouraged to work an average of 3 hours per week.

Course Code: PUB2

Course Description


In Master Class II, students will build on skills they honed in Master Class I and work as an editorial team advised by their CTY instructor to publish a literary journal containing stories, essays, poetry, and art created by themselves and other CTY students.

Students will work together as editors and staff in an online classroom to:

  • determine goals and identify a design concept/theme
  • establish a production schedule
  • discuss possible marketing and publicity strategies
  • request submissions from CTY students
  • compose their own pieces
  • decide which submissions to accept
  • content edit, copyedit, and proofread works while practicing constructive critiquing
  • add design elements and images
  • compile the journal’s cover, TOC, and content for publication

Whether acting as editor-in-chief or as a member of the submissions, prose, art, or poetry editorial staff, students will complete the course with valuable experience in imagining and building a published literary journal.

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.

Students who are four or more units behind in their work will not receive course completion documents.

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

Topics Covered

Unit 1: About Artist Statements and Mission Statements

  • Identify the purpose and elements of an artist statement
  • Review sample artist statements
  • Identify the purpose and elements of a mission statement
  • Review sample mission statements

Unit 2: About Scope and Show, Don't Tell

  • Learn how the skill of “Show, Don’t Tell” affects a text
  • Understand the components of writing a “show”
  • Review examples of “tells” and “shows”
  • Identify moments when a “tell” is appropriate
  • Identify the components of scope
  • Observe how a change of scope impacts a text
  • Solve problems caused by too large of a scope
  • Learn how to be expansive and still maintain a narrow scope

Unit 3: About Tension

  • Define tension in writing
  • Identify different sources of tension in texts
  • Review examples of tension
  • Identify elements that release tension in texts

Unit 4: Balancing Writing Types

  • Identify the four types of writing for fiction
  • Review examples of each individual type, and note its attributes
  • Learn how adjusting the proportions of the four types changes the effect of the writing
  • Review examples of fiction with different balances

Unit 5: Advanced Content Editing

  • Learn about the importance of advanced content editing (a.k.a. revision)
  • Study the kinds of changes that should be contemplated in revision
  • Review examples of poetry and prose revisions from first to second drafts
  • Understand the necessity of establishing objectives for your revisions

Unit 6: Describing the Setting

  • Identify the components of writing a setting description, focusing especially on fiction and poetry
  • Understand the relationship among setting details, perspective, and mood
  • Review settings that contain movement and allow for character interaction

Unit 7: Openings and Endings

  • Identify the qualities of effective opening lines
  • Review examples of successful opening lines
  • Identify techniques for effective closing lines
  • Review examples of successful closing lines

Unit 8: Fiction and Nonfiction Sub-genres    

  • Identify and define fiction and nonfiction sub-genres
  • Analyze examples of well-constructed sub-genre writing
  • Produce a work in a sub-genre of your choosing

Unit 9: Copy Editing

  • Learn copy-editing tools like decluttering language, aligning diction, adding threads, rearranging sentence parts, and employing the principle of “Chekhov’s Gun”
  • Review examples and explanations of applied copy-editing tools
  • Recognize when a piece of writing is finished—or at least when it’s time to stop tinkering

Unit 10: Factoring in the Passage of Time

  • Identify the different perceptions of time in writing, and how they relate to one another
  • Identify the concept of “real time” in writing and how to factor in the passage of time in your work
  • Review different time-skimming techniques and examples of each

Unit 11: Voice as an Element of Style

  • Identify the elements of style
  • Identify what comprises voice
  • Review examples of voice
  • Recognize and implement voice in your own writing

Unit 12: Word Choice as an Element of Style

  • Review the elements of style
  • Identify the range of options within word choice
  • Review examples of word choice

Unit 13: Sentence Structure as an Element of Style

  • Learn about the different components of sentence structure
  • Review the differences between independent and dependent clauses, and between simple, compound, complex, and compound/complex sentences
  • Understand how to write clear and fluent sentences

Unit 14: Point of View as an Element of Style

  • Learn about the many different points of view used by authors
    • First person (with variations in proximity and connection)
    • Second person
    • Third person limited (cinematic, light penetration, and deep penetration)
    • Third person omniscient
  • Learn how authors should decide which narration to use in a particular work

Unit 15: Epistolary Form

  • Understand the purpose and basic structure for letter writing
  • Apply selected writing skills to the unique purpose

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.