How Writers Write Fiction I MOOC-Pack


This MOOC-Pack provides the core content of our past MOOC How Writers Write Fiction I. You can use this MOOC-Pack on your own, or you can use it to lead a writing class or a study group.

Start by clicking on Class 1 in the Fiction I MOOC-Pack Page Menu at the left. You will find directions for the class one video, audio file, and transcript.

If you have any trouble navigating this MOOC-Pack, visit our HOW TO USE page for instructions on using this website. If you need to contact us with any questions or concerns, please visit the CONTACT | HELP | FEEDBACK page.

Designed for both beginning and experienced writers, this MOOC-Pack offers a progression through the principles and practice of writing fiction and features short talks on craft by acclaimed writers of fiction. This MOOC-Pack has eight classes and a farewell class. You can start in order through classes 1-8 and then go on to the farewell class.



Christopher Merrill's work has been translated into twenty-five language, his journalism appears in many publications, and his awards include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government. He has held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross, and now directs the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than forty countries for the United States Department of State. In April 2012 President Obama appointed Merrill to the National Council on the Humanities. He has published six collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; translations of Ales Debeljak's Anxious Moments and The City and the Child; several edited volumes, among them, Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keefe as Icon; and five books of nonfiction, The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer, The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, and The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War.


R. Clifton Spargo is the author of the novel Beautiful Fools, The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.  A novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic, he writes the blog "The HI/LO," on the interplay between high and low culture, for The Huffington Post. His short stories have appeared in journals such as The Antioch Review, FICTION, Glimmer Train, SOMA, and The Kenyon Review.  And his essays, reviews, and interviews on literature, contemporary culture, and rock music have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, The Yale Review, Commonweal, Raritan, Newcity, Bookslut, and The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, among other places.  He is also the author of two books of criticism published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the doctoral program in English at Yale University, he has taught creative writing at Marquette University, Yale University, and the University of Iowa, and testimonial writing in a program he created for The Voices and Faces Project.  For the fall 2014 he is the inaugural Dixon Professor of Creative Writing at Wittenberg University.

Featured Authors


Susannah Shive, IWP Distance Learning & Instructional Administrator
Lauren Haldeman, Writing University Open Courses Web Administrator
Micah Bateman, IWP Graduate Research Assistant for MOOCs