How Writers Write Fiction:
Storied Women MOOC-Pack


This MOOC-Pack provides the core content of our past MOOC How Writers Write Fiction: Storied Women. 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 the Welcome Class in the Storied Women MOOC-Pack Page Menu at the left. You will find directions for the welcome video, audio file, and transcript. Then, click on Class 1. You will find directions for the class 1 video, audio file, transcript, writing assignment, and readings.

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.

Centered on character - the characters created by women writers and the female characters created by all writers - this MOOC-Pack will lead you through a progressive study of how authors from around the world approach each aspect of writing fiction, from voice and dialogue to plot and narrative structure. This MOOC-Pack has a welcome session, five classes, and a farewell session. You can access each class by clicking the appropriate link on the navigation menu to the left. You can begin with the welcome class and continue in order through classes 1-5 and then to the farewell class. 



Margot Livesey, novelist and University of Iowa Writers' Workshop Professor, grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Penguin Canada in 1986. Since then Margot has published seven novels: Homework, Criminals, The Missing World, Eva Moves the Furniture, Banishing Verona, The House on Fortune Street, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Margot has taught at Boston University, Bowdoin College, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon, Cleveland State, Emerson College, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Tufts University, the University of California at Irvine, the Warren Wilson College MFA program for writers, and Williams College. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists' Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts. Her new novel Mercury has just been published.


Christopher Merrill, IWP Director and University of Iowa Professor of English, has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many works of translation and edited volumes, among them, The Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O'Keeffe 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. His work has been translated into nearly forty languages, his honors include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government, and his journalism appears in many publications. As director of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. His new work After the Fact: Scripts and Postscripts has just been published.

Featured Authors


Susannah Shive, IWP Distance Learning & Instructional Administrator
Benjamin Schmidt, IWP Graduate Research Assistant for MOOCs
Charles Truong, IWP Distance Learning Undergraduate Research Fellow
Jeffrey Lauber, IWP Distance Learning Program Assistant