Course Title: Write simple stories

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: COMM5910C

Course Title: Write simple stories

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6088 - Advanced Diploma of Screenwriting

Course Contact : Program administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4368

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: John Reeves
Phone: 9925 4895

Nominal Hours: 30

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

Write Simple Stories is taught within the course Storytelling, which is made up of two competencies Write Simple Stories and Write Extended Stories. Strong storytelling is an essential component of screenwriting and the competency Write SImple Stories delivers the skills, craft and knowledge required to write short stories.

This competency Write Simple Stories (CUFWRT302A) is delivered and assessed with Write Extended Stories (CUFWRT402A)


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFWRT302A Write simple stories


1. Clarify storytelling requirements.

Performance Criteria:

Discuss with relevant personnel storytelling briefs, including target audience, format, timelines and delivery platforms.
Identify purpose of dialogue, characters, point of view and setting to help structure storylines.
Discuss with relevant personnel possible visual and aural storytelling structures that would meet the requirements of briefs.


2. Prepare to write stories.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Research stories from a range of creative works that may inspire story ideas to meet requirements of brief.
2.2 Use information sources to research subject areas.
2.3 Experiment with linear and non-linear storyline structures.
2.4 Use imagination to develop ideas for characters, plots and settings.
2.5 Develop ideas for scenarios, contexts and situations in which characters act, react and resolve.
2.6 Select the story structure, style, techniques and content that best meet the requirements of the briefs.
2.7 Seek feedback from relevant personnel on proposed story and refine approach as required.


3. Draft stories.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Use a creative writing style appropriate to specified stories.
3.2 Use tools to draft stories.
3.3 Use correct grammar, appropriate punctuation and accurate spelling.
3.4 Proofread copy to check for spelling, grammatical, typographic and other errors.
3.5 Submit draft manuscripts to relevant personnel for feedback and amend as required.


4. Refine stories.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Participate in the testing of stories in line with agreed criteria.
4.2 Discuss and confirm with relevant personnel additional requirements or modifications to stories.
4.3 Complete necessary amendments as required within agreed timelines.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to use both linear and non-linear structures to write simple and extended stories,. You will build your understanding and overview of the history and importance of storytelling.

Details of Learning Activities

You learn through:
1. In-class activities:
industry speakers
teacher directed group activities/projects
peer teaching and class presentations
group discussion
class exercises to review discussions/lectures
reading of excerpts of writings and set texts to provide examples of writing elements
workshopping of students’ own projects
analysis/critique of writings of students’ choice

2. Out-of-class activities:
independent project based work
writing and reading assignments
online and other research
independent study

Teaching Schedule

Teaching schedule
Please note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.

Week starting Class contentAssessment dueElements
Week 1
(7 Feb)
Introduction to Storytelling. Explanation of course content and overview of assessment CUFWRT302A - 1
Week 2
(14 Feb)
Sourcing: Looking for stories that matter
Story Structure: Beginning, Middle and End
Story workshop: One Afternoon
 CUFWRT302A - 2
CUFWRT402A - 1
Week 3
(21 Feb)
Sourcing: Fairy Tales
Reading: Little Red Riding Hood, The Sleeping Beauty
Reports: Charles Perrault
 CUFWRT302A – 2,3
CUFWRT402A - 1

Week 4
(28 Feb)
Sourcing: Fairy Tales (cont’d)
Reading: Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella
Reports: The Grimm Brothers
Story workshop: Found Stories
 CUFWRT302A – 2, 3
CUFWRT402A - 1

Week 5
(7 March)
Sourcing: Classical drama
Reading/Reports: Aristotle, Aristophanes, E M Forster
Story Structure: The Inciting Incident
Story workshops x 3
 CUFWRT302A – 3, 4
CUFWRT402A - 1

Week 6
(14 March)
Sourcing: The Power of Myth
Reading: Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler
Story Structure: Conflict
Story workshops x 3
Story #1 dueCUFWRT302A - 2
CUFWRT402A - 1
Week 7
(21 March)
Storytellers in the Screen Industry: The Early Days
Viewing: Frances Marion
Reading/Reports: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Daniel Fuchs
Story workshops x 3
 CUFWRT302A – 2
CUFWRT402A - 2

Week 8
(28 March)
Sourcing: A Sense of Place
Viewing: North By Northwest
Reading/Reports: Lisa Dethridge, Wim Wenders
Story workshops x 3
 CUFWRT302A - 3
Week 9
(4 April)
Sourcing: The Hero Myth
Extended Story Structure: Characterization, Character Development, Motivation
Reading/Reports: David Mamet
Story workshops x 3
 CUFWRT302A – 3, 4
CUFWRT402A - 2
 Week 10
(11 April)
 Sourcing: Road Tales
Storytellers in the Screen Industry: David Goodis
Reading/Reports: Syd Field, Helen Garner
Story workshops x 3

 CUFWRT302A - 3
 Week 11
(18 April)
 Sourcing: True Tales
Extended Story Structure: Set-up, Payoff, Antagonists
Stories for short film
Reading/Reports: Henry Lawson, Peter Carey, Tim Winton
Story workshops x 3
  CUFWRT402A -3
 Week 12
(2 May)
 Sourcing: Looking for Subtext
Extended Story Structure: Mystery, Suspense, Irony
Viewing: Roger Corman
Reading/Reports: Edgar Allan Poe, Patricia Highsmith, Robert McKee
Story workshops x 3
  CUFWRT402A -4
 Week 13
(9 May)
 Sourcing: Imagery
Extended Story Structure: The Middle, Upping the Stakes
Stories for feature film
Reading/Reports: Mary Fortune, Barbara Baynton, Linda Seger
Story workshops x 3
  CUFWRT402A- 4
 Week 14
(16 May)
 Sourcing: The Story Within
Extended Story Structure: Emotion - Beyond Story
Reading/Reports: Tom Hanlin, Colm Toíbín, Adrian Martin
Story workshops x 3

CUFWRT402A - 4
 Week 15
(23 May)
 Sourcing: Family Ties/Valued Objects
Extended Story Structure: dramatic action
Reading/Reports: Writing For Children
  CUFWRT402A - 4
 Week 16
(30 May)
 Sourcing: True Crime
Extended Story Structure: Climax, Crisis
Reading: Australian Police Journal

  CUFWRT402A - 4
 Week 17
(6 June)
 Assessment and review  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

The Storytelling Course Reader 2011 will be available early in the semester.


Extracts, readings and additional references are provided throughout the course. In addition to hard copy handouts, some readings are made available on Blackboard, and others can be accessed via the web. Recommended books will be discussed in class. You are advised to visit Blackboard for ongoing updated information

Other Resources

Students will require access to a word processing program and the facility to print hard copies of stories for workshopping. These are also available in the Carlton Library

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester. Your knowledge and understanding of course content is assessed through participation in class exercises, workshopping, oral presentations and through the application of learned skills and insights to your writing tasks.


Assessment Tasks

This course will be delivered and assessed in conjunction with Write Extended Stories .You will be assessed on your knowledge and ability to write simple stories that engage the target audience and meet the requirements or purpose of a storytelling concept, brief or project. To demonstrate competency, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.

Assessment Tasks:
Assessment for this course involves writing 3 stories. Archetypal stories (the prodigal son), myths (Oedipus) and fairy tales (Cinderella) are useful starting points for new stories. However, adaptations from works by an author other than yourself will not be accepted.

1. Story 1: A Fairy Tale: A Magical Object or Happening
(1500 words) Due in class of week beginning March 14

30% of total mark

2. Story 2: The Extraordinary within the Ordinary
(2000 words) Due in class of week beginning April 11

30% of total mark

3. Story 3: A Suspenseful Tale
(2500 words) Due in class of week beginning May 16
30% of total mark

4. Workshopping
10% of total mark

Grades used in this course are as follows:

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

For further details on these assessment tasks and the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration

Other Information

Copyright and Ethics:
This course offers you an opportunity to create your own work, and as a result, generate copyright. Ideas cannot be copyrighted; however, they can be honoured and acknowledged. In this course, you will share ideas constantly. Students are expected to act responsibly and generously in this process. If you wish to adapt another’s idea, seek their permission first.

You will receive spoken and/or written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

RMIT has a strict policy on plagiarism. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Special consideration Policy (Late Submission)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Please refer to the following URL for extensions and special consideration:;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y;STATUS=A;PAGE_AUTHOR=Andrea%20Syers;SECTION=1;

Course Overview: Access Course Overview