Advanced Literature and Composition

This course was put together by Rebecca Epperly Wire. You can contact her through the Facebook community group with questions. You can also say thanks to her with a gift.

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Credits: 1

Recommended: 12th

Prerequisite: Literature and Composition 1 & 2,  American Literature, and British Literature

Course Description: Advanced/Honors Literature and Composition will be a guide for you rather than a daily outlined course. This course is for students interested in writing for publication. For this course, you will choose a writing category or genre you would like to pursue. For the first half of the course, you will read examples from your genre (“the best of. . .”) and the latter half of the course will be an extensive writing workshop for that genre.

***NOTE: The various examples and resources offered have not all been checked for content issues. Parents and students will have to make their own choices on what content is appropriate for them.***

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Semester 1

Pick an area of writing that you are most interested in pursuing. Begin to compile your reading list from the provided links. Try to choose from a variety of authors and styles. You should be sure to include some from the last twenty years even though many will not be available for free online. You will be spending the first half of this school year reading as many examples of what is considered the best in your area. Why? Because to be a great writer you have to read great writing. The second half of the year you will be writing with the intent to publish.

You should read 40-60 minutes a day.

Make a daily log of what you read.


  1. National Book Award Winners for Poetry
  2. James Laughlin Award Winners
  3. The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Winners
  4. Academy of American Poets Fellowship Winners
  5. Popular Poems to Teach (This is a great list of some well-known authors and their “signature” works.)
  6. William Wordsworth
  7. Walt Whitman
  8. Langston Hughes
  9. Robert Frost
  10. Shel Silverstein
  11. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  12. Maya Angelou
  13. Emily Dickinson
  14. William Shakespeare
  15. W.B. Yeats

Children’s Literature

  1. NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children (Look through the list of past winners)
  2. National Book Award Winners for Children’s Literature
  3. Newberry Medal & Honor Books
  4. Children’s Notable Books (Awarded by the American Library Association)
  5. 100 Great Children’s Books (Compiled by the New York Public Library)
  6. Look over Reading Lists from elementary and middle grades within Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.
  7. Brown Girl Dreaming (Kindle Version) by Jacqueline Woodson (won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the 2015 Coretta Scott King Book Award and was named a 2015 Newbery Honor Book)
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  9. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
  10. Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
  11. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  12. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  13. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  14. Island of the Blue Dolphins (Kindle Version) by Scott O’Dell (Newbery Medal (1961), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1961)
  15. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Drama – Playwriting & Screenwriting

  1. Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winners Database
  2. Tony Awards (Past Winners for Best Play)
  3. Goodreads Top 100 Stage Plays of All Time
  4. The 50 Best Plays of The Past 100 Years
  5. 101 Greatest Screenplays
  6. Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Othello, etc. by William Shakespeare
  7. Antigone by Sophocles
  8. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  9. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  10. Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller – Kindle Version
  11. Our Town by Thornton Wilder – Kindle Version
  12. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry – Kindle Version
  13. Gone With The Wind
  14. Groundhog Day
  15. Schindler’s List

Fiction (Short Story & Novel)

  1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Kindle Version)
  2. Ray Bradbury Collection (Kindle Version)
  3. Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  5. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  7. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Kindle Version)
  9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Kindle Version)
  10. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  11. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  12. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (Kindle Version)
  13. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Kindle Version)
  14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Kindle Version)
  15. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (Kindle Version)

Genre Specific Fiction (Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Western, Historical Fiction, Fantasy , Science Fiction, etc.)

Note: There are many sub-genres and stories will overlap across genres sometimes. These lists are just to give you an idea of possibilities.


  1. The Edgar Award Winners for Best Mystery Novels
  2. The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
  3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Kindle version)
  4. The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
  5. Hardy Boys (any in the series) – Kindle versions
  6. Nancy Drew Mysteries – (Kindle versions)
  7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (Kindle version)
  8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  9. The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green
  10. Mistress of Mellyn (Kindle Version) by Victoria Holt
  11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Conan Arthur Doyle
  12. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Conan Arthur Doyle
  13. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
  14. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
  15. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson


  1. Romance Writers of America RITA Award Winners
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  5. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  6. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
  7. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  8. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  10. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  11. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  12. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  13. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
  14. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  15. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy


  1. Western Writers of America Spur Awards
  2. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Kindle Version)
  3. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (Kindle Version) – Winner of National Book Award for Fiction (1992), National Book Critics Circle Award (1992))
  4. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey Kindle Version
  5. True Grit by Charles Portis (Kindle Version)
  6. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (Kindle Version) – Newbery Honor (1957)
  7. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans (Kindle Version)
  8. Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake (Kindle Version)
  9. The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains by Owen Wister
  10. When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke (Kindle Version)
  11. The Quick and the Dead by Louis L’Amour (Kindle Version)
  12. The Way West by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. (Pulitzer Prize Winner) Amazon
  13. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (Pulitzer Prize Winner) Kindle Version
  14. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  15. The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper

Historical Fiction

  1. Historical Novel Society Awards
  2. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Kindle Version)
  3. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  5. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  8. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Kindle Version)
  9. For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (Kindle Version)
  10. The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller (Kindle Version)
  11. The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (Kindle Version)
  12. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Kindle Version)
  14. Joan of Arc by Mark Twain (Kindle Version)
  15. The Year of the Hangman by Gary Blackwood (Kindle Version)

Fantasy & Science Fiction

  1. Hugo Awards (for excellence in Science Fiction or Fantasy)
  2. The Lord of the Rings (series of 3) by J.R.R. Tolkien (Kindle Version)
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia (series of 7) by C.S. Lewis (Kindle Version)
  4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Kindle Version)
  6. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  7. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Amazon)
  8. The Once and Future King by T.H. White (Kindle Version)
  9. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  10. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  11. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Kindle Version)
  12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Kindle Version)
  13. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  14. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  15. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Kindle Version)

Non-Fiction Categories:


  1. PBS NewsHour Extra
  2. Christian Science Monitor
  3. George Polk Awards for Journalism Past Award Winners (scroll down to find articles written by past winners)
  4. The Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing (scroll down to find articles written by past winners).
  5. The Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting (scroll down to find articles written by past winners).
  6. The Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting (scroll down to find articles written by past winners).
  7. The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting (scroll down to find articles written by past winners).
  8. Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism (The winners from past years are listed on the right.)
  9. The Livingston Awards for Young Journalists
  10. Online Journalism Awards (The winners from past years are listed on the left.)

Blogging and Review Writing

  1. The Best Author Blogs
  2. Ned Erickson’s Blog
  3. A Daily Dose of Grace
  4. New York Times Book Reviews
  5. NPR Book Reviews
  6. Barnes & Nobles Reviews & Essays

Technical Writing Areas

  1. Washington University’s Technical Writing Awards
  2. Grant Proposal Writing: Examples

Semester 2

For the remainder of this course you will be working toward writing and publishing in your chosen area. Use the provided links and resources as a “how to” guide for your work.

Your goal now is to write forty minutes to an hour a day. Just write and write and don’t give up. You can edit after you have the words down, but you have to get them down first. You can use the links below to get basic outline ideas of how to get started in most of the areas. Don’t spend more than a few days to a week looking through the links below before you get started writing.

Remember what you have been reading. Hopefully you’ve formed some ideas of what you want to pursue. Don’t write for the contests below. Write your best and what you’re most interested in. Once you’ve written something worth reading, then you can start looking at places to submit it. You can even publish your work yourself and see it in print. But you have to write something first!

Be careful of gimmicks and unrealistic promises when you are considering submitting your work. Entry fees for publishing award competitions are reasonable, but complete your own research into organizations before you take action. You should look through some of the award programs listed below and see where you may be eligible to submit your own work to these competitions.

If you win a contest or get something published, please let us know. Now write!

Also, continue your daily log, just jot down what you accomplished each day.

Writing in General

  1. How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book
    • Easy Peasy has lessons on writing a book starting at Day 142 and Day 152.
    • Youtuber who talks about writing novels. Click on her name to get to her channel to see more. This playlist is about the science behind why some stories are successful and others fail.
  2. Know Your Genre Before You Write
  3. Know Your Setting
  4. How to Write Great Dialogue Part 1
  5. How to Write Great Dialogue Part 2
  6. How to Write Effective Supporting Characters
  7. Becoming Your Own Editor
  8. Publishing Your Writing – Colorado State University Writing Guide
  9. Create Space – This is completely free self publishing. See your book in print!
  10. Freelance Writing: Writing Contests
  11. Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition


  1. How to Write Poetry
  2. Writing Poetry
  3. 5 Ways: How to Write a Poem
  4. 36 Poetry Writing Tips
  5. 10 Essential Rules of Poetry
  6. Top 10 tips for being a successful poet
  7. Publishing 101 for Poets (video presentation)
  8. Academy of American Poets – Writing & Publishing FAQs
  9. Publish your poetry with the Walt Whitman Award
  10. Prose’s $100 Challenge of the Week

Children’s Literature

  1. Step-by-Step How to Write a Children’s Book
  2. The ABCs of Writing For Kids
  3. Top Ten Writing Mistakes Made By New Children’s Writers
  4. Writing the Modern Fairy Tale: Use a Twist
  5. 20 Tips for Writing Children’s Books
  6. Dos and Don’t s of Writing for Children
  7. Six Steps to Make Your Children’s Story Shine
  8. KidLit411
  9. New Voices Children’s Literature Contest
  10. Friends of American Writers Chicago Awards: Young People’s Literature Contest

Drama – Playwriting & Screenwriting

  1. How to Write a Play
  2. Playwriting 101
  3. The Writing Center at UNC – Chapel Hill: Drama
  4. Scriptwriting Essentials
  5. Structuring a Scene
  6. How to Create Characters
  7. Building a Plot
  8. How to Write an Unforgettable Scene
  9. Screenwriting Resources  – Click on Formatting Guide
  10. The Top 12 Screenwriting Contests

Fiction (Short Story & Novel)

  1. Snowflake Method
  2. 7 Things that Will Doom Your Novel
  3. Writing the Perfect Scene
  4. The Writing Center at UNC- Chapel Hill: Fiction
  5. How to Write Fiction that Feels Real
  6. Questionnaires for Writing Character Profiles
  7. The 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes (& How to Fix Them)
  8. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University (This site contains tons of articles on every step of the writing process.)
  9. Young Lion’s Fiction Contest
  10. Nelson Algren Short Story Award

Genre Specific Fiction (Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Western, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, etc.)

  1. Writing A Fantasy Novel: Useful Websites
  2. How to Write a Mystery Novel
  3. How to Write Historical Fiction
  4. Writing Steampunk: Plots, Characters, Settings & More
  5. 9 Tricks to Writing Suspense Fiction
  6. How to Write Science Fiction
  7. W.Y. Boyd Literary Award Contest for Excellence in Military Fiction
  8. Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Non-Fiction Categories:


  1. How to Write a News Story
  2. How to Write an Article
  3. American Press Institute’s Journalism Essentials
  4. Georgia Virtual Learning: Journalism
  5. Journalism and Journalistic Writing
  6. Amy Awards

Blogging and Review Writing

  1. The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill: Blogs
  2. 50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day
  3. The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill: Book Reviews
  4. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

Technical Writing Areas

  1. The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill: Grant Proposals
  2. Tips for Writing & Submitting Good Grant Proposals
  3. Grant Writing 101: Resources for Grant Writers
  4. Writing the Scientific Paper

Say thanks to Rebecca, the course creator, with a gift