Master the Art of Story!

Okay, so you’re a writer.

Probably a good writer. And you’ve always known you could do more with your talent, but you’re also artistic enough to recognize that your work isn’t as good as it could be.

So what’s missing?

The problem is, you’ve been surrounded by good stories all your life, but no one has ever explained how they work. 

Story is an emotional language—like music. It operates by principles that strike at our shared humanity.

Unfortunately, these principles are rarely explained.

A Proven Process

I love explaining the hidden principles of Story. In fact, I spend the first quarter of the One Year Novel course unpacking what I call “the five elements of story” and explaining how they intersect with an audience’s expectations and the writer’s creativity.

When you open a novel, turn on an audio book, or sit down in a movie theater, you’re looking for something. Yes, you want to be entertained. But you want more than that. You want a story that feels like a story. Something that moves you. Something that holds up a mirror to your life.

To put it another way, you’re looking for the five elements of story: Someone to Care About. Something to Want. Something to Dread. Something to Suffer. And Something to Learn.

These are the core principles of the One Year Novel writing course, and the primary way we create stories that matter.

It's All About Meaning

Stories that matter are what led me on a personal quest to unlock the principles used by the great storytellers. 

After earning my Master's degree in Creative Writing, I spent twenty years studying Story from many different angles. I wrote for a newspaper, for the stage, for television, for radio, for comic books. I wrote an award-winning series of novels, and did ghost-writing for a best-selling author.

What I discovered continues to amaze me.

Story is not about rules. It’s not even about words.

It’s about meaning.


There are lots of great writing teachers out there. And lots of great books about writing. I have shelves of them!

But I guarantee you won’t find another course or workshop that provides so much in-depth instruction, or that reveals the foundational principles of Story in such a clear and illuminating way.

In fact, if I could go back in time and trade everything I learned in my college writing classes for the content presented in OYN, I wouldn’t hesitate.

At $297, the course costs less than a single class at your local community college, yet provides exponentially greater return. Moreover, this course has been used for years at the university level as a 200-level writing program.

Many of my students have told me that The One Year Novel has transformed their writing and reshaped their experience as storytellers.

Are you ready to master the art of Story?

Here are just a few of the topics covered:

  • The five elements of Story
  • The three plots, and how they are woven through resolution
  • Ideals as the building blocks of Theme
  • Types of characters: Hero, Villain, Love, Ally, Mentor
  • Three levels of Conflict
  • Disasters and Dilemmas
  • How to use three-Act structure
  • Building scenes around a change of values
  • Modes of writing: Summary, Detail and Dialogue
  • Narrative Order (when to tell what)
  • Creating the illusion of reality


2 Convenient Payment Options

Your Instructor

Author / Instructor

Daniel Schwabauer

Daniel Schwabauer, M.A., has taught creative writing to thousands of students. His professional work includes stage plays, radio scripts, short stories, newspaper columns, comic books, and scripting. His young adult novels, Runt the Brave, Runt the Hunted, and The Curse of the Seer have received numerous awards, including the 2005 Ben Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Children’s Literature and the 2008 Eric Hoffer Award. He graduated from the Master's program in Creative Writing, at the University of Kansas, in 1995.

Writing Myths

Don't let these keep you from writing your novel!

Myth #1
It's too late to develop my writing ability.
It’s said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today. This is true for learning to write; TODAY is a great day to start.
Myth #2
All writing classes are basically the same.
To be sure, there are many excellent teachers in the world, and some of them teach writing. As with anything else, finding the good ones can be difficult.
Myth #3
I can figure out this stuff by myself.

This isn’t always a myth, but it is misleading. The question is, how much time, money, and emotion will you burn through as you try to reinvent the wheel?

30-Day Guarantee!

If you aren't delighted with this program, simply let me know within 30 days, and I'll cheerfully refund your payment. Guaranteed!


  • When does the course start?

    You may enroll at any time and complete the course at your own pace.

  • How long will I have access?

    Your access will never expire. Although the course is designed to be completed in about 6 months, many students return to the lessons again and again.

  • How long does each lesson take?

    You work at your own pace. The video lessons average around 15 minutes. Add in the text lessons, readings, workbook, brainstorming, and rough draft writing, and you can expect to complete any given lesson in 60–90 minutes.

  • Will I really finish a novel through this program?

    Provided you follow the coursework, yes. In fact, thousands of people have used this method to write novels and learn the language of Story.

  • What if I’m unhappy with the course?

    Let me know within 30 days, and I will cheerfully refund your money.

  • Who should take this program?

    Fiction writers and anyone interested in learning how stories work.

It works!

I Owe My Success to Your Instruction!

Ryan Christiansen, Dept. of English, North Dakota State University

I wanted to send a note of thanks for the hard work you put into developing the One Year Novel writing curriculum. I used your program's principles to write my thesis, a novel, in pursuit of my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree. That thesis was published in trade paperback by a university press in 2015. I am now a full-time professor, and I'm using your curriculum to teach novel-writing to undergraduate students; they are completing the curriculum in one semester instead of one year, with the goal of writing a 7,800-word-or-more novelette. I am doing the same work as my students and I'm writing a new novel, as well. What a great experience! I owe my success in creative writing to your instruction!

Invaluable in Shaping My Understanding of Story!

Addison Lucchi, MLIS, MBA

The One Year Novel course was invaluable in shaping my understanding of Story—not only in terms of creative writing, but also in how narrative impacts my work as a librarian and educator. The course has provided me with the conceptual framework from which to apply story structure to my understanding of pedagogy, leadership, and student/faculty development. It is like no other writing program I've experienced. It not only teaches its material in a way that is thoroughly effective, but also inspires writers with a sense of adventure. I enthusiastically recommend One Year Novel as a course that will increase your understanding of Story—while also enlivening your writing process. It couples academic excellence with wonder and creativity.

Highly Useful and Adaptable

Brynn Fitzsimmons, University of Kansas, Chancellor's Fellow

One of my favorite parts about this curriculum has been how versatile it is. The concepts are simply articulated in ways that help you think, rather than giving you answers. Yet, the textbook and workbook offer just enough structure and scaffolding to help you find the steps that will work for you. The lessons are highly useful and adaptable for everything from personal novel writing to teaching narrative in freshmen composition courses to working with writers in informal, community settings. The concepts are simple, but nuanced enough to provoke deeper thought and discussion.

I Wandered Aimlessly in the Wilderness of Creative Writing

Teresa, Writer

You could say I wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of creative writing for forty years before encountering Story Coach. Most stories I started, I never finished. Others I actually did finish, but they were never good enough to publish, and, not having any guidance or direction on how to improve them, I shoved them away never to be looked at again. Story Coach has been truly helpful in enriching my writing experience. It has given me great joy by teaching me that it is possible to finish something I’ve started and showing me what I can do to improve on that work.

One of the highpoints of my personal growth!

Angie, Writer

As a middle-aged parent, I had an unfulfilled dream to write a novel. I just didn’t know where to start! The feeling of being overwhelmed coupled with my history of starting projects and not persevering nearly convinced me that I’d probably never achieve this. HOWEVER I had ordered Daniel's fiction course for teens for my children. As I sat through the videos with them, I became utterly engrossed. Excitement bubbled up as I considered that perhaps I could do this. Long story short – I did! Twice! Daniel breaks things down into easily palatable, super-interesting chunks. The journey was incredible. I consider writing the novel under Daniel’s teaching as one of the high-points of my personal growth and one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I’ve recommended his courses far and wide ever since.


I studied creative writing for eight years in college. I earned my Master's degree, and went on to write award-winning novels, comic books, teleplays, stage plays, radio scripts, and newspaper columns.

But much of what I learned in college was either irrelevant or unhelpful. My formal writing education ignored the importance of Story principles. Instead, we learned how to say nothing in a beautiful way. I realized if I wanted to know how good stories work, I would have to discover the answers myself.

The ensuing 20-year quest has been a fascinating journey. What I've learned has profoundly impacted my writing. That's why I created this program. It's the course I wish someone would have given me.

You don't have to wait years like I did. You can start right now.