Freelance Writer

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Your program consists of six Instruction Sets written to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you'll use in your new career.

Here's how it works
You receive the first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted, and other courses will follow as you complete your exams.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Here is an overview of what you'll learn and the order in which you'll access your lessons:

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: The program goal for Penn Foster's Freelance Writer program is to prepare amateur writers to refine their writing style so they can professionally market their work to publishers.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the stages in freelance writing and publication, including choosing a market, writing an engaging work, and submitting to prospective publishers/publications.
  • Recognize appropriate research techniques for identifying and analyzing the best markets for your writing and to gain information when writing.
  • Comprehend how research can develop and inform writing, and how research sources are appropriately cited.
  • Critique and revise your own writing according to rules of grammar and style in order to create a professional end product.
  • Demonstrate understanding of laws governing writing including copyright and trademark and maintaining careful records of business transactions, contracts, and expenses.
  • Identify your qualifications for a specialized market based on your professional and life experience.

Instruction Set 1

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal. Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers. Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

The Freelance Life
Explains the publishing industry; how to identify staff-written and freelance articles, market a freelance product, submit a professional manuscript, and work with agents and editors.

Instruction Set 2

The Writing Habit, Part 1

Explains how to discover ideas from other articles, identify types of freelance articles, recognize the difference between objective and subjective writing and the essential elements of all objective articles, how to recognize the most marketable types of fiction and keep a notebook or journal for writing projects.

The Writing Habit, Part 2
Review basic grammar elements, learn how to distinguish connotation from denotation, increase your vocabulary, use language effectively, critique and revise your own writing, and write a short feature article.

Supplement: Winning With Words

Instruction Set 3

The Business of Writing
Explains how to generate ideas for articles, understand specialized markets, research markets for your article, write a query letter, understand the copyright laws, set up a home office, keep accurate records of correspondence with editors and publishers, and tax receipts.

Reference Sources for Writers
Learn how to use library resources, search the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature and other resources, recognize the available specialized periodical indices, use professional directories to locate expert sources, contact recognized experts for information and/or interviews, and understand the Internet’s resource potential.

Supplement: Parts of Speech

Instruction Set 4

Reading for Writers (study guide)
Learn to identify writing techniques and structural differences in fiction and nonfiction, trace the genesis of a piece of writing from initial concept to completed work, and how to critique others’ work for structure, focus, and market.

• Pocketful of Prose, Volume II
• Telling Stories / Taking Risks

Supplement: Word Usage

Instruction Set 5

Using the Writer's Market (study guide)
How to quickly find information in the Writer’s Market, understand the terms used in it, how to request writer’s guidelines from publications, locate suitable markets in the guide, and judge the marketability of your work.

Textbook: Writer's Market

Supplement: Sentence Skills

Instruction Set 6

Becoming a Professional
Learn to assemble a writer’s resume, conduct a successful interview, get commissions and assignments from editors, present your manuscript to an editor in a professional manner, supply photographs to accompany articles, guard against accusations of libel, and maintain high ethical and professional standards.

Becoming a Specialist
Discover how to analyze your life and educational experiences, know the requirements of the writing trade and technical publications and house magazines. Learn how and when to specialize in more than one type of freelance writing, how to present editors with credentials qualifying you as an expert in your area, how to discuss your specialty with editors to obtain publication opportunities, and learn what it takes to maintain expertise in your specialty area.

Supplement: The Elements of Style

Once you’ve reached this point in your studies, you’ll be able to choose an area to specialize in and complete a graded assignment. The assignment will be a short article or story, a proposal, outline, or synopsis for a piece that you could send out for publication.

These options are available:

• Option 1: Literary Fiction
The materials include an introduction to fiction, an overview of children’s literature and the short story, and instructions on planning a novel.
• Option 2: Genre Fiction
The materials include an introduction to the fiction genre, and an overview of the mystery, science fiction and fantasy, romance, and horror genres.
• Option 3: Nonfiction
The materials include an introduction to nonfiction, an overview of the essay, feature writing, writing for the media, and writing for business.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.