Study a creative writing course at home with this great distance learning course.
Are you the next J.K. Rowling, E.L. James, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Stephenie Meyer? You will never find out unless you try!
- Study Creative Writing - self paced, 100 hour studies by distance learning.
- Learn to write better, learn ways to be more creative in your writing.
- Explore opportunities to use your work, and develop your skills professionally.
WHO IS THIS COURSE SUITABLE FOR?
This course is suitable for anyone who wants to improve their writing skills, both professionally or for their own interest. It is suitable for anyone who has a desire to write.
For example -
- Professional Writers wanting to improve and update their skills
- Amateur Writers
- Web development writers
- Content Editors
- Marketing writers
- Article writers
This course is suitable for anyone wanting to improve their existing writing skills or the complete beginner. The only pre-requisite is a love of writing and a desire to improve.
COURSE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
The 10 lessons (including a Special Project) are as outlined below:
Lesson 1. Introduction
- What is creative writing?
- What’s different about creative writing.
- Information and creativity.
- Creative genres.
- Forms of Writing.
- Creative Writing resources.
- What is needed for success.
- The business of writing.
- Getting published.
- Self publishing.
- Vanity publishing.
Lesson 2. Basic Creative Writing Skills
- Words and their proper use.
- Types of language - Informative language, Persuasive, Imaginative, Literal, Figurative, Formal, Colloquial language.
- Parts of language (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, plurals, possessive nouns and pronouns, gender, adjectives, articles).
- Common grammatical errors (fragmented sentences, run on sentences, comma splices, dangling modifiers).
- Run on sentences.
- Irregular verbs.
- Whom or who.
- Pronouns and Antecedents.
- Creating and critiquing.
- Generating ideas.
- Developing ideas.
- Narrative theory.
- Story line.
- Narrative structure.
- Settings or scenes.
- Mood or atmosphere.
- Point of view.
- Creative reading.
Lesson 3. Writing Clearly and Concisely
- Making things clear.
- Slice of life fiction.
- Conciseness and Succinctness.
- Understanding ambiguity.
- Causes of ambiguity.
- Doubt and ambiguity.
- Hinge points and ambiguity.
Lesson 4. Planning What You Write
- Writing routine.
- Establishing a theme.
- Organising ideas.
- Writing a synopsis.
- Developing objectives.
Lesson 5. Writing Fiction
- Common errors.
- Scope or Range.
- Theme problems.
- Authenticity problems.
- Tone problems.
Lesson 6. Writing Non-fiction
- Creative non fiction, scope.
- Developing ideas.
- Story line.
- Classical Development.
- Chronological development.
- Cause and effect.
- Comparison and contrast.
- Developing a profile.
Lesson 7. Newspaper Writing
- What to write, scope.
- News values.
- Writing guidelines.
- Regular columns.
Lesson 8. Writing for Magazines
- Scope of magazine writing.
- What publishers want.
- Magazine articles.
- Travel writing.
- Writing for public relations.
- Selling your work.
Lesson 9, Writing Books
- Getting started.
- Getting a contract.
- Book publishing.
- Non fiction books.
- Fact finding.
Lesson 10 Special Project
- Organising a portfolio to sell yourself.
WHAT YOU WILL DO IN THIS COURSE
Some of the activities and exercises that you will do as part of this course are:
- Analyse three texts to identify their genres, describe their layout, and any key elements.
- Locate a vanity publisher and a well-known publisher and obtain information on their submitting requirements.
- Write part of a newspaper feature article in 3 different ways, using 3 different types of language to create different impressions.
- Critique a piece of your own writing (250 words or more), noting its good points and its weaknesses.
- Develop one short scene for three different storylines, letting the setting, characters, dialogue and action show what is happening, what might have gone before and what might follow.
- Make notes on two authors' uses of concealing and revealing (transparency and ambiguity), and analyse their effectiveness in each case.
- Describe a place or person in your life from two completely different perspectives.
- Rewrite an assignment in a different voice.
- Use de-familiarisation to make a common object appear mysterious, or dangerous, or alien.
- Discuss the organisation of texts, considering why the authors might have organised their texts this way, and discuss how the structures contribute to the overall effectiveness of the text.
- Write a first draft in 3 hours, without editing.
- Edit the draft for structure, clarity, flow of ideas, content, mood, voice etc.
- Edit 3 items of your writing (include one short story) for clarity and succinctness; explain your changes.
- Research likely publishers for one of your stories and submit it.
- Construct outlines of fiction stories using the first and last sentences of published works.
- List 3 possible non-fiction writing projects for specific publishers, and explain your choices.
- Write three outlines for non-fiction pieces, modelled on the outlines of your three creative writing readings.
- Interview someone in preparation for writing a profile on that person. Explain why you think that person might be of interest to others.
- Describe elements and forms of creative writing.
- Develop skills that will help a writer generate, evaluate and communicate ideas in creative writing.
- Discuss the functions of clear writing, and the art of revealing and concealing in writing.
- Establish theme and structure as planning tools.
- Identify and discuss various forms of fiction writing and publishing opportunities.
- Analyse different non-fiction genres to determine key elements and strategies.
- Analyse different forms of creative writing commonly found in newspapers.
- Analyse magazine articles to determine what makes a good feature article.
- Discuss the main elements of book writing, including theme, organisation, and weaving different narrative threads into a unified whole.
- Prepare a portfolio of creative writing ready for submission and of future ideas.
HOW TO WRITE CREATIVELY
People often struggle with creative writing. Getting started is the hardest part of the task.
Try following these guidelines:
- Relax before starting. It is difficult to write if you are stressed physically or mentally.
- Go for a walk, or do some other exercise; make sure your body is fed and hydrated (don’t over eat though). Clear your mind of any distracting thoughts (Some people watch TV, others have a sleep or meditate). Find what works for you and use it to clear the mind before writing. Be in the best physical condition, and your mind will be in the best position to write.
- Sit down at your desk and don’t get up until you have written something. It is better to develop a habit of writing poor material, then work on improving your quality; than developing a habit of never getting started.
- Write about what you know. This is important when you first start. As your experience and confidence builds, you can move onto other things.
- Capitalize on your passions. It is always easier to write about things you are passionate about. This may be people, pets, experiences, places, experiences, causes or something else.
- Let emotions and imagination run free. Creative writing becomes more creative when you loosen up your thinking, become more radical and less constrained by rules of writing. You can always tidy up grammar and spelling (or anything else), later.
- Visualize what you want to communicate. Close your eyes if need be and imagine what you are writing about; then write what you imagine.
- Have the right mindset. Both your conscious and sub conscious mind need to be viewing anything you write as a “work in progress”. Creativity is easily diminished when you are trying too much to produce “finished” work.
THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO DEVELOP A STORY
There are many different techniques for weaving stories. The trick is to find out what works for you. The following are brainstorming exercises to help you weave together the various characters and emotions in your story.
Ideally, your stories should be able to be read on a number of levels. On one level it may be a simple story about the main character and what happens to them. On another level it may be making a point about a specific issue. On the third level it may also be a commentary on the society or community in which the story is set.
A Dialectical Approach
This approach was popular with the writers of ancient Greece. Plato for example, developed stories and wrote in this way.
This type of writing involves 3 steps:
- Thesis. This is the first statement of a proposition (something that is proposed or put forward).
- Antithesis. This is putting forward the opposite of the original proposition. At this point, there is a contradiction established in the story and, obviously, a need has developed for that contradiction to be resolved.
- Synthesis. Here the original proposition and the contradiction are combined in a way that (in dramatic writing) is largely unexpected.
This way of writing follows a “law of movement” which states that as things progress in a story, everything negates itself. What you think is correct becomes incorrect, and what you think is incorrect becomes correct.
It’s a little like debating. You put forward an argument. You counter that argument and you try to come to a resolution. With storytelling however, focus is on the characters having the debate rather than the debate itself; which remains nestled in the sub-text of the story.
A Transitional Approach
Key moments of transition in a character’s life are a good source of drama and often drive the plot. A story without transition is not very engaging. Readers want authors to take them on a journey. They feel that if they can understand what might make a story character change, then they might understand something more about humanity. On a subconscious level this addiction to story is driven by the need to understand people’s behaviour. In this way, a good story offers readers not just the opportunity to experience the world from someone else’s perspective but also to learn something about themselves.
How Character Affects Plot
Character affects plot in a number of ways:
Ask yourself – “If I was in this situation, what are the issues that would need to be resolved before I could get out of it?”
Physical character traits and how they can affect plot e.g. someone with a twitch who accidentally twitches at an inappropriate moment. ‘The Elephant Man’ plot is entirely driven by a character’s physical traits.
The main characters provide a central focus to a plot.
HOW THE COURSE WORKS
You can start the course at any time.
It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies. Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way. If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.
Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor. The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.
WHERE CAN THIS COURSE LEAD?
Learning to write well can help with every aspect of your life. It can get you out of sticky situations, help you to better express your views and improve your employment prospects.
OUR STUDENTS SAY
"I found the course to be extremely helpful. It has given me the confidence and skills to present my work to publishers."
"I commenced the Creative Writing Course with the ACS having had no prior experience in this field whatsoever. Having always been in accounting or payroll jobs, I decided to give the course a go.The course demonstrated to me what I enjoyed writing about, the types of writing I was good at, and not so good at. It broadened my horizon to show me what was out there to write about. It gave me knowledge and confidence. I have continued to write, and in the future want to commence with the next course, but in the meantime, I have submitted various articles of mine to some magazines and have had nothing but positive feedback from all the editors and some of my work is to be published!! Which I personally feel is fantastic as I have only been doing this for a year or so. Thank you for opening up a whole new world of creativity to me which I can only enhance upon!"
ARE YOU KEEN TO WRITE?
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword! If you are keen for a change of career or simply wish to nurture your creative side then this Creative Writing Course is for you.
Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.
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