A few weeks ago a friend called for tea. As I poured the tea from my farmyard-themed teapot, she told me that she was going to be laid up after surgery and rather than drive herself mad, she asked me if I would give her an online version of one of my creative writing courses.
Deeply flattered, I agreed. It was one of those little ideas I had tucked into a dusty file at the back of my mind. Now the time had arrived to bring it into the light of day.
This online creative writing course is almost identical to my ‘real world’ creative writing courses. Only the manner of delivery is different. It’s an ideal option for people who aren’t able to attend a course for various reasons (time commitments, illness, or just plain shyness).
Structure of Course
Like my real world creative writing courses, this is a six week course. The first week is a warm up week, with exercises designed to break the ice and help people tap into their imaginations. The next four weeks cover different writing techniques: character, plot, setting and the senses.
In the final week, I send a template for a story, with different activities to help people come up with the ingredients for that story. I then give feedback on the story and some information about writing resources, so they can decide what steps to take next.
How it’s Delivered
Each week, I send the exercises as an email attachment, which I grandly call packages. Each package contain notes based on the theme of the week, then three or four exercises and some reading suggestions.
I explain the reason why I’m giving this exercise, the skill it will teach and how to do it, and a suggested timeframe for the exercise. Most of them are quite short. The reading suggestion is optional, but relates to the theme of the week.
Timeframe for Delivery
We choose a day to begin the course and the packages will be sent out on that day. People then write their answers by return of email. I don’t insist on deadlines, but I recommend that people do the exercises before I send the next package. I’ll send out the six packages over six weeks, but the person can finish at their own pace.
I will give a comment on each exercise, usually praise, but also techniques about tips you can use for further exercises. For the final story, the person will get a more detailed critique, focusing on their strengths, but also areas where they can improve.
Who Courses Are Aimed At
Both my online and offline courses are aimed at people who have never written before and people who have started to write, but are stuck. My friend signed up for the course for complete beginners, but I can also deliver a course that teaches more advanced techniques like point of view and character status.
For their final assignment, students can send me a piece of writing they’ve been working on and they’ll get a critique. Because it’s an online course, it can be tailored to suit your needs, so if you’re more interested in writing personal essays or memoir, I can tweak the exercises to fit those writing mediums.
Now I’ve done the online course for my friend, I’ve developed a taste for more.