If you're a lover of words, at some point you might decide to explore writing fiction. Perhaps you've been scribbling out short stories for years, or you may have suddenly developed an itch to tell tales. In any case, taking a course is a great way to start you off or round out your skills.
We offer quite a few courses on creative writing here at The Australian Writers' Centre. So, how do you know which is the right one for you?
We sat down with our Course Concierge, Sarah Jordan, to find out the answers to all your questions.
I'm a total beginner
If you haven't written very much before (or you’re looking to reignite that spark), then you’ll love Creative Writing Stage 1. It’s one of our most popular courses and allows you to explore your creative side or take that first step with your story idea. You’ll discover the fundamental building blocks of the writing craft, and you’ll also get to put your new skills into practice with the help of an expert tutor. Basically, it's an unparalleled combination of practical lessons and personalised feedback. Working with experts in the industry such as Pamela Freeman, Angela Slatter, Annabel Smith and Nicole Hayes, you will come together with other like-minded creatives to hone your craft, flex your writing muscles, and be inspired. We’re thrilled that so many of our graduates have followed their dream to become published authors – and quite often, it all started with Creative Writing Stage 1.
I love writing short stories
Look no further than Short Story Essentials. Not only will you uncover the secrets to gripping, compelling short-form fiction, you’ll also receive a personalised assessment on a completed short story at the end from fiction editor, Cathie Tasker. There is so much valuable content jam-packed into this self-paced course – your storytelling skills and imagination will thank you.
I want to be the next J.K. Rowling
If you're keen to write for kids, you’ve come to the right place. We have courses to suit every type of children’s book.
A great place to start is How to Write for Children and Young Adults. This is for anyone who wants to write fiction for readers aged 8 to 18, so everything from middle grade, to tweens and teenagers and beyond. There is a real art to writing compelling books that younger readers devour – and this course provides you with the techniques to get there.
For those who want to focus on writing for the tiny tots, there's our Writing Picture Books course. These are the books that are usually read to children by an adult – the word count is small, and the illustrations work hand-in-hand to tell the story. They’re deceptively simple on the surface but so much thought goes into every page. Our comprehensive course will take you through not only the skills you need, but also how the whole industry works. There is no other course like it in Australia.
For newly independent readers, we have Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds. Kids in this age group can be voracious readers and become addicted to their favourite chapter book series. To write a winning story, your language choices are super important, and the themes need to resonate. Presented by internationally-published children’s author Lesley Gibbes, this course will show you how to develop a series, create riveting story arcs, and discover what exactly publishers are looking in a manuscript.
I want the convenience of online learning
Our online courses are great as they allow you plenty of time to absorb information. Our tutor-led online courses provide you with an intimate classroom experience, interaction with other students, and expert guidance from our presenters with the flexibility to fit it into your schedule. You’ll be able to workshop your writing and receive feedback, plus you'll also develop your own critiquing skills.
There are some key areas I’d love to improve
Our Fiction Essentials courses are essentially a writers' gym. If you’ve got the foundation skills, but some of your techniques need a bit of work, then these excellent courses will strengthen your skills and propel you to the next level. Are you struggling to develop your Characters? Is your Dialogue feeling a bit flat? Has your critiquing partner mentioned that your Point of View is inconsistent? These self-paced courses are designed to help you hit that a-ha! moment and really transform your writing. They're a brilliant resource to go back to again and again. You can start anytime and can take up to 12 months to finish your course. Listen to the audio on your commute, read through the handouts during your lunch break, or set aside a few days to work through the materials at home.
I have foundation skills – now I need help with my manuscript
Serious about writing a novel? Our Novel Writing Essentials course will help you write your opening chapters through the power of group workshopping. It’s the ideal course for those who already have the core fiction writing techniques under their belt – but now need the support to write their book (and want to avoid the pitfalls that often trip up writers). From there with your first 20,000 words, you’ll be perfectly placed to apply for Write Your Novel – the most powerful program to get you to The End. Many of our students have found these courses so instrumental in helping them write their book, that they complete them multiple times, for every new draft or story. And the publishing success we’ve seen from our graduates has blown us away.
I just need motivation to write
Did you used to write when you were younger, but just lost that writing habit? Kickstart your creativity with the Creative Writing 30-day Bootcamp. Maintaining a regular writing routine is easier than you think and you’ll suddenly find those pockets of productive time in your day. And best of all, after 30 days, you'll have written 10,000 words. Amazing.
If you have a good grasp of fiction techniques and know that you can achieve so much more with a group of other writers around you – check out our Writing Workout. Over six fortnightly sessions on Zoom, you'll be able to hone your writing skills, receive feedback and experiment with scenes and characters with an expert presenter by your side. It's an amazing way to gain motivation and meet new friends.
I have no idea if I want to write
Maybe people tell you that you're a great storyteller, or perhaps you woke up this morning with a brilliant idea for a book. If you literally have no idea how to begin, then it's time to Reinvent Yourself. Should you write fiction or non-fiction? What audience do you want to write for? Can you actually make money as a writer? Created by Valerie Khoo, host of our So you want to be a writer podcast (and CEO of AWC), Reinvent Yourself will help you to figure out the EXACT steps you need to take to become a writer. It’s the roadmap Valerie wished she had when she first decided to change careers and pursue her passion to write.
Still not sure which course is right for you? Have a chat with Sarah about your goals. She loves helping people to achieve their writing dreams. Click on the Help button in the bottom right to send us a message or email [email protected].