Centre for Continuing Education

Creative Writing Course: Masterclass

Creative writing. Express yourself with the written word.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

This practical and inspiring course is for anyone who wants to kick-start, or deepen, their writing. Take a break to share daily writing exercises in the company of other apprentice writers and hear some bright ideas about writing beautifully.

This workshop is open to writers of all levels. Although it focuses mostly on fiction, it looks at creative writing of all kinds, including memoir and poetry. The program introduces some ideas about creativity, composition, style, plotting, planning, editing and publishing. You will have a chance to share pieces of writing you’ve composed, thoughts about your writing progress and your responses to the daily readings. Each session, we will work on writing exercises. Some of these will take the group outside, into the grounds of the University of Sydney.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • grow beginnings toward completed works of literary art
  • employ more sophisticated understandings of syntax, rhythm, metaphor and prosody
  • target your writing to meet the demands of different genres and markets
  • finish pieces of poetry and prose toward a level suitable for publication
  • develop a sustainable creative writing practice.


The Self escaping onto the page

  • How to write the work that only you can
  • How to tell your readers secrets
  • How to write what you have to say the way it’s never been written before
  • How to dramatise – not summarise
  • How to write with narrative flow and lyric flourish
  • How to use the disciplines of style to lead you deeper into your unique self and out into the inner life of the actual world beyond the self
  • How to tell it start to finish and years later

Xing – the voice and the place

  • How to write the world of the self and the self of the world
  • Place literacy and self-literacy
  • The power of rhythm
  • Wisdom and metaphor
  • Imagery – how to make it sing
  • How to foreground the background

Craft and style

  • The art of the impossible
  • The musical arrangement of passionate fact
  • Crowding and leaping
  • The real book is what you leave out
  • The art of slowness
  • The 3 Ds of literature: data, deal, devices of creative writing
  • Freeing language from writing
  • More talk; less chat

Order and disorder

  • Literature forgives us for being human. It writes the contradictions
  • Write your affections, afflictions, addictions
  • The power of form
  • The uses of the mind-map
  • Discovering what you need to write by writing

What now?

  • Some tips on getting finished, getting help and getting published
  • Discovering a writing practice that fits your life
  • Writing resilience

Intended audience

This masterclass targets writers in all creative genres who are already at work on a book or writing project. It also caters for early stage writers who have undertaken an entry-level workshop or writing program.

Delivery style

This workshop uses the approach of the masterclass, making a close reading of pieces of writing you have already embarked upon, as well as prose or poetry you make in response to prompts from the facilitator. It combines discussion of advanced writing techniques, with insightful analysis and editing of student writing, led by the facilitator, an award-winning poet and prose writer, of student writing.


Course notes will be provided electronically.

Recommended reading

Dillard, A 1989, The Writing Life, Harper Collins, New York.

Le Guin, U 1998, Steering the Craft, Eight Mountain Press, Portland.

Orr, G 2002, Poetry as Survival.

Strunk, W & White, E B 2000, The Elements of Style, 4th edition, Allyn & Bacon, Boston.

Zinsser, W 1998, On Writing Well, 6th edition, Harper Collins, New York.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • The standard of the tutor’s teaching was exceptional, and the room off the Quadrangle an ideal venue.

  • Excellent educational methodology. The tutor is to be commended for their skill and knowledge.

  • The presenter is brilliant – talented both as a creative writer as well as a business (functional) writer which is what attracted me to the course. Best of all, they are an amazing teacher who is able to explain everything writing and grammar related through being very approachable. Time was taken to critique every piece as though it were the tutor’s own and they explained their editing process which was very valuable. The course also attracted an amazing and diverse group of people who I hope to stay in contact with and continue sharing our work (we’ve already started via a group email thread). Looking forward to doing another course next year now my interest in poetry has been ignited. A truly inspirational tutor leading a beautiful course.

  • Very fortunate to be a participant in this group... stimulating and supportive. Valued the presenter’s advice and inspirational teaching.

  • The tutor has really inspired me to write my children’s books. I am very grateful. I gained much confidence, and now think about each sentence when I write.

  • This course was so inspiring and helpful and the presenter was just amazing!

  • As always, the presenter is very approachable, knowledgeable and engaged. His feedback on everyone’s work was excellent, teaching good critiquing and editing skills.

  • What a wonderful opportunity to work with one of the world’s great poets. Also the participants were so interesting and from such a variety of backgrounds. A very rich and rewarding experience. Thank you. I will be attending more of these classes.

  • To spend a week with one of our great literary geniuses and have him actually trying to help you is a sublime experience. The course was magnificent.

  • One of the best teachers I’ve come across. I am long in the tooth, and generally highly critical, so believe me when I say this is high praise. I learned more this week than I have for years.

What others say.

  • The tutor has really inspired me to write my children's books. I am very grateful. I gained much confidence, and now think about each sentence when I write.
  • Very fortunate to be a participant in this group... stimulating and supportive. Valued the presenter's advice and inspirational teaching.
  • This course was so inspiring and helpful and the presenter was just amazing!
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