Centre for Continuing Education

Creative Writing Course: Masterclass

Creative Writing. Express yourself with the written word.

Develop your creative style the smart way with Creative Writing courses at the University of Sydney.

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. Participants have a chance to share pieces of writing they’ve composed, thoughts about their writing progress, and their responses to the daily readings. Each session, too, the class will work on writing exercises. Some of these will take the group outside into the grounds and surrounds of the University of Sydney campus.


This creative writing course emphasises the importance of finding one’s voice, of crafting stylish sentences and composing cohesive works. It also explores ways to deepen one’s creativity and to develop a sustainable writing practice.


Day One: What’s writing for?

  • Introduction.
  • How we will work together
  • The nature of creative writing – how it happens, how it works on a reader
  • How it is less purposive and more like work than we imagine
  • Forget the reader
  • How writing is talking, heightened by art, and set down on paper
  • Why it matters that the writing lasts and the speaking doesn’t
  • How the story’s in the telling not the plot
  • What works and what doesn’t
  • Fiction and nonfiction
  • Voice and self, music and place
  • How the universal speaks out of the particular
  • Compression, density, slowness, speed, hereness, and gaps
  • The art of indirection

Day Two: From a deep place

  • Writing what we don’t know about what we do
  • Writing from the very centre of ourselves, out of everything we are and everywhere we’ve been and whom we’ve been there with
  • The necessary strangeness of one’s own perception and mind and voice
  • Writing from now for all time
  • Glimpse memories
  • Points of view
  • Plot, story, song, narrative, description, exposition

Day Three: The writer’s toolbox

  • Why less is generally more
  • Plain and fancy style
  • How fashionable writing, by definition, goes out of fashion, but stylish writing never does
  • The art of the sentence
  • The intelligent vernacular
  • The elements of style
  • Verbs
  • Rationing your modifiers
  • The secrets of plot and pace and place and speech and character
  • Some prose and poetry forms
  • What you put in and what you leave out
  • "Crowding and leaping"
  • The art of slowness; the art of the gap

Day Four: Wild mind/tidy mind

  • Why form and structure count and how they help
  • Why it’s a good idea to get an idea early of the kind of book or poem, story or essay you’re writing
  • Getting started
  • Keeping going
  • Knowing when you’re done
  • The Tao of the long-distance writer

Day Five: The finish

  • The draft and the many redrafts
  • Editing yourself and being edited
  • Making the work ready to publish
  • How and where and why (and why not) to get published


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • 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.

$495 Limited inc GST
Creative Writing Course: Masterclass

<p>{block name:“Course Tagline - Creative Writing”}</p><p>This practical and inspiring course is for anyone who wants to kick-start, or deepen, their writing. Take a break to share daily writing