Finding Your Voice 2022
This six-module introductory course has been redesigned to better reflect the most important skills in creative writing. Course content covers finding and developing your own voice, as well as overcoming creative fear. Important writing tools, such as narrative techniques, dialogue, structure and point of view are explored. Extensive notes are provided on writing genres, short stories and novels. By the end of this course, students will have more idea of what genre they wish to write in as well as a good grounding in syntax, style and grammar. Comprehensive workbooks and examples accompany this course, and tutor feedback is given on 18 writing exercises. Students can work in their own time, and at their own pace. There is a monthly Zoom meeting with the tutor for all online students. The course is designed to be completed within three months, but we allow a year to complete the course.
Fees $450 payable by the start of the course. Previous Creative Writing Dunedin students who have completed a full-length course will be given a $50 discount.
Finding Your Voice Programme 2022
Topic One: The Writing Process and Tools of Writing
In this first topic we explore aspects of the writing process. Whenever I give a talk about being a writer, this is what I am always asked. How do you write? Where and when do you write? It’s as if there is some magic to it when mostly writing is a matter of giving yourself time and permission to write and trying not to let the voice of doubt impinge too much.
In Tools of Writing, we deal with the nuts and bolts of writing, namely matters of grammar and sentence construction. In these days of self-publishing, whether it be blogs or books, it’s more important than ever to be able to present a professional piece of writing.
Topic Two: Narrative Technique & Style
In Narrative Technique, we explore some of the most important maxims of creative writing, such as Show Don’t Tell and how to use details to evoke sensory recognition in readers. We also explore the rather slippery aspect of style, i.e., what makes writing unique to you and ways to make your writing sharper and more concise.
Topic Three: Dialogue and Point of View:
This topic focuses on dialogue. Some people have a natural ear for dialogue and find it easy. Other students need a bit of help to get to grips with some of the techniques, mainly making it sound real, even though the dialogue in fiction is usually shorter and leaves out a lot of the commonplace small talk that we have every day.
We also consider point of view or viewpoint. The first decision a writer must make, before the first sentence is put down is person. Deciding who speaks. Third and second person stories are told by an author. First person stories are told by a character. Selecting who you want to tell the story gives the writer a great deal of power and can make a huge difference as to how the story is received by the reader.
Topic Four: Literary Fiction, Design & Beginnings & Endings
In this topic we look at how you might structure a short story or novel so that is has a satisfying arc with tension that is the driving force for the reader.
We also look at where to start and where to finish a short story or a novel. Think about the way you like to start a story and to end it. The most neglected part of a story is often the middle or the saggy middle as they are sometimes called for obvious reasons. If you are inclined towards Literary Fiction we explore some aspects of short stories, flash fiction and novels.
Topic Five: Writing Genre
Now that some of the basics have been established, we look at different genres in writing so that you can start to get a feel for what you want to write. All the genres from crime, to science fiction, horror and romance are covered,
and you will get a chance to try your hand at one.
Topic Six: Metaphor and Developing Your Own Voice
Metaphor is an extension of giving your writing personality, especially if you are able to infuse your metaphors with your unique perspective of the world. Many clichés are metaphors or similes, e.g. good as gold. These are fine when used in dialogue, but are to be avoided in narrative. On the other hand, a well-crafted metaphor helps to develop an original eye.
Developing your own voice is quite difficult to get your head around, as having an original voice is the one thing that can’t be taught. The trick in writing is allowing your personality free rein in your writing even if you are not writing about yourself. Developing your own voice comes with practice and gaining in confidence.