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SC2008 Ways and Means with Words: A Course in Creative Writing (morning)

Ended 29 Mar 2021

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Full course description

Course Overview

This short course offers direction, impetus and encouragement to writers who want to start the process or expand their portfolio by branching into fiction, poetry, memoir, essay and script writing. The so-called “Writer's Block” will be tackled and participants will be urged to move from the process of writing in isolation to produce readable, cogent and exciting work. Participants will close-read excerpts from stories, poems, articles, essays etc. and share some of the writings they find inspiring. Styles and tone of writing will be compared. Help with story-telling technique, point-of-view, use of the writer’s tools, language - syntax, grammar and avoidance of clichés - will be offered along with regular opportunities to experiment and discuss participants’ work.

Over a period of ten weekly two-hour sessions, participants will acquire new writing skills and improve their craft.  The course will cover factual and fiction writing; it will range over numerous genres and consider the specific demands of writing a story, a poem, memoir and scripts for media. It will encourage and equip writers with technique, and tackle issues such as what to write and “writer's block”.  It will probe options, assist with invention, character portrayal, plot- making, and the writing of dialogue. The course will also examine poetry’s power and debunk some unhelpful myths. Exercises and assignments to “grease the wheels” will be proposed and course participants will be given regular opportunities to experiment, share and discuss their work. The course will also suggest reading material and issue handouts.

This course is ideal for all adults who want to write and to learn more about writing and writers. It’s tailored for beginners as well as for writers already engaged in the process; even ‘wannabe’ writers will find it empowering since the course is all about ‘doing’ i.e. actually writing as much as talking about writing. Although conducted in an uncritical easy-going atmosphere, the demands of writing poems, stories, dialogue will be felt but hopefully enjoyed.

Because the class is limited to a relatively small number (15), every participant has the opportunity to air his/her work and voice opinions: all queries and suggestions are considered in a friendly, lighthearted and encouraging manner and guidance is given even on the basics of writing and communication by means of the written word. The course is suited to all ages. It will be of value to avid readers as well as writers and it will gently persuade participants into print.

Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Mondays 11am-1pm for ten weeks from 25 January to 29 March.


1.   The world of words. What writers say about writing. Ways to start. The writer’s tools. Sampling of genres.
2.   The habit of writing. The use of notebooks. The notion of inspiration.
3.   What to write. Planning and plotting. Triggering exercises.
4.   Unblocking the “block”. Attending to place, memory, details, feelings. Creating credible characters. Play-acting to imagine. Scene-setting.
5.   The nuts and bolts of good writing; a close look at technique. Points of view – who is telling the story? Trusting your narrator.
6.   Minding your language. Finding the right words. Writing to be read. First lines.
7.   Syntax, grammar. The rules and reasons to break them. Ambiguity and context. Striking registers.
8.   Listening to yourself. Style and tone. Emotional accuracy.
9.   Your voice. Your genre/s of choice. Staying on track.
10. Clarity, accuracy, and honesty. Using fact in fiction. Ways into print. Publishing.

Course Lecturer

Colette Olney is a writer who also works in journalism and broadcasting

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: