Our flagship Creative Writing Course will appeal to anyone ready to embark on a serious writing project, or who has stalled in the process. it’s designed to teach all the skills you need to write a book, fiction or creative non-fiction, and to get you writing confidently in scenes.
Start 12 October 2020 Johannesburg and 1 June Cape Town
COST R 7 950
Payment plan available for South African residents. Please email us if you’d like to take advantage of this option.
“Ideal for aspiring and established writers looking to refresh and hone their skills.”
Jo-Anne and Richard will help you realise your writing dreams by teaching you the essential writing skills needed to write your book or short story.
All About Writing’s experienced teachers will help you improve your creative writing in a safe and supportive environment.
Receive immediate feedback on eight assignments. Interact with a friendly community of fellow writers.
Satisfy your hunger for creative expression whether, you have serious writing ambitions or simply want to explore your creativity.
How does it work?
- The course was designed by Jo-Anne Richards and Richard Beynon and runs in Johannesburg (facilitated by Richard) and Cape Town (facilitated by Jo-Anne).
- Each of the eight face-to-face sessions tackles a key skill and challenges participants with carefully crafted writing exercises, to which we’ll give immediate feedback.
- We’ll post comprehensive course notes in an online group each week. Participants are encouraged to discuss the modules and to interact between sessions.
- As preparation for the course, you will receive a starter pack, which provides you with the tools to find your own unique voice. It includes techniques to fight self-consciousness and develop the skills of active observation through journaling and free writing.
- Before the course starts you will be given a full resource pack on finding and developing creative ideas.
- Should you miss a session you’ll be able to catch up online. You will receive personal constructive feedback from Richard or Jo-Anne on your assignment.
Each of the modules tackles a key skill and challenges participants with carefully crafted writing exercises and assignments.
The skills focused on are:
- Finding your Voice
- Ideas: where to find and develop them
- Building characters
- Building the narrative
- Writing scenes
- Point of view
- Writing dialogue
- Beginnings, middles and ends
- Creating suspense
- Showing, not telling
A world-class programme, competitively priced
Plumstead, Cape Town
Starts 3 February 2020 * Monday evenings 6 to 9 pm
Starts 3 February 2020 * Monday and Thursday evenings 5.30 to 8.30 pm
I have been a student of Allaboutwriting since 2012, first on the “Intro” course, then the “Creative Writing Course”, and then I progressed to the “Mentoring Course”. Jo-Anne and Richard have taught me the skills needed to write, and in the process we have built up a relationship that I now cannot do without, as I attempt the 3rd draft of my first book.
Frankie Francis, Windhoek
Do you dream about writing a novel? Or perhaps a screenplay? The story of your life? Do you just need a bit of a push, some practical support, the company of writers? Take a look at what Allaboutwriting has to offer. Richard and Jo-Anne are brilliant at what they do. These guys write, that’s the day job, and have been doing so for years. Whatever you need they can help. I can vouch for it. It just takes the click of a finger to start down the writing road.
Margaret Renn, London
Since I completed the Online Creative Writing course, I have experienced actual growth in my writing. I still refer to the modules when reviewing my writing. Jo-Anne and Richard are absolutely wonderful and delightful. They are patient, considerate and their feedback was always on point. Their feedback was insightful. I would highly recommend this course.
Florence Onyanga, Nairobi
All About Writing was founded in 2007 by two writing professionals, novelist Jo-Anne Richards and scriptwriter Richard Beynon. We are passionate about writing and have devised our courses to help communicate that passion – plus the skills that make it all much more than an academic exercise – to others with a similar calling.
Internationally published novelist, Jo-Anne Richards, has published five books and has a PhD in Creative Writing. Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, was originally published by Headline Review in the UK, and has recently been rereleased as one of the prestigious Picador Africa Classics collection.
Scriptwriter, Richard Beynon, has had a long and accomplished career in the film and television industry. He has conceived, shaped and written scores of documentaries, has written over a thousand scripts, and has led numerous storytelling teams in devising story for many of the country’s most popular soaps.
With their combined professional writing experience of over 80 years and decades of teaching experience, you’ll be in very capable hands.
We give you the techniques to fight self-consciousness. Use skills such as free-writing and personal myth-making to develop a unique style and voice. Learn the skills to avoid self-judgment and to write with flair.
How journaling can help your writing. Learn to use personal writing to develop a writer’s consciousness. Start to view the world like a writer, developing the quality of active observation.
MODULE ONE: What is the story?
No matter how plot- or character-driven, every narrative will contain certain elements that we expect of a story. If an element is fudged or, in experimental writing, implied or left out altogether, it needs to be done artfully and for literary effect.
This is equally true for fiction and non-fiction. The successful creative non-fiction writer should be equally concerned with the elements of narrative, constructing a plot through careful selection of the material available to him.
Elbert Hubbard said that life was just one damned thing after another. This is not what we want in a story (nor, in fact, is it the ideal way of looking at life). Every story must have an arc that draws us through it.
MODULE TWO: Building characters (real or fictional)
Characters are the most important part of any narrative. If they don’t hold us, if we don’t find them compelling, we won’t be drawn into their story.
Characters drive plot. The story should flow out of who they are and how they react. As readers, we should believe the story exists because of the people – the way they act, and how they react to events around them. Their reactions should make psychological sense.
We encourage you to look at what makes them tick. Then we transfer that knowledge to the development of characters that stand out from the page. We show you how to build compelling, psychologically believable people.
MODULE THREE: Writing in Scenes
This module deals with the greatly under-rated, hugely important building block of any narrative: the scene.
This is an important skill for writers of fiction and non-fiction. When people talk of creative non-fiction having borrowed from the skills of fiction, this is the most important of them.
What do we mean by “writing in scenes”, and how do we do it? The scene is the most basic element of “showing” rather than “telling”. It eliminates the distance between your reader and the action. It drops readers into the middle of the action – to experience and interpret it for themselves.
If your story is a castle, its scenes are the bricks you will use to construct it.
MODULE FOUR: Point of view
Literary point of view is far more complex than was ever suggested by the grammatical treatment of POV we were taught in school.
The decision you make on point of view is a crucial one. Change point of view and you will fundamentally alter the nature of your work. This module deals with the ways in which different literary POVs can be used, with many examples.
All points of view have advantages and limitations. But even some of those limitations can be used to your advantage. We look at these advantages and limitations in all their complexity.
We show how POV can assist you in fiction and creative non-fiction. We deal with successful perspective switching, unreliable narrators, and some more experimental uses of POV.
MODULE FIVE: Dialogue
A story can succeed or fail on its dialogue. Badly done, it is actively off-putting. Well done, it can take a mediocre story to another level.
We look at the uses of dialogue and how to deploy it most effectively. Dialogue is not speech as it is used in real-life. It is the appearance of real speech. How do you achieve this?
MODULE SIX: Beginnings and Middles
Once you have developed your characters and worked out the elements of your story, you are ready to begin. But where should that be?
This module looks at the importance of the first line, the first page and the first chapter (or equivalent). What are the jobs they should do? How best can they draw readers in and feed them just enough to keep them reading.
Then we look at the book’s basic structure. How can it most successfully be structured? We take a look at some of the basics of keeping a story moving, including how to avoid the dreaded sag, vary your pacing and avoid exposition.
MODULE SEVEN: Suspense
The word “suspense” tends to make us think of plot-driven thrillers. But our definition is wide. We like to see it as anything that draws the reader forward. This is as relevant for non-fiction writers as for novelists.
We look at the ways in which you can create an appetite for events yet to be described – a tension between the present moment, and the anticipated moment.
There is no story without some form of conflict. It’s the essential ingredient that keeps us reading. Something is at stake, and the equilibrium is disturbed. In life, we long for equilibrium (unless we’re a war correspondent). But in stories, when equilibrium is achieved, the story ends.
MODULE EIGHT: Showing not telling
We present a central truth about good writing: it is almost always better to show your story and your characters, than to tell us about them.
When you tell your readers something, you’re explaining it to them. When you show your readers, you allow them to see, hear, taste or smell it for themselves. From this, your engaged and active readers make their own deductions about the people and events you’ve shown them.
We analyse exactly what we mean by “showing”. And we look at the different ways to achieve it, with extensive examples.
We look at detail … in detail. Every detail has a job to do, whether it exists for textural reasons, or to show us more about characters or situations.