Paul Belserene| | introduction

Creative Writing Online:
The Fundamentals of Great Writing

Next class

"Thank you Paul for creating this course and putting it online. Your encouragement and thoughtful lessons have changed the way I perceive my writing."

"Your creative writing course taught me so much this winter. The format and feedback was very helpful for me as a reader and writer, and perhaps as a human as well. I'm particularly appreciative of your gentle, yet inquisitive responses on the forum. It set a wonderful tone for the students. I'll be remembering this experience for years to come.""

--- Recent feedback for the online course


Course offered through:
The Writing Centre of the Univeristy of British Columbia

To register

Creative Writing is a teachable skill; you already have the ability to express yourself and move others with language. That’s the good news. Developing this skill requires hard work, practice, and, let’s face it, a lifetime of dedication. That’s not bad news; it’s just the way it is. And yet, simply doing a lot of any kind of writing is not the most effective way of developing your skill. There are three specific aspects you can engage with which will strengthen your writing quicker and more effectively. This course identifies those three areas and helps you lay the foundation for a lifetime of writing that is both worthwhile for you, and appreciated by others.

By the end of these eight weeks you will have written some things that surprised you, tried some things you didn’t think you would ever do, learned how to read your own work and others’ in ways that help you improve as a writer, drafted and re-drafted a piece you care about and laid the groundwork for a decade or more of creative writing.

Course Description

Creative Writing Online is designed to help you tap more fully into your own creativity and to connect more powerfully and effectively with your audience using the medium of written language. It will be of benefit to anyone who cares about what they are writing and wishes communicate with others. What the nature of the writing is, and who the audience is, is up to you. This course will give you the tools to do more with words, and to get more out of the activity of writing.

During the course of this workshop you will do a good deal of writing and in particular you will conceive, draft, edit and redraft one significant writing project of your choosing. That said, the purpose of this course is not actually to produce any finished work. Rather the purpose is to give you knowledge and skills that you can apply to all your writing in future. The writing you do in the workshop should be considered as ‘lab work’ or piano exercises—part of the journey of writing, rather than the goal.

Participants are expected not only to write but also to read the work of their fellow participants and to provide feedback and support to others.  You must be prepared not  only to submit your work in progress for non-judgmental feedback from your co-participants, but also that you learn and provide non-judgmental feedback to others.  The structure and principles of non-judgmental feedback will be provided to you and you will find that they will be valuable skills that you can apply to your own writing in future.

The Fundamentals of Great Writing is designed around three pillars that are essential to all writing: appreciation (surprise and freshness), precision (clarity and integrity), and engagement (commitment and meaning). With these three in balance, it is possible to apply relevant creativity to any form of written communication in such a way as to elicit clear and powerful response.  During the course of this workshop you will  have the opportunity to explore these three pillars singly and in balance, not only as writer, but also as reader and editor.

What Kind of Writing Does This Course Deal With?

It’s up to you. This course is open to any and all forms of writing. Although you will have the opportunity to try your hand at some particular forms and structures, this course is not intended to teach you to write to any particular genre or structure. Its purpose is more fundamental; it is intended to help you identify and perfect the essential elements that are required in order to make any form of writing both satisfying to you the writer and meaningful to others, the readers.  Because of the compressed nature of this course, taking place over the course of eight weeks, it is more practical to work with shorter forms in general, but the principles that you will be working with are applicable to extended forms such as novels and feature films.

What Pre-Requisites Are There?

The course is open to writers of any ability and any amount of experience, professional, amateur and complete beginner. Anyone who is able to write in English can take this class and even those who have a successful career as writers can benefit from the principles and approaches presented here.

That said, Creative Writing Online is offered as a fully online course. The use of a computer and ready access to an internet connection are required.


Some of the greatest benefits of this course come from developing the ability to give and receive feedback from a diverse audience. To this end the course is designed as a group collaboration. Your fellow participants represent a resource that is at least as important, if not more so than your instructor, who represents only one point of view. The bulk of the actual practice and learning from this course will come from interactions within your workgroups, facilitated by your instructor. You will have the opportunity to receive feedback and comments on your writing from your instructor, but it is important to understand that the course is designed as a group workshop, not a tutorial.

Meditation in Vancouver the Vancouver Shambhala Centre - How to Meditate,

background | | introduction