Creative Writing

Course Length: Full academic year (30 weeks)
This Year's ScheduleClick here to view

Aims of the Course

There are plenty of online courses in creative writing which offer a top-down, "this-is-how-you-do-it" approach. This 30 week course is different, aiming to foster living learning, in an environment where we create and explore together.

Students will use key texts and examples, and focus on four areas:
  • Inspiration/the short story
  • Structure/the screenplay;
  • The Big Picture/the novel
  • Voices/the radio play
Within these themed segments, there will be workshops where students receive detailed feedback on their writing from the tutor and, crucially, from each other.

The aim is not to foist "the correct way" on young writers, but more to help them discover what they want to say, and how to say it -- on their own terms. This course is for any and all beginner and developing teen writers who want to put the heart back into creative writing.

Homework Expectations

The reading homework each week is a section of the support story/novel/screenplay/play as relevant, followed by a student narration or short, written summary. Writing homework varies, and includes devising characters, planning plot, giving structured feedback to other students and writing first and subsequent drafts. 

Texts are used as models and inspiration, and include titles like the radio scripts for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Gaiman's Norse Mythology.

In total, students should plan for 4-6 hours of homework a week, in addition to the weekly online class, where in general the tutor discusses a key topic or gives feedback on their writing, and they contribute or ask questions in the chat box.

Add-On Options

The add-on extension, Poetry in English, is an introduction to English language poems from different time periods and countries. Students will develop skills in understanding and analyzing poetry, as well as writing and critiquing it themselves. These skills are relevant to many IGCSE English Literature exams in the UK, and for the US, students gain an 'honors' designation on their completion certificate.

Of especial note is that the poetry extension can be taken as a stand-alone option, too, since the texts and skills aren't dependent on what's covered in the creative writing main course.

How It Supports Your Child's Education

For US students, this course provides one credit for high school as a fine arts elective, though some states may allow counting it as an English credit. For UK students, the poetry extension is especially useful for IGCSE English Literature exam skills, but even the main course will help strengthen general writing and creative expression.

Who Teaches Creative Writing?

Jackie Pavlenko graduated from Oxford University (BA Hons) in English Language and Literature, before becoming a screenwriter (MA in screenwriting, London College of Communication). Her plays have popped up on BBC Radio 4, and she once found herself being photographed by paparazzi who must have mistaken her for someone important at the premier of a film she'd written. She teaches creative writing online to adults, teens, and children, takes pride in fostering student confidence, and is passionate that we all have the "right to write." Now settled in Scotland, she home educated her two children on the road while traveling in Europe for five years.
See all courses taught by Jackie