TUTOR: Eileen Casey is a poet, fiction writer and journalist and holds an M.Phil in Creative Writing (Distinction) from The School of English, Trinity College, Dublin. Her work is widely published in outlets such as The Moth, Verbal Arts Magazine, County Lines: Portrait of a County (New Island); The Ulster Tatler, Ice (Pighog Press, UK), Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, The Jelly Bucket (USA), The Coffee House (UK), among others. Recent awards include a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship and a Hennessy Literary Award (Emerging Fiction). She also won The Francis Ledwidge Award, The Moore Medallion and The Oliver Goldsmith International Poetry Prize. Her debut poetry collection ‘Drinking the Colour Blue’ (New Island) was published in 2008. ‘Snow Shoes’ (Arlen House), a debut collection of short stories was published in 2012 and in 2014, Eileen’s collection of memoir essays ‘A Fascination with Fabric,’ was published (Arlen House). She was also a visiting writer on the 2011 Eastern Kentucky University Winter Residency, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Start Date: January 30, 2018 – 2 places remaining
Duration: Six weeks
The online intermediate creative writing course will allow participants to explore specific writing techniques which help build a bridge between the beginner and the more experienced writer. The creative impulse is very much an element of this journey, it helps to maintain a healthy imaginative register. Each module will guide the participant towards producing a strong body of writing based around relevant exercises and prompts. Your tutor will also provide written feedback on those exercises.
Week One: As it was in the Beginning
Nurturing the ‘flow’ is an integral part of creative experience. For those who have undergone a lapse or who need to freshen up existing writing practice, the first module discusses the importance of shoring up material for that all important writing arsenal. Where and how to discover new sources culminates in a writing exercise which draws these elements together and allows the course participant to take stock.
Week Two: Time and Motion
The second module discusses the concept of time in terms of using specific timelines within the short story or novel. How to use transitions from one scene to another effectively determines whether or not the reader has an authentic sense of the passage of time. ‘Time waits for no man’ is a familiar saying and one which should be borne in mind when trying to avoid characters trapped in a fictional time warp.
Week Three: Mapping
Finding a container for story can often result in a beginning, ‘muddle’ and end type structure. As Joyce mapped out the city of Dublin, this module offers an enjoyable method of overcoming the initial difficulties when structuring a story. Literally mapping the narrative from start to finish, focusing on the possibilities of place, atmosphere and mood results in stories that have geographical as well as emotional depth.
Week Four: Flash Fiction
The ‘meat’ of story comes from an ability to write the first draft and then be prepared to re-visit and re-route, no matter how short or how long the work. This ensures that a fully fleshed out narrative emerges as opposed to an intriguing, yet flimsy outline. Engaging with Flash Fiction is a powerful way of heightening fictional recognition and making sure the writer is not left with the feeling; ‘there’s a story in there somewhere, if only I could find it.’
Week Five: The Sensual Writer
We primarily discover our world through the visual and the audio, thereby forgetting our other senses. Often, this ‘discrepancy’ is imported into our writing. The Sensual Writer aims to activate all five senses and to introduce the notion of synaesthesia whereby the senses interact in fresh and original ways.
Week Six: Figurative Language
Finding a central image for a short story can heighten its impact. This module explores both the beauty of ‘plain’ language and its disadvantages. Rudyard Kipling said, ‘Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.’ Coleridge maintained, ‘The right word in the right place,’ while Ezra Pound urged that we ‘Make it New.’ Using vibrant imagery/descriptive language eliminates ‘lazy’ writing and challenges the need to be inventive. This module will take the work to new levels as it explores, not only figurative language, but also the possibilities for creating ‘voice’ through a range of language possibilities.
“This course positively stretched my abilities in new ways and showed me more about why I write and how I write than I ever imagined all at the same time. Eileen is very supportive, insightful and gives great advice on how to develop your own skills and work.” Trevor
“I really enjoyed this course. In particular I found it challenged me to push myself out of my writing comfort zone with beneficial, and hopefully long-lasting, results. It also made me think in depth about what makes a good/great short story. I found Eileen’s feedback to be incisive, pragmatic and encouraging. The speed with which she responded was very helpful in moving things forward.” Dianne
Our next Online Intermediate Creative Writing Course course starts on 30/01/2018
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