Writing

Writing

Personal Enrichment

Offered through Continuing Education

@ Florissant Valley | Forest Park | Meramec | Off-Site

The Writing Program is designed for the beginning or experienced writer. We have classes that give you the opportunity to develop your writing voice, build expertise in the art and craft of writing, and gain insight into today’s publishing environment.

Program Coordinator

Continuing Education

Phone

314-984-7777

Register and pay online now

Call 314-984-7777 to register for fall classes by phone, or click the button above to register and pay online.

Click on the headings below to view our available writing courses:

The Craft of Writing

Grammar You Should Know

After graduating from high school (and even college), many of us still have gaps and lapses in our grammar and spelling. For example, when should we use "who" versus "whom," or what's the difference between "effect" and "affect." The years may have chipped away at your knowledge of English-but this class will apply a fresh coat of literacy to your writing, no matter what kind you do. This class was formerly called Writing Basics Brush-Up (What You Should Have Learned in High School!). Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:704 | $79 | Age 60+: $49.50
F05 | M 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Nov. 5-26 | MC - SO, 204

NEW! Finishing Touches

You've written your book, now what? For indie publishing, you need to think about the next steps: book formatting, creating an eye-catching cover, and finding and engaging readers. First, using CreateSpace will help you produce a paperback version of your book. Next, you have to make your book discoverable but how do you do that? Key to discoverability is to create: 1) a targeted outreach program to let people know about your work; and 2) a cover that pulls in your readers and makes them want to buy your book. Come and join us as we share the tools needed to build your book's own finishing touches. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:704 | $49 | Age 60+: $29.50
F03 | Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Jo Hiestand, P.A. De Voe | Oct. 13 | MC - HE, 123

Writer's Workshop: Revising and Editing

One thing most writers can do even better than writing is procrastinate. Completing your short story, poem, chapter or essay is usually a matter of revising and editing. Usually it takes several drafts to polish your project enough to consider it finished. This class will guide you through three drafts of your short story, poem or essay. If you're writing a book, you will be guided through revising one chapter, be it the first or final. We will workshop each draft, which entails sharing your work-in-progress with fellow students and the instructor. Our purpose will be to encourage one another, clarify to the writing and most of all, to help bring your project to a polished conclusion. This course is designed for those already working on a novel, short story, poetry, or essay. Please bring at least five copies to the first session. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:706 | $79 | Age 60+: $49.50
F01 | M 7-9 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Oct. 1-22 | MC - CS, 206

Mining Your Soul Story

Our minds record the sum of our experiences. Writing extracts the event and allows us to see the situation and our reaction as two separate things. Using various prompts, reflective journaling time, and shared conversation, you will be given tools for mining and writing your own soul story. This workshop is intended for everyone... whether you are new to writing or a long-time journal writer. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:710 | $39 | Age 60+: $30
F01 | F 9 a.m.-noon | Mary Eigel | Oct. 12 | Wildwood City Hall

NEW! Poetry Write-In and Workshop

Do you wish there was a place you could go for writing inspiration and practice? Where you could hang out with other writers without needing to make a long-term commitment or spend a lot of money? This write-in is the place for you! Novices and masters alike are welcome to this workshop. We will discuss getting inspired, knowing when to revise and when to stop and publishing tips. Additionally, we will write, revise, and engage in a positive, constructive workshop. Bring writing tools of your choice (pen/paper or laptop/tablet). Class will meet at Sasha's on Shaw. Writer's fuel, a.k.a. wine, is available for purchase along with a menu of delectable foods! SEATS ARE LIMITED, REGISTER EARLY! Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:716 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F01 | W 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Meredith McDonough | Nov. 7 | Sasha's On Shaw

NEW! NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month takes place in November. This course will offer a support system, complete with a thorough critique of a few chapters, and, most vital of all, encouragement from your fellow novel-writing classmates to finish this daunting task. Bring your first chapter to the first session. (Make about 10 copies). Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:719 | $79 | Age 60+: $49.50
F04 | Tu 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Nov. 6-27 | FP - G, 115

The Art of Setting

Stories don't exist in a vacuum. They have to take place somewhere, and the choice of where and when your story happens often determines what your characters do, where they live, how the pace of their lives plays out and ultimately what kind of story you're telling. Through examples and exercises, we'll discuss the level of specificity necessary to create a setting your characters can fully inhabit, and how much detail to put in... and what to leave out. Bring the writing tool(s) of your choice to class along with a sack lunch, as well as any examples from your own work or the work of your favorite writer to examine and discuss. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:719 | $59 | Age 60+: $44
F01 | Sa 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Ricker | Sept. 22 | MC - SO, 111

Developing Your Dialogue

Does your dialogue sound stiff? Would a real person say that? Participate in writing activities designed to develop your use of dialogue. Enjoy learning and practicing the essential elements of dialogue through concise presentations and enjoyable activities. Have fun examining what people say, why they say it, and how to fictionalize their conversation. Bring your fears, wants and good humor to this interactive workshop. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:724 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F02 | Th 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Penn May | Nov. 1 | MC - SO, 206

Calling All Writers: A Write-In

Are you looking for writing inspiration and practice? A place where you could hang out with other writers without needing to make a long-term commitment or spend a lot of money? Join us at Schlafly Tap Room to eat, drink and find inspiration to write! At our write-ins, the prompts and brief instruction are designed to motivate everyone into a freewheeling writing session. After the initial burst of writing, those who want to can read their work to the group. Then we all take a break and socialize. The process is repeated one more time, followed by drinks, snacks, and more socializing. Comments about your work during the social time are geared toward motivating you to write more. There is no pressure, no angst... just freewheeling creativity! Bring your sense of humor along and join us for an inspirational write-in. BYO pen and paper. Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase along with a menu of delectable foods! SEATS ARE LIMITED, REGISTER EARLY! Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:765 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F02 | Tu 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Penn May | Oct. 2 | Schlafly Tap Room

Sip-n-Scribe

Looking to get your creative brain moving? Need a refreshing way to mix-up your writing? Then push away from your keyboard, get ready to put pen to paper and come mingle with other writers. Join us at Sasha's on Shaw to write-n-wine! Sip and Scribe is a fun evening of creative writing prompts, idea swapping and drink-sipping. The goal is to experiment with something new on the page in an informal, relaxed way, all while enjoying time with your friends and making new ones. Writing prompts are presented, then you give it a fun twist, and let your words flow! No one is here to write the next Great American novel. But if that happens, please include us in the special thanks. BYO pen and paper. Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase along with a menu of delectable foods! Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:765 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F04 | Tu 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Penn May | Oct. 16 | Sasha's On Shaw

The Healing Power of the Pen: Assisting Children with Writing Stories

The course is open to parents, grandparents, child specialists and educators interested in working with children to assist them in writing their stories from their point of view. Participants will learn the basic structure of story, engage in creative writing exercises, understand first person point of view and understand how an animal or character can "metaphorically" represent someone else and allow a child to speak through that character. The story could serve as a means of allowing a child to process life events, both positive and negative (e.g., illness, divorce, new sibling). No writing experience required. This class instructs how to implement tools for writing with children; please do not bring youth to class. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:765 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F01 | F 9 a.m.-noon | Mary Eigel | Sept. 21 | Wildwood City Hall

Exploring the Creative Process

Creative Writing for New Writers: A One Day Workshop

Are you just getting started with writing? Do you want to discover your strengths as a writer? Would you like positive feedback on your writing in a supportive environment? This workshop will help you create a short story, essay or poem to share in a group workshop. Bring writing tools of your choice (pen/paper or laptop/tablet). Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:701 | $59 | Age 60+: $45
F03 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | Meredith McDonough | Sept. 29 | MC - SO, 111

NEW! Write Now: How to Blow Past Your Inner Stop Sign

Do you know why the first cavewoman began to speak? She had something to say. Maybe the sounds weren't pretty or worth dancing to, but they changed the course of human evolution nonetheless. Often, people undervalue the significance of their own voices thinking what they have to say isn't pretty enough to publish or somehow just doesn't seem legitimate because they feel crushed by the adjective, "writer." In this class, you will join a unique community of individuals who have something say and want know how to get it on the page. We will survey writing styles across genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and technical writing to gain perspective and sharpen your skills. You'll also learn how to use current technological resources to create a crowd sourced novella for the class final project. Don't join this class because you want to be a "writer." Join this class because you are sick of replaying that movie in your head you never wrote a screenplay for, want to provide a constructive outlet for your inner narrator who won't shut up or want to introduce the world to the cast of intriguing characters living in your daydreams. Let's do it together, let's do it "write" now. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:701 | $139 | Age 60+: $76.50
F01 | Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Daphne Rivers | Aug. 25-Dec. 1 | FP - C-215
NOTE: Course meetings will take place every other week:  Aug. 25, Sept. 8, Sept. 22, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 17 and Dec. 1. Classroom has been moved from FP- G,117. 

Unleashing the Writer Within

Everyone of us has a special story to tell, but it can be hard in this busy, modern world to access that creativity. In this class, we'll peel away the familiar outer layers of doubt, distraction and writer's block. We'll get to the core of what we're actually trying to say, and we'll learn to say it with language that is irreplaceably unique to each of us. When the writer within is unleashed, the words will come freely-and the stories we need to tell will finally occur to us. It will not be a class requirement, but those interested in sharing their work will receive the benefit of a thorough, productive critique from the instructor and fellow students. You'll need to make copies of your work to share. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:701 | $79 | Age 60+: $49.50
F02 | W 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Sept. 5-26 | FP - G, 115

Finding Your Niche

Who are you as a writer? What are your goals, dreams, expectations, whims, tastes, desires, and peculiarities? What is your style? Style can be an excuse for lazy writing or it can be an incandescent artistic expression. More likely, yours falls somewhere in between. Discover who you are by comparing your style to successful literary and commercial authors. Enjoy an evening of concise presentation and well-designed activity facilitated by an experience writer. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:765 | $39 | Age 60+: $30.50
F03 | W 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Penn May | Sept. 19 | MC - SO, 205

Genre

NEW! Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

From the epic to the epically hilarious, all science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories begin with the writer asking the same question-what if? In this class, we will learn how writers turn our questions, anxieties, and fears into tales of suspense and wonder. We will discuss story building techniques used by writers like Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Ernest Cline, and comic book creators like Bryan K. Vaughn and Alan Moore. Using examples from these great creators, we will explore how to create worlds that people believe in and write works of speculative fiction. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:706 | $29 | Age 60+: $24
F02 | Tu 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Melody Meiners | Oct. 23 | MC - SO, 205

How to Map a Murder

Ever have the urge to write a whodunit? Published mystery authors will lead you through the intricacies of plotting, character development, descriptive scene writing, and setting clues, as well as a brief description of publishing choices open to writers and some of the differences between traditional and self-publishing. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:719 | $49 | Age 60+: $29.50
F02 | Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Jo Hiestand, P.A. De Voe | Oct. 6 | MC - SO, 205

NEW! Lyricism 101: The Art of Rhyme

This course will take a scholarly approach to the art and chronological development of lyricism in hip-hop music. Comparisons will be made between other forms of poetry, and various literary techniques found in hip-hop will be discussed and analyzed. Students will be exposed to different sub-genres within hip-hop and will gain an understanding of its role as social commentary. Students will be guided through writing their own rhymes, and encouraged to perform them for the class. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:719 | $39 | Age 60+: $29.50
F03 | Th 6-9 p.m. | Shawn Harrell | Oct. 18 | FP - G, 115

NEW! Focus on Fiction: Shaping Story Plots

A plot is at the heart of a story and it is what sets that story apart from an anecdote. In this lecture, we will explore how tension, conflict, and emotion create plot lines that are believable and engaging. We will discuss how writers use conflict to move a story from beginning to end, common plot structures in fiction, and techniques for crafting solid and unique plotlines. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:724 | $39 | Age 60+: $32
F01 | Tu 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Melody Meiners | Oct. 9 | FP - G, 115

Introduction to Screenwriting

Do you ever watch movies and think "I could write something better than that!"? Well here's your chance to learn how. Screenwriting is both a craft and an art, and doing it well requires a solid foundation in the fundamentals of good storytelling. In this class, you will learn the key elements of writing a screenplay, including story structure, plot, scene development, characterization and dialogue. A series of writing assignments will guide you toward mastering the basics of screenwriting and help you begin work on your own script. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:728 | $89 | Age 60+: $52.50
F01 | W 7-9:30 p.m. | Rita Russell | Oct. 3-Nov. 14 | FV - TC, 207
NOTE: No class Oct. 31.

So You Think You Want to Write Romantic Comedy?

Do you have a terrific idea for a film or television romantic comedy, but you're unsure how to begin writing it? In this fun three-hour workshop, we will examine classic and contemporary romantic comedies and discover the key elements you'll need for creating your own blockbuster rom-com that audiences will fall in love with. Learn how to craft your story with a memorable plot, theme and characters that "have you at hello," from the requisite meet-cute to the satisfying happy ending. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:728 | $39 | Age 60+: $30
F02 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Rita Russell | Nov. 3 | FV - H, 207

 

Publishing

How to Publish Your Own Book: What You Need to Know

Have you been thinking about writing a book (or perhaps you have written one) and are curious about how to publish it yourself? In this four-hour workshop, we'll cover the realities of independent publishing, how editing and design can make your book look great, options for getting your book into print, sales channels, eBook production and tips for book marketing. Presented by the St. Louis Publishers Association. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:704 | $39 | Age 60+: $39
F04 | Sa 8 a.m.-noon | Nov. 3 | MC - SO, 108

How to Self-Publish

There was a time when, in order to turn a manuscript into a book, a writer's only option was to find an agent. But these days we live in a new, do-it-yourself era, which makes it easier than ever to self-publish. This class will look into all the facets of this complex endeavor, including the under-valued processes of editing and proofreading. We'll discuss how to maximize value by balancing quality and cost, and explore the challenge of finding a good graphic designer. There are more options than ever for writers, including a choice of companies that print to order and require no initial investment. This course will help you grow a spine for self-publishing. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:704 | $29 | Age 60+: $22.50
F01 | Th 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Sept. 13 | FP - G, 115

Self-Publishing for Writers

If you're writing a book and have been contemplating the daunting task of getting it published, come learn about the process involved in self-publishing your work. This class will give you information you need to know to save yourself a lot of time and money and help you understand all the decisions required to make self-publishing a successful venture. We'll cover everything from getting copyright registered, applying for an ISBN, good cover design, manuscript editing, print, eBooks and marketing. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:704 | $29 | Age 60+: $24
F02 | Th 7-9 p.m. | Jill Mettendorf | Oct. 11 | MC - BA, 112

Portfolio

Portfolio Review-Writing Program

This is for confirmation that students have met the requirements of the Writing Program. You must submit your portfolio for review. The work should exhibit increased proficiency in writing techniques and should aspire to high literary standards. You will receive a confirmation response from a writing program faculty member. Upon satisfactory review of the portfolio, the faculty member will notify Continuing Education to grant the Writing Award of Completion. If the portfolio does not meet acceptable standards, the instructor will make recommendations. You may register for the portfolio review again, until the faculty member is satisfied with the quality of your work. Course meets curriculum requirements of The Writing Program.
WRIT:740 | $69 | Age 60+: $40
F01 | Call to schedule | Jordan Oakes | Aug. 12-Dec. 22 | FP - TBA

 

 

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