UCC ACE Short courses

Ways and Means with Words: A Course in Creative Writing (mornings, taught online only)

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Ways and Means with Words: A Course in Creative Writing (mornings, taught online only)

  • Code

  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Ten weeks, Mondays 11am-1pm, from 25 January to 29 March 2021

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €230 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Monday 18 January 2021

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    Monday 25 January 2021

Course Outline

This is a creative writing course/workshop for practicing writers as well as beginners that tackles the demands of fiction, poetry, memoir, scripts and novel- writing and looks at ways of publishing.  This short course offers direction, impetus and encouragement to writers who want to start the process or expand their portfolio by branching into fiction, poetry, memoir, essay and script writing. The so-called “Writer's Block” will be tackled and participants will be urged to move from the process of writing in isolation to produce readable, cogent and exciting work. Participants will close-read excerpts from stories, poems, articles, essays etc. and share some of the writings they find inspiring. Styles and tone of writing will be compared. Help with story-telling technique, point-of-view, use of the writer’s tools, language - syntax, grammar and avoidance of clichés - will be offered along with regular opportunities to experiment and discuss participants’ work.

Over a period of ten weekly two-hour sessions, participants will acquire new writing skills and improve their craft.  The course will cover factual and fiction writing; it will range over numerous genres and consider the specific demands of writing a story, a poem, memoir and scripts for media. It will encourage and equip writers with technique, and tackle issues such as what to write and “writer's block”.  It will probe options, assist with invention, character portrayal, plot- making, and the writing of dialogue. The course will also examine poetry’s power and debunk some unhelpful myths. Exercises and assignments to “grease the wheels” will be proposed and course participants will be given regular opportunities to experiment, share and discuss their work. The course will also suggest reading material and issue handouts.

1.   The world of words. What writers say about writing. Ways to start. The writer’s tools. Sampling of genres.
2.   The habit of writing. The use of notebooks. The notion of inspiration.
3.   What to write. Planning and plotting. Triggering exercises.
4.   Unblocking the “block”. Attending to place, memory, details, feelings. Creating credible characters. Play-acting to imagine. Scene-setting.
5.   The nuts and bolts of good writing; a close look at technique. Points of view – who is telling the story? Trusting your narrator.
6.   Minding your language. Finding the right words. Writing to be read. First lines.
7.   Syntax, grammar. The rules and reasons to break them. Ambiguity and context. Striking registers.
8.   Listening to yourself. Style and tone. Emotional accuracy.
9.   Your voice. Your genre/s of choice. Staying on track.
10. Clarity, accuracy, and honesty. Using fact in fiction. Ways into print. Publishing.

Course Practicalities

Who teaches this course:

Colette Olney is a writer who also works in journalism and broadcasting


Short courses are non-assessed

Why Choose This Course

This course is ideal for all adults who want to write and to learn more about writing and writers. It’s tailored for beginners as well as for writers already engaged in the process; even ‘wannabe’ writers will find it empowering since the course is all about ‘doing’ i.e. actually writing as much as talking about writing. Although conducted in an uncritical easy-going atmosphere, the demands of writing poems, stories, dialogue will be felt but hopefully enjoyed.

Because the class is limited to a relatively small number (15), every participant has the opportunity to air his/her work and voice opinions: all queries and suggestions are considered in a friendly, lighthearted and encouraging manner and guidance is given even on the basics of writing and communication by means of the written word. The course is suited to all ages. It will be of value to avid readers as well as writers and it will gently persuade participants into print.


Applicants should be over eighteen years of age at course commencement.

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €230.

How Do I Apply

To book this course please proceed to the booking area at https://open.ucc.ie/   Exceptional Education Experiences at UCC.  Click into your selected course and access the registration pages through the Enrol button.

A detailed guide to the new booking system, ACE Short Course Catalogue Guide, is available at the Foreward page at https://www.ucc.ie/en/ace/courses/shortcourses/

The closing date for applications is Monday 18 January 2021. Students register and pay fees before course commencement which is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact