Online Creative Writing Course:

Grammar for Writers

January 19-February 13

Cost: $75

Register for Grammar for Writers

The built-in flexibility of English grammar allows a writer or speaker to express the same idea in many different ways, each with own emphasis, rhythm, and nuance. That very flexibility, however, can lead to ambiguity, awkwardness, and other failures in communication.

Grammar for Writers is a four-week online course designed to help writers better understand the building blocks of English sentences and become more skilled at assembling those building blocks into sentences that communicate meaning efficiently and stylishly.

Topics covered will include (but not be limited to):

·      Active and passive voice

·      Subordination and coordination

·      Parallelism

·      Pronouns and antecedents

·      Nominalization

·      Sentence structure

·      Sentence rhythm

We will not spend much (or any) time on their/they’re/there, its/it’s, the Oxford comma, or similar questions, which you can easily sort out for yourself with the help of a textbook or a grammar website. We will focus instead on more substantive matters of sentence construction, always with an eye to clearer communication. 

To register for Grammar for Writers, click here.


Online Creative Writing Course:

Writing Close to the Earth, Part 1

January 5-February 13

Cost: $99

Register for Writing Close to the Earth, Part 1

Course Description

“Fiction is about everything human, wrote Flannery O’Connor, “and we are made out of dust. If you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.” Writing Close to the Earth is a six-week online creative writing course about getting dusty. Together we will develop the habits of “earthy” writing—writing that is concrete rather than abstract, concerned with the material facts of our existence.

Writing close to the earth is, ultimately, a theological approach to writing. We believe that this world is shot through with meaning—that this world, in all its beauty and brokenness, is where God reveals himself to us. We trust, therefore, that if we are faithful to write the world as we see it, truth and meaning will find their way to the reader.

The readings for this course will all be nonfiction, but the principles we work on will be equally relevant to fiction and to creative nonfiction. An important goal of this course is to help you find and trust your own voice as a writer, your “native tongue.”

Every two weeks we cover one component of “earthy” writing:

·      Weeks 1-2: Concrete Language and Imagery

·      Weeks 2-3: Learning to See

·      Weeks 3-4: Place

Each week you will read and discuss one essay about writing and at least one essay that models the principles we are discussing that week. On Weeks 1, 3, and 5, you will submit an essay of approximately 500 words (about the length of a typical blog post). I will give feedback on your writing within a week. On weeks 2, 4, and 6, you will submit a revised and/or expanded version of the essay you submitted the previous week.

Note: I hope you will share your essays with your classmates, and I will provide a forum for sharing, but sharing will be entirely optional.

We will be using the Schoology platform, which is a social media platform similar to Facebook. 

To register for Writing Close to the Earth Part 1, click here.