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Advanced Creative Writing


Welcome to the Advanced Creative Writing Course at SA Writers College.

Do you want to know more about the technique of writing fiction? When you have learned and practiced the craft of writing, you have the skills you need to make the story you write on paper resemble the story you have developed in your head.

Our Advanced Course in Creative Writing is designed to take the tools you acquired in the Basics Course and teach you how to use them in more sophisticated ways to achieve mature, polished writing.

The course consists of three modules, and takes between three and six months to complete. Detailed notes are accompanied by a set of exercises to be completed in Module 1 and 2. Module 3 consists of exercises and a final scene, which will be rewritten according to the tutor’s recommendations.
**Please note that this course is only open to graduates of our Basics of Creative Writing Course who attained a minimum pass mark of 75%.



“My experience with the course was excellent. My writing confidence has increased and more importantly, my writing skills have improved. Helen was fantastic.”

Deborah Forbes, Advanced Creative Writing Course



Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Modules: 3 Modules
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace within six months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • 20 writing exercises with individual feedback
  • A final scene of 1500 words
  • Student Feedback
  • Student must be a graduate of our Basics of Creative Writing course
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required


Tutor for this course:

Helen Brain Creative Writing Tutor Helen Brain is the author of over 50 books for children, and has contributed stories and plays to numerous school anthologies. Her teen novel, Tamara won an ATKV award. She has also published short stories for adults, and her highly acclaimed memoir, Here Be Lions was published by Oshun Publishers in 2006. Read more about Helen Brain and her work.  

Course Curriculum


Module 1 - Dialogue

  • Practicing the three layers of dialogue. Writing internal dialogue.
  • Writing good dialogue: Using dialogue to show characterisation, mood and back story.
  • How dialogue is used in fiction: moving the plot forward, building suspense.

Module 2 - Characterisation

  • Building up strong characters using dialogue, action and description.
  • Ways to introduce a character.
  • Using metaphor to show character.
  • Your character’s interactions.
  • Back stories
  • Exploring your emotions as a way of developing strong characters.

Module 3 - Atmosphere and Mood

  • How to use description to build mood and atmosphere.
  • Writing a 1500-2000 word scene using the skills of dialogue, characterisation and atmosphere that you have learned so far.


“If you've ever been curious about what goes into making a great story I strongly recommend taking up a course with The Writers College - you won't be disappointed.”

Suze Kolaczynski, Advanced Creative Writing Course



How does the course work?

The course consists of three modules. Detailed class notes covering the content of each module are e-mailed to students.

At the end of each section, students will be required to complete writing exercises. In total, the course includes 20 short writing assignments, all of which count towards the final result of the student.

Once the writing assignment has been completed, and e-mailed to the lecturer, an assessment and feedback will be sent to the student, and the module will be considered complete. The next module will then be e-mailed to the student.


Conditions of Certification:

Students will receive an SA Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • Students must have completed all writing assignments
  • The course must have been completed within six months of registration.
  • Students are expected to attain a minimum average of 50% for the course

Minimum Estimated Time Commitment:

There is no research required for this course, just planning and writing. The speed at which you work is entirely up to you.

Need more advice about the best course for you?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our writing courses.

If you need some advice about the best course or writing field for you, drop us a line or give Koos a call at 021 813 9224. We can tell you about going rates in the field, chance of publishing success and general writing career options both in South Africa and internationally.

  • If you have questions about how we work, we have information in our FAQ section and How We Train section.
  • If you want to pay off your course fee, please read the information here.
  • For information on our refund policy, please read our policies here.
  • To register for the course, please click here:


Feedback on this course from past students

“I have learned so much on this course, not just about the tools of writing but about what kind of writer I am and where I want to go with my words. Helen’s guidance on this course, and on the Basics course, has been invaluable in my journey to becoming a writer. I’m going to miss the structure and the hand-holding she afforded. The UK Writers College and the two courses I have attended have given me the confidence to run with my writing. Thank you so much.”  Michelle Peart, Advanced Creative Writing

“Overall, I would describe the course as enlightening. Having previously done the Basics of Creative Writing Course with Helen Brain as a tutor, I can safely say that she is excellent at what she does.” Pravina Hiralal, Advanced Creative Writing Course

“The assignments were fun, and set out with clear instructions and perfect examples. I’ve learnt a lot! I had no hesitation starting the Advanced Creative Writing Course after I had finished the Basics Course, and I’m so glad I did. Helen is an incredible teacher! She always gives constructive, intelligent feedback in a very encouraging way, and I could tell she put a lot of time and effort into marking my work. Helen’s expert guidance in this course is invaluable for anybody wanting to further their writing abilities. I have much more confidence in my own writing, editing and storytelling, all thanks to this course.  I would recommend this course along with the Basics of Creative Writing Course to anyone wanting to start a writing career or just polish their skills. It was immensely fun and very rewarding.” Jared Aisher,  Advanced Creative Writing

“I would describe the course as honest and accessible, with clear answers. Helen always had professional and prompt replies to queries and her expectations were always made clear. Thank you Helen. The Creative Writing Courses I have done with the Writers’ College were very useful and have helped me improve my writing skills.” Ann Wickens, Advanced Creative Writing Course

“I’ve learned a number of useful tricks and tips for writing. Thus I’ve achieved my goal. Helen’s a lunatic; you need someone of her calibre when it comes to creative writing. She’s someone who thinks outside the box and gets the job done. Like sands in the hourglass, I am now a digital watch.” John Crofts, Advanced Creative Writing Course

“I enjoyed my experience on the course thoroughly and learned a great deal. Helen was amazing. I wish all tutors were as straight-forward! Her feedback was easy to follow and I find myself wondering how I could have not seen the mistakes she pointed out before. I feel capable (albeit intimidated by the industry) and inspired to tackle new objectives. Overall I would describe the course as inspiring and invigorating! It's just the weapon I need to tackle my ambitions instead of longing and dreaming. It showed me that I am capable when armed with the right tools and knowledge.” Gratia-Mari Joubert, Advanced Creative Writing

“My experience with the course was excellent. My writing confidence has increased and more importantly, my writing skills have improved. Helen was fantastic. She gave constructive criticism and clear direction which improved whichever piece I was writing. Completing both the Basics and the Advanced Creative Writing course has been life-changing for me. My experience with The Writers’ College has been 100% positive.” Deborah Forbes, Advanced Creative Creating

“I walked away from the course with a deeper respect for all writers out there, as well as some self-confidence in my own abilities. I've learnt just how much work goes into producing a scene that people will enjoy reading. Helen is not only a gifted writer but an exceptional teacher. She has the ability to help you create writing pieces with heart and soul. She'll tell you if she thinks you're heading off in the wrong direction and encourage you to produce something more authentic that readers can connect with. If you've ever been curious about what goes into making a great story I strongly recommend taking up a course with The Writers’ College - you won't be disappointed.” Suze Kolaczynski, Advanced Creative Writing

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About Us

We offer specialised, online writing courses tutored by award-winning writers in South Africa. Get the writing tools you need, expert insider advice and hours and hours of writing practice.


Study from anywhere in South Africa: Cape Town, Western Cape; Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng; Durban and Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal; Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein, Free State; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Kimberley, Northern Cape and Polokwane, Limpopo.

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