Q: What's special about your writing courses?
A: Unlike many writing courses that rely on 'group feedback' in a class, at SA Writers' College we only work on a one-on-one basis with you. Each writing course provides hours and hours of personal feedback dedicated to build on your unique writing strengths and iron out your particular grammar and style gremlins. No general writing class will do that. SA Writers' College offers the best writing courses in South Africa.
We believe 'practice makes perfect'. The only way to learn how to write is to write. So you won't sit through hours of literary theory lectures, even though you will have a 200-page manual of specialised course notes at hand. Rather, our primary focus is on writing, and writing some more, with feedback every line of the way.
What's more, you will be working with well known writers. We prefer to employ multi-award-winning writers who have received international acclaim. Our tutors are passionate and dedicated, and all our courses are quality controlled - by you. Read testimonials here. Meet our staff here.
Q: When can I register for an SA Writers College writing course?
A: At any time. We only work on a one-on-one basis with our students, so we receive applications all year round.
Q: How do I register for your writing courses?
A: Complete the application form provided on our home page by clicking on the top menu button called "enrol", or click on any link on our site. We will get back to you with an e-mailed welcome letter and invoice within 24 hours.
Q: How do I pay the fees?
A: You can pay via PayPal, Credit card, electronic transfer or a cash deposit at your bank. All payment details are provided on the invoice. Click here for more details.
Q: How does an online course work?
A: An online course works in the same way as a correspondence course, except that assignments are e-mailed, rather than sent via the post. Also, for some of our courses, you can download your modules, which contain your notes and assignments, directly off the college site.
In every module, you are required to complete several writing exercises. These get e-mailed to your lecturer, who will mark them and send you written feedback.
Q: How can an online writing course teach me to write?
A: Writers all over the world use e-mail to communicate with their editors and publishers. We replicate this process, except you will be getting expert guidance and feedback from your tutor every step of the way.
In all our courses you will learn:
For example, in our journalism courses, you'll practice coming up with an idea for an article, writing a query letter, conducting your research and interviews, and writing up the piece. If your tutor considers your piece to be marketable, you will get the support you need to sell it.
You'll also get the insider information on the local writing industry, and how to manage your business professionally. Other issues, like copyright, tax, invoicing, contracts and plagiarism are also covered.
Q: What skills do I need to apply?
A: You will need to be proficient in basic writing skills, as our writing courses are focused on teaching you to write well, and we assume the fundamentals (e.g. sound grammar and punctuation) are already in place. We do assess your writing in your application form to check on this.
Other than that, our only other prerequisite is reliable Internet access.
Q: Can anyone do your writing courses?
A: Yes. Regardless of your age, academic background or place of residence, you can register for our courses.
We train students from all over South Africa, including Johannesburg, Gauteng; Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; Cape Town, Western Cape; Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Pretoria, Gauteng; Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; Bloemfontein, Free State; Polokwane, Limpopo; Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal; Kimberley, Northern Cape.
We have students from remote farms and many in the CBDs. That's the beauty of writing - you can do it from anywhere.
We do assess your writing in your application, as we can only take on students who demonstrate good basic writing skills to start with.
The content of our courses are internationally applicable. Our journalism courses (Magazine Journalism and Travel Writing) use well known publications from around the globe, including GQ, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Seventeen, O, The Oprah Magazine, Men's Health, Marie Claire, Shape and National Geographic.
Most of our 'Write a Novel' and 'Write a Non-fiction Book' Course tutors have had dealings with local and international publishers, and will be able to guide you in choosing the right publisher(s) for you.
Q: Can I sell my work that I've written?
A: Yes, we encourage you to sell your work, whether it be a short story, feature article, novel or screenplay. We will teach you how to go about doing this. We have had many students who have sold their work, if not during their course, then shortly after. Click here to see some of our student success stories.
Any book or script you produce out of your course can be sent to a publisher, and you can earn royalties on its sale.
A: Yes, if you meet all the requirements for your course you will receive an SA Writers College certified certificate. We have now converted to e-certificates in PDF format to reduce our paper trail. You can attach these to your digital CV, or you can print out your certificate as you wish. If you want a printed version from us, we print in batches four times per year: end of Feb, end of May, end of Aug and end of Nov.
Q: Are your writing courses accredited?
A: Our courses are not accredited. Our courses are top-up courses for professionals in specialist writing fields. All our courses impart the necessary skills and knowledge required to work in the writing industry. Our success benchmark is whether our students get their writing published or not.
Q: Will my work be private?
A: Yes. Your work will only be seen by your tutor, and one other tutor for external examination purposes.
Q: What time commitments are there?
A: We estimate that the minimum time commitment for our five-month courses is approximately 30 hours in total (3 hours per week), including reading of course material, research, interviewing and writing. Our 'write a book' courses demand 100 hours over the span of a year.
Q: How much time do I get for assignments?
A: Each course varies, so please see the specific course requirements. Our 'write a book' courses must be completed within twelve months. You can work at your own at your own pace during this time, but students will only receive a certificate if they complete their course within this deadline.
Many of our short courses can be finished within 12 weeks, and we encourage you to complete one module per week.
Q: What if I can't meet my course deadline?
A: You will need to make a formal application for an extension to the college administrators. See more details here.
Q: How can I connect with other students doing the course?
A: You can like our page on Facebook and join our community of writers there, or you can post comments on our blog.
Q: Do I need special hardware/software?
A: No. You would need to have easy access to e-mail, as well as Internet facilities to post online comments and peruse the library. You will need a current Internet browser, version 5.5 or higher of Internet Explorer (version 5.0 for Mac users) or version 4.7 or higher of Netscape Navigator.
Q: Where can I get a job afterwards?
A: You can either work as a freelancer in your chosen field of writing, including scriptwriting, short story writing, travel writing, magazine journalism or hard news journalism. You can submit articles to any magazines, trade magazines, literary and other supplements of daily and weekly newspapers. There are also writing opportunities in business, writing advertorials and in-house newsletters for large corporations.
If you want to try your hand at editing, proofreading or even a career as a staff writer for a publication, you can apply for an internship at any of the big publishing houses. Each course will provide tips and tools for how you can make money from your writing.
Q: What if I just want to do a course to improve my writing?
A: Your writing skills will definitely improve on all our courses, and you're likely to find the assignments stimulating and creative. Skills that are taught include:
- Creating ‘scenes' to show, rather than just ‘telling' the reader.
- Developing logical flow using transitions, and constancy of tenses and point of view.
- Create lively anecdotes, with plot, character and climax.
- Apt usage of quotations.
- Varying sentence and paragraph lengths.
- Active, pithy sentence structures.
- Evoking an emotional response with your writing.
If you want a course that is specifically geared to improving your all-round writing skills, we recommend 'The Writing Coach Course', as well as our Basics of Creative Writing Course.
Q: What if I have a finished story, and I want to know if it is good enough to publish, but without doing a whole course first?
A: Our tutors offer affordable critiques and expert advice for each genre of writing. You can submit the following:
- Magazine Articles
- Newspaper Articles
- Radio and TV Documentary Scripts
- Short Stories
- Scripts for TV, Radio Serials or Stage Drama
- Children's Books for 7- to 9-year-olds
- Children's Books for 10- to 12-year-olds
- Books for Teens
- Newsletter Articles and Newsletter Formatting
- Business Reports and Proposals
We can tell you if your work is publishable, how to make it publishable and optimise your chances of landing it on a publisher's desk. If advice on where to send your manuscript is what you're after, we know the answer!