Basics of Creative Writing



Learn the tools required to write any form of fiction: from novels to short stories.

This online course teaches the vital skills required to master the art of creative writing, namely dialogue, action and description. Learn how to balance these elements in your writing, how to introduce mood and tension, and how to write scenes that read professionally.

You will explore how to write sentences, paragraphs, and scenes that are the building blocks for short stories and novels. This course is suitable for any writer who wants to refine the craft of making characters and stories come alive.




“The course can be described as enriching, challenging, inspiring, life changing and addictive.”

Andie Tane, Basics of Creative Writing Course




Course Details:


Students must complete:


Admission Requirements:

  • Modules: 5 Modules over 200 pages
  • Duration: Course can be completed at own pace within four months
  • Start date: At any time; applications all year round
  • Basic writing skills are essential
  • Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required
  • No previous tertiary qualification required

Click here for the enrolment form


Tutor for this course:

Helen Brain_ Creative Writing Tutor at SA Writers CollegeHelen 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.

Helen also tutors the Advanced Creative Writing course and the Write a Book for Children course.

This course is also available for Afrikaans writers.


Course Curriculum


Module 1 -Learning the Craft of Writing

  • The difference between formal or business writing and story telling.
  • Learning the components: description, action and dialogue.
  • Tasks: Complete and submit 20 short exercises practising these elements.

Module 2 - Learning How to Write Scenes

  • Putting it all together - learn how to write balanced scenes using description, action and dialogue to determine the pace.
  • Learning from the experts - analysing scenes from the world's best fiction writers.
  • Writing apprentice pieces.
  • How to build up a scene step by step
  • Tasks: Analyse several scenes from established writers for description, action, dialogue, mood and pace. Write apprentice pieces in the style of the listed writers. Write three versions of two short scenes

Module 3 - Putting Your Skills into Practice

  • Creating backstories
  • How to write a synopsis for a scene
  • Writing your own scene
  • Tasks: Plan your own scene. Submit a synopsis, back stories, setting and scene plans. Write your 1200-word scene.

Module 4 - The Writing Life

  • Where to next for your writing?
  • A few necessities to write
  • Making a commitment to write
  • How to improve your drafts
  • Task: Learn to edit and rewrite your scene. Submit the second draft of your scene

Module 5 - Opportunities for Writers

  • Over 80 pages of local and international writing opportunities
  • Task: Submit the third and final draft of your scene

Click here to apply for this course


“I could not have found a better college. The course was wonderful in every respect.”

Gill Palliser, Basics of Creative Writing Course



How does the course work?

The course consists of five 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 forty 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. You will download the next module from our student center.


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 40 writing assignments
  • The course must have been completed within four 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.

After studying the modules, the exercises should take between two and four hours to complete.

Enrol here

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:




Read what past-students say about this course

“The course was extremely helpful and I learned a lot. Reading now takes on a new dimension. Thinking and analysing the material within the course will definitely benefit my writing. Helen is very knowledgeable and was a great teacher. She provided an even and guiding hand along the path, which I appreciated. I would recommend the course to any person wanting to understand the Basics of Creative Writing. The course material and the tutors are fantastic and I look forward to furthering my writing in the future.” Ralph Giraudeaux, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course material was informative and relevant. Helen was a great tutor. Her instructions were clear and her comments helpful. I feel confident that I have strengthened my Creative Writing skills. This is actually my second course through The Writers’ College. I completed (with distinction) the Travel Writing Course under the guidance of Don Pinnock. The  Writers’ College is an excellent resource for individuals who have a passion for writing but just need the extra encouragement and knowledge to pursue their dreams.” Carmen Harrison, Basics of Creative Writing

“Overall, the course more than met my expectations. It offered a great overview of creative writing with a diverse range of challenging exercises and good exposure to different writers. This combination was both engaging and fun. Working on the final scene was particularly rewarding, in terms of receiving good developmental input to ensure that the final draft is of good quality. Working with Helen was brilliant. She is great at giving encouragement and a good critique, so that good opportunity is provided for development. It was a fun, rewarding and challenging experience.” James Mortley, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“It was very interesting and informative – I learned a lot. Helen is a magnificent tutor that masterfully responds with the right critique that automatically inspires you to improve despite any shortcomings you might have. I’m very satisfied  with what I got out of the course. It is a well-rounded course that touches on all the necessary aspects of writing for beginners without being too overwhelming. It was a wonderful journey of discovery that changed me. I can’t go back to who I was before – the writing world beckons. Thanks to The Writers’ College I can now move forward with certainty to achieve my goals with practice, sound knowledge and the right guidance from the courses provided here. Thank you for making these courses available and opening new doors.” Camilla Milford, Basics of Creative Writing Course
“My tutor was wonderful and I learned a great deal from the feedback she gave me. In my opinion, this was the true value of the course because the feedback I received was insightful and I was able to apply it to successive stages of the course. My experience was wonderful, especially thanks to my tutor, and well worth the cost of the course.” David Jansen, Basics of Creative Writing

“I really would recommend this as a foundation for any writer. It made me know I knew nothing. I am very happy I enrolled for this course. My tutor was really nice and made me think. She understood that I came from nowhere and laid all the foundation I needed to understand the course material.” Ifechi Jane Odoe, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was demanding, and I had to dig deep, but it was worth it. It has opened my eyes to the art of writing; in whatever I read now I look out for the aspects I learnt in the course. I had a wonderful experience on the course. Koos was friendly and helpful and I rate my tutor, Helen Brain, higher than “excellent”. She was kind, but very honest . When I registered for the course my confidence in my writing abilities was very low, but I felt empowered with her feedback. I can’t wait to work with her again in the Advanced Creative Writing  Course. When I signed up, I just wanted to be a writer, but now I’m aware of the different forms of writing that I could engage in professionally.” Mthunzi Collin Calata, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I wanted to learn about the basic ingredients of good creative writing, and I did. I enjoyed the exercises and found Helen’s  feedback incredibly valuable. I’m glad I did the course; it was a good starting point and I feel more confident about the quality of my writing.” Frieda-Marié De Jager, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“My experience on the course was a good one.  It has equipped me with the tools I needed to improve my writing.” Yola Bastiman, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The Basics of Creative Writing Course offers everything. It’s been an incredible journey for me. I love writing, and learning to understand specific skills has been truly wonderful. Helen is exceptional. She answered my questions when I struggled with certain areas of the course and gave me confidence and the will to keep writing. She is a very motivational tutor. My experience at The Writers’ College has taught me a side of writing to remember for the future. Thank you for everything.” Carol Hook, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was very good value in many ways. It was a great way to get into writing and with the clear material provided and good tutoring, an excellent start of (hopefully) a life of writing.” Diedrik Oomens, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“It was an absolute pleasure taking this course. It was very professionally presented and the staff are friendly, helpful and supportive.  My tutor Helen was absolutely amazing. Her insight and suggestions were both helpful and much appreciated. I would definitely recommend The Writers’ College to anyone who wants to hone their writing skills.” Jana Fourie, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course really helped to improve my confidence in my ideas and my writing. Before starting the course I was anxious of harsh criticism because I love writing and didn’t want to spoil my enjoyment of it. Helen Brain balanced her constructive criticism perfectly; I felt she respected my writing but also wanted to help me progress. I know that she would have replied to any queries that I had. I wanted to set aside some time for myself to be creative. I feel that the course has allowed me to do this. The course has left me feeling inspired to write. Thank you!” Rebecca Byrne, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course challenged me;  it entailed not only trying to find something interesting or creative to write about, but also to use my head and apply the techniques learnt. Helen was very helpful and I found her suggestions and comments very positive and motivational instead of critical. It was so refreshing to learn something from a positive, inspiring woman. She relieved my anxiety of trying out something new and made  the “step´´ a very enjoyable and positive experience. I view writing and read books completely differently now,  and I am even more inspired to put stories and experiences on paper. The feedback from the admin department as well as from Helen was always prompt. My experience of The Writers’ College is that it is a reputable institution without being scholastic and rigid. It makes sense to learn from people in the field that have accomplished something and know what they are talking about.” Liezle Eul, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was great; I really learnt a lot! My tutor was really good and I received very valuable feedback. She kept me positive while also nudging me in new directions. Overall the course was very efficient with fantastic course content. It was well worth it!” Pieter Kruger, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was very positive for me. It helped me understand the process of creative writing better. The guidance of my tutor on the exercises showed me my strengths and weakness; and how to improve my writing. She was very honest and professional. I felt comfortable to send her my writing, and her feedback was very constructive. After completing the course I felt there was an improvement in my understanding of the writing process, and in my work.” Rene Goldin, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I enjoyed the course very much! It is a good way for a novice writer to learn more about the Basics of Creative Writing. Ultimately by the time you are finished you are able to write a short story, with clarity. You learn about the English language, as well as where to start with a story. The characters, the scenes, action and dialogue. I can say that I learnt a great deal, and it has motivated me to  try writing and implementing my skills. The course is also affordable which was a nice bonus. Helen was always easy to get hold of and would always try and answer my questions promptly. I found the content of the course applicable and easily laid out. The Writers College was a great college to better improve myself and my skills.” Sarah Moodie, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course has helped me to build confidence and identify areas for improvement in my writing. It is a well-designed course. I really enjoyed the variety of exercises – they were both creative and challenging. Helen’s comments were incisive, honest and encouraging. I was very pleased with the way she supported and challenged me. I had a super time completing the course and it definitely reignited my love for writing and motivated me for the future! Thank you very much!” Jenny Schmidt, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“It was an enjoyable and useful introductory course for beginner writers. Helen gave critical and timely feedback which improved the learning experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn, or remember, the basics of creative writing.  The structure and deadlines of the course are very useful for professionals who otherwise wouldn’t allocate time to writing”. Richard Tessendorf, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I have wanted to do a writing course for a very long time; I decided to take the plunge this year and start with ‘Basics of Creative Writing’. The whole process with the Writers’ College was slick and efficient from registering right through to completion. My tutor, Helen Brain, was amazing. Her feedback was insightful and I really valued her guidance. I looked forward to hearing from her after I had submitted each module. I was looking to challenge myself and this I certainly did. I enjoyed the whole process and will definitely do some of the other Writers’ College courses in the future”.  Fiona Groves, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I would describe my experience with the Writers’ College as the best learning experience I have had, second to none. Helen was excellent, friendly and helpful at all times. I cannot wait to do my next course with her. It was the first time in my life that I enjoyed learning and it is also the first time I can take something away from a course and feel good about it. You will be seeing me again.” Christi Smit, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was well administered, well tutored, relevant and surprisingly challenging. I quickly became aware of how many technical aspects of writing I had never considered before. Helen was down to earth and direct (she gave me the choice of ‘sugar coated’ or the ‘real oil’!) which I appreciated. She was always supportive and prompt in her response to queries and feedback. I was really pleased to be able to work with someone like her. The whole experience has been very positive. I loved the fact there was a quality course which was easily accessible and could be done in my own time without having to link to a University. Buyer beware – the content is challenging – which is a good thing!” Loren Allpress, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was highly informative and helped me tremendously to better my writing skills. Helen was very knowledgeable and consistently steered me in the right direction. I would describe the course as very helpful for building skills and teaching you to streamline your writing.” Conor Windust, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The Writers’ College provided a very useful and convenient course which I could do from home. I started this course with self doubt and anxiety but with time it gave me the confidence and valuable knowledge to pursue writing. I really liked the way the course gradually lead to the ‘final stage’ where I could write a scene on my own. Helen gave prompt and necessary feedback which made great improvements to my writing. I am thankful for her guidance and admire her balance in critique and inspiration. Dealing with staff at the Writers’ College was very smooth; they were always there to provide assistance.” Jaya Singh Sisodia, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The online format of the course is ideal for developing writing skills because you are forced to engage rather than be a passive member of a class. The course objectives were clear and Helen’s critiques were easy to follow; she answered queries quickly and succinctly. The course has inspired me to continue developing my craft. It was worth every cent spent and every minute of my time.” Liezl Watson, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“Without wishing to sound melodramatic … doing this course has changed my path in life. Before I started the course I felt that I may be able to put words together in some sort of pleasing order. But it was Helen’s confidence in me that has made me realise that I do have a talent and it is worth pursuing. So my new path is writing, I have taken the first steps and have no intention of walking. Helen’s praise and encouragement made me feel so so good. I cannot thank her enough. Life changing. Enough said.” Michelle Peart, Basics of Creative Writing

“I found the course enlightening. It gave me courage to start a blog to see if others think my writing abilities are good. I would never have taken such a step if I didn’t do this course. Helen was very helpful and made me appreciate my ability as a writer. I found her very approachable. I could ask her for more detailed feedback with the assurance that she would assist me. I’m sad that my course has ended and my communication with Helen has come to an end. I wanted to enhance my skills as a creative writer and this course has helped me along this part. The course overall was fun and enjoyable.” Fatima Seedat, Basics of Creative Writing

“I found the course very enlightening and well worth doing. I learned lots and I am looking forward to putting things into practice.” Jennie Wells, Basics of Creative Writing

“I really enjoyed the course. Each module was interesting and challenging. The course taught me a lot about writing, what I know and what I need to learn. It helped improve my writing skills all round. The course notes were very helpful and Helen was fantastic. She gave positive feedback while also providing constructive criticism. I made a lot of improvements in my writing due to her advice.” William Boyland, Basics of Creative Writing

“Everything about the course exceeded my expectations. I have acquired valuable new skills and insights that already help me write better prose and have given me more tools to use in my commercial writing projects. Helen is highly capable in both creative writing and teaching. Her ability to quickly discern my level of skill and mentor accordingly felt as if she created the course materials just for my purpose. I cannot rate her enthusiasm and encouragement enough. I’m totally impressed and grateful for all the Writers’ College has taught me! So much so that I am already preparing to enrol on the next course.” Vince Love, Basics of Creative Writing

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and feel that I have polished my Basic Creative Writing skills greatly. I had always done well in English at school (many years ago) but discovered I had much to learn. I had tried a writing course with another provider and my feedback was consistently too good. I knew that this was not realistic and felt I was not benefiting from the course. Helen Brain was a very good tutor. As promised in her early communication, her appraisals and criticisms were honest and helpful. The individual tuition was great value for money. I plan to do another course with the Writers’ College as finances allow. I felt I learned a lot from the course; it was professional and challenging. I would recommend this course to other keen writers.” Kerry Montgomery, Basics of Creative Writing
“I feel like I have learnt quite a bit more about writing. Helen was very encouraging and supportive and gave good feedback. It was a pleasure working with her. The College’s service was very professional.” Hayley Mugglestone, Basics of Creative Writing

“I enjoyed the course very much. Helen Brain is a great teacher. Her insight and advice will stay with me in my writing forever. My intention was to get refreshed on the Basics of Creative Writing, but I feel like I’m leaving informed and not merely refreshed. The efficiency of the registry department is far higher than I expected, and the course material offered is fun and insightful.” Elizabeth van Niekerk-Venter , Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was great fun, and Helen was awesome, thanks. I Loved the initial deadline sheet; I knew exactly what was expected and when. I would tell others who are considering a course with the Writers’ College to go for it!” Ilze Thomas, Basics of Creative Writing
“The course offered me the opportunity to let my hair down and really explore my creative side; I’m all smiles. Helen has a particularly sensitive and intuitive approach that did not inhibit my creativity, and at the same time was open and direct enough to tell me what works and what doesn’t. It was so great to find a genuine and sincere medium that allows me to blow my creative brains into a completely new dimension and to receive open and constructive criticism.” Rob Canning-Rogers, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“My experience was great. I have not done any kind of course since school. It refreshed my writing skills and boosted my confidence, which I needed.  I received great feedback from my tutor; it was honest and helpful. It was quite a challenge at times but overall it was an excellent course.” Melissa Graham, Basics of Creative Writing

“My course with The Writers' College was challenging, inspiring and unbelievably rewarding. Before I started, I was unsure of my abilities, but I now feel confident that I can actually write. Now I am inspired to keep writing! I have a much better understanding of the skills required for successful writing. The steady progression through to the final scene ensured that I was well equipped to produce a good result. My experience with my tutor was just great! Helen Brain was extremely encouraging throughout and gave constructive criticism. I particularly liked the fact that she commented on the positive aspects of my writing as well as the negatives. In this way I was inspired to keep improving. She was really great and I am glad she tutors the Advanced Course too! The satisfaction of being able to create something that others want to read is just amazing.” Bindi Davies, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was enjoyable, practical and motivational. However, it is not an easy journey; the lecturer pushes you to achieve a high level of writing proficiency. Helen Brain was a no-nonsense lecturer. She straightened me out on several issues; I enjoyed working with her. I feel more confident in my writing now; I would strongly recommend the course and Helen to anyone.” Thomas King, Basics of Creative Writing

“I enjoyed doing the course. The course material in general was easy to follow and very useful. Helen gave very succinct advice that was always spot on. She was critical without being de-motivating. Her advice really opened my eyes to some of my bad habits, which has helped me immensely. I could fit the writing in around my schedule and it really felt that my work was given individual attention.” Melissa Talago, Basics of Creative Writing

“I really enjoyed this course and appreciated the comments from my tutor Helen Brain. Her feedback was both supportive and pointed out important problems with my writing. Helen is a great teacher; she is clearly an experienced writer who knows her subject matter. I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to do further courses with The Writers’ College. I feel much more confident now. I learned, had fun and received valuable feedback. Thanks very much.” Andreas Engelbrech, Basics of Creative Writing

“One has to stretch oneself, and this course was challenging while being most enjoyable. My tutor gave  positive critiques; she was able to convey the message very well, and always gave feedback on time. I learnt to see scenes in a very different perspective. Overall, it was very encouraging and a lot of fun.” Tracey Warren, Basics of Creative Writing

“It was a great learning experience! My tutor was a good mentor who taught me a lot on this course. The Writers’ College is a great place to learn writing skills.” Pravesh Naidoo, Basics of Creative Writing

“It was a very well planned course with easy to understand material and relevant exercises. My tutor was pleasant and easy to deal with. She gave prompt replies with constructive comments.”  Ann Wickens, Basics of Creative Writing

“Taking on something new and having to learn more once you’ve left school can be rather daunting but doing this course has helped me get over that and I’m eager to do more. I really enjoyed working with Helen; she was wonderful in her way of helping, explaining and guiding me to write better. It was bitter-sweet when the course ended as I was really getting into it. I enjoyed the course so much I am motivated me to take on more courses in the new year. For anyone wanting to learn and grow with their writing skills I would highly recommend The Writers’ College.” Joanne Nel, Basics of Creative Writing

“I loved this course from beginning to end; it never felt like I was doing work. I strongly recommend this course to beginners; the exercises improved my skills immensely. Helen Brain gives fair and direct feedback, she doesn't beat around the bush and always makes sure you're writing to your full potential. I loved every minute of it.” Christina van Der Merwe, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course is presented in an easy and stimulating way which makes learning easy. I had been writing for a while, but lacked the basic tools for making a story readable and captivating. My tutor Helen was excellent, she encouraged me to look at my work from different angles and think a bit deeper. She was available and motivating and her encouragement went a long way. Studying with the Writers’ College fits easily into the life of someone like me, by making studying seem like a stimulating  pastime activity.” Bertha Hlalethoa, Basics of Creative Writing

“It was a positive and informative experience. I improved my writing, and learned some tricks that are serving me well. Helen helped me see deficiencies in my writing and encouraged me to overcome them. She was prompt, and provided me with clear and concise feedback that I could work with. The final product of the last module has been well received, and I enjoyed writing it. The Writers’ College is an excellent resource, and I’m looking forward to participating in more courses.” Gustav Oosthuysen, Basics of Creative Writing

“Overall, I would describe my experience on the course as great! I now know where my weaknesses and strengths lie. Helen was a blessing. She provided constructive feedback that helped me learn from my mistakes. She also identified what aspects of my writing she enjoyed or what was done well. My objective was to start writing again and to see if I was able to write well... The course met my objectives and made me realise that I do have potential but I have to put in the work. The overall experience with the Writers’ College was hassle free!” Melissa Govender, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was incredibly enlightening! It was easy to follow, and I was able to work it around a busy schedule. It was exactly what I needed to begin my own writing studies.  Helen was able to give solid feedback , direction and the confidence to complete each module. It was an absolute pleasure working with her! The courses provided at the Writers’ College are invaluable to anyone looking to enhance their writing skills.” Jared Aisher, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course turned out to be exactly what I needed to develop my creative writing skills and become a better writer. Helen's feedback was quick, practical and useful. I feel I now understand the criteria by which creative writing is measured.” David Roberts, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was breathtaking and I would recommend it to my friends. It brought the best out in me, and it also gave me confidence to write, something I needed the most. Helen was excellent, her comments were constructive and character-building. She was warm, interactive and helpful. I enjoyed her course a lot and would recommend her to anyone who would love to register with the college. The staff members the College were very helpful from the onset. I’m looking forward to my next course with them.” Vera Mokemane, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was well worth the time and money. I liked my tutor Helen and I look forward to working with her again. The course met all my objectives indeed; I wish to do several more with the Writers’ College over the next few years.” John Crofts, Basics of Creative Writing

“I enjoyed the challenge and opened my very business-orientated mind to another way of thinking. I Intend to do the Advanced Creative Writing course shortly and I am also considering the Travel Writing course. Helen Brain provided wonderful guidance for my untrained mind, offering advice in a very pleasant and objective manner. Overall I would describe the course as thoroughly enjoyable.” Patricia Fay Smit, Basics of Creative Writing

“The experience was great and I learnt heaps. Helen was honest and I always looked forward to reading her comments knowing I could improve with every exercise I tackled. I've always dreamed of writing a novel but never felt I was good enough to do so. Through doing this course, and having Helen as my tutor, I realised that I can write and I now plan to do so.” Laura Ratahi, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was very informative and enjoyable. I have seen a marked improvement in my Creative Writing skills. The Writers’ College offers such a variety of informative and wonderful courses, I'd love to do several.” Robyn Wilkin, Basics of Creative Writing

“Overall, it was an excellent and very enjoyable course. Helen was a thoughtful, knowledgeable and supportive tutor; she is very likeable and kind human being.” Brett Shand, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was a very good introduction to creative writing. It has motivated me to take the Advanced Creative Writing Course. Helen had some spot-on critiques and my writing improved after I followed her suggestions. The many exercises got me writing, instead of just looking at a blank page; I also feel more skilled than I did a few months ago. Overall, I had fun, improved my writing and I look forward to signing up for another course, so I'll just let those facts speak for themselves.” Joshua Smith, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was a great introduction to the world of writing. Helen was great! She was patient, understanding and helpful. It met all my objectives; I feel motivated and inspired.” Willem Vorster, Basics of Creative Writing

“I would describe the course as perfect. I loved every minute of it. Helen was very helpful and caring. The whole experience was fantastic. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys to write and wants to further their knowledge on creative writing.” Jessica White, Basics of Creative Writing

“My experience with the course was, in a word, great. The notes were excellent, I found my tutor’s comments very helpful. Helen responded to additional queries I had and was able to pick out some good improvement points for me to work on. I definitely feel that I have learnt a lot about the basics of creative writing; it was good starting point for me.” Kevin Blignaut, Basics of Creative Writing

“It was a very useful and enlightening course that taught me that there is more to creative writing than knowing the language fairly well. Helen was very helpful, her feedback clarified which areas of my writing I need to work on. The course met all my objectives; I now feel the need to take writing very seriously as well as continue to learn as much as I can in order to be a good writer. The course has helped me gain knowledge and the confidence to get myself started.” Kayise Maphalala, Basics of Creative Writing

“I enjoyed doing the course. Helen is a really good lecturer. I really enjoyed learning from her. Overall, I learnt a lot and had fun while doing so.” Elaine Borman, Basics of Creative Writing

“I've caught the writing bug. As far as I know there is no cure - only writing courses to help treat the symptoms. The Basics of Creative Writing Course has provided some relief for now. I’ll be sure to enrol in another course with the Writers' College if my symptoms flare up again. Helen was a wonderful tutor to have. I've come to realise that writing is tough but so rewarding if you stick to it. Helen’s guidance and encouragement kept me motivated and helped me to press on. Doing the course was a wonderful way to get guidance and advice from those who’ve been in the very same beginner shoes I find myself wearing now.” Wanda van der Wath, The Basics of Creative Writing Course

“It was a fun and enlightening experience. Helen Brain was most encouraging; her critique was always valid and helpful. The course met my objectives; in retrospect I could have possibly tried a little harder but I have renewed confidence in my writing and I learnt some very useful storytelling techniques. Overall, I was very pleased with the course. I would definitely recommend The Writers’ College to anyone looking to enhance their writing skills.” Katherine Otty, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I had a lot of fun with the course; I set out to learn how to write and I did. The notes were informative and gave practical examples for all the topics. Helen has so much knowledge, it would be difficult not to learn anything from her. Her feedback was always insightful and it made me look at my work in a different way. The Writers’ College gives anyone the opportunity to start learning. I really believe that anyone would benefit from doing one of their many courses. I'm grateful for all the knowledge I have gained.” Werner Diedericks, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“This course was exactly what I was looking for; it really improved my knowledge of the key components of creative writing. The course notes were fantastic - clear, concise and easy to follow. Helen was fantastic to work with; responsive, friendly and her comments showed me that she had really taken the time to read what I had written and knew her stuff! I would love to have her as a tutor again. The course met all my objectives; it was absolutely great.  Thanks for your flexibility - the Writers’ College, and for working in with my many other commitments and deadlines. I really appreciated this - it made a huge difference to my experience of the course.” Claire Barry, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I was impressed with the volume and depth of the exercises. Some of them were very demanding but they opened my eyes to just how stories are crafted. I've learnt valuable tools to edit my texts and cut them back to what is required to push stories forward without getting lost in long descriptions. Now I feel more confident about the writing process - thank you. With English being my second language, I doubted whether I would be able to write in a way that was acceptable to a native speaker but Helen gave me the feeling I could write just as well. She answered all my questions directly and promptly and encouraged me to keep on practising. Thanks to her constructive criticism I understand more about how to build a story and keep the reader's interest. What's more, I've learned a great deal about the English language just by writing and rewriting. The course helped me to be a more confident and inspiring writer.” Guenter Prinesdom, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I loved the experience; I truly feel I learnt so many new and practical writing skills from doing the course. Helen Brain  was extremely supportive and constructive with her feedback. I am very happy with my experience with The Writers’ College. I'm currently doing the Advanced Creative Writing Course with Helen - which I guess says it all.” Deborah Forbes, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course was extremely helpful. Helen Brain is a good teacher; she was positive and supportive and she gave a lot of good advice. Overall, it was a very positive experience and it has encouraged me to do more writing.” Joan Rotherham, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The course was specific to my objective which was to improve my fiction writing. It was good to visit the basics of writing again and give concepts some formality and structure. It also expanded my knowledge of ways to gather material. I was particularly glad to use some of my existing fiction in some of the exercises which gave me "double" feedback; it also made the course and Helen's comments more relevant. Helen was a very gentle and encouraging tutor which was great when you are exposing yourself to criticism and critique for the first time. She was most gracious as I bombarded her with assignments with no break in between! The course showed me I had a good grasp of what is expected of a writer and I feel more confident in going forward. The writing community was so different to my usual communities but I felt welcome and was very appreciative of the encouragement I received from administrators and course tutors.” Fiona Coward, Basics of Creative Writing

“I found the course interesting; I have developed skills in creative writing which I appreciate. My tutor Helen was quick to respond and accommodating (particularly with my time management towards the end of the course). I appreciated her helpful feedback and encouragement along the way. I am pleased to say I gained confidence in my writing from her feedback. Overall, I felt the College and its courses were very accessible and I received good quality training.” Sue Mitchell, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course was stimulating and motivating. Although correspondence was brief, I built a respect for Helen based on the good outcomes of her advice. It felt good being under her tutelage. The course met my objectives; I am somewhat more confident of my abilities. It helped me see my work more critically; learning how to spot the dross has been very important.” Bill McAndie, Basics of Creative Writing

“The teaching was great, I just need to motivate myself more to write every day and consult online documentation. Helen was more than willing to mark my work speedily as I pushed the boundary of my deadline. I really appreciated that. Online communication is an excellent method for teaching writing, but like I said, I need to motivate myself to 'do it every day', which no course or institution can do for you. I look forward to more courses and more good experiences.” Manuela Tyne, Basics of Creative Writing Course.

“It was a valuable course that delivered what it promised. It taught me the Basics of Creative Writing in a very simple, yet effective way. Helen is extremely wise, patient and a helpful tutor. She inspires would-be writers by providing feedback which is both honest and encouraging. I've never signed up for any sort of writing course before (nor have I done a lot of writing) but after being guided by such a brilliant teacher I feel compelled to continue writing. The  Writers’ College offers quality one-on-one tutoring to students with talented, wise and accomplished writers willing to share their valuable knowledge with you.” Suzanne Kolaczynski, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“The course can be described as enriching, challenging, inspiring, life changing and addictive. Helen was a wonderful tutor, inspiring, encouraging and helpful. She pushed and challenged me, she didn’t allow me to rest on my laurels. She gave me confidence to try new things, take risks and grow. The course really helped develop my writing skills; I thought I was a good writer before, but now I realise I have much to learn. Taking the course has started me in the right direction, thank you.” Andie Tane, Basics of Creative Writing Course.

“What a learning experience! I loved doing this course and learnt such a lot. Helen was an excellent tutor and gave me incredible advice. I will be doing the advanced course later in the year.” Janine du Preez, Basics of Creative Writing

Helen was extremely helpful and very clear with instructions and criticism. She also didn't make any genre restrictions and encouraged me to simply speak with my own voice. The course met my objectives perhaps even more than I had in mind! The course is something which anyone can benefit from and which will open up new doors to them. Gratia-Mari Joubert, Basics of Creative Writing

“I loved it! It was everything I was looking for in a course. It was well designed to step a person through the basics and grow in their ability. Helen is superb! She gave excellent feedback and is upfront about your shortfalls, which is necessary for growth. I found the Writers' College highly professional and it met all my expectations in a writing course. I have already signed up for another course.” Catherine Myers, Basics of Creative Writing Course

The course was informative and I feel I've learnt a lot. I found the course comfortable. It was easy enough to do without feeling the need to give up, yet challenging enough not to be boring. The experience with my lecturer was fantastic, I hope in future I can work with a lecturer equally as great and helpful. I was happy with the level of criticism, it was constructive and encouraging. The course has taught me a lot about creative writing. Overall, I found the experience at SA Writers' College enjoyable. The College seems very well organised and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about writing. Monica Terlouw, Basics of Creative Writing

“The course is well conceived, challenging and is backed up by an experienced tutor. Helen skilfully and accurately diagnosed a very common writing problem from the exercises I completed, namely that my prose was overwritten and a shade purple. No one had told me that before, I found it so valuable. That alone was worth the price of the course, not to mention all the other valuable insights I gained. It was exactly what I wanted to take my writing to the next level and now I hope to see my work published. Overall, it was an enjoyable, apprentice-style course that has challenged me and equipped me with practical writing tools.” Andy Evans, Basics of Creative Writing

“I found the course far better than I expected and very worthwhile. I found Helen Brain very helpful and encouraging. I feel that I've learnt a lot from her and for that I am very thankful.” Daniel Coe, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“Fantastic [course]. I learned a great deal, had fun and wrote a scene that my children have read and want to know what happens next. It made me write everyday which I loved. It was scary to show myself but exciting to watch my progress and self confidence grow. To have someone help shape my writing and be honest with me was invaluable. Helen's constructive criticism has already become lasting guidance for me. Helen's comments at times made me blush with a Homer Simpson "Doh" at mistakes I made but also laugh at myself too. She was honest, encouraging and at the same time strict which was a very good thing.” Lucie McIntosh, Basics of Creative Writing Course

“A wonderfully positive experience! This course improved my writing, it gave me confidence to tell people I write and I now share my work with others. I was a bit sceptical about doing an on-line course, fearing a lack of the "hands-on" approach but my tutor Helen Brain quickly put those fears to rest. Helen’s replies followed swiftly with excellent feedback. Course material and completion requirements were delivered promptly, I found them informative and to the point. I loved doing this course with Helen and hope enrol for the Advanced Creative Writing Course. This course helped my writing tremendously.” Karin Lamprecht, Basics of Creative Writing

“It was a wonderful experience. I loved that I was able to go at my own pace. My tutor Helen was detailed in her feedback and if I did something well, she would tell me. It was an amazing course and definitely met my objectives. I learned a lot and had fun at the same time.” Michael Mountain, Basics of Creative Writing

"A very pleasant learning experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am finding what I learned very useful. The course was well set-out and easy to fit in to my busy life. Overall, it made a very positive, good impression on me. I would recommend it to others. I really did appreciate Helen's positive encouragement. She really did inspire me to be a better writer. It was excellent. No negatives at all. Keep up the good work!" Jenny Lovemore, Basics of Creative Writing

"Helen is a brilliant tutor who gave me the 'push' I needed to improve my writing. She sees a student's true potential, and knows just the right way to bring it to the fore. Thank you Helen! I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and have become a better writer for it. Having now completed two courses with the college, the reason I come back is for the manner in which the courses are taught, the excellent tutors and the comprehensive course material." Bronwyn Katzke, Bas

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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.

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.

Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout
Email: [email protected]

You can also leave a voice message on 021 813 9224 and we will phone you back within one working day.

9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Work for Us

Vacancies at SAWC

Writing Services


Contact Us

Nichola Meyer or Koos Turenhout
Email: [email protected]


9-5 Monday to Friday

Work for Us

Vacancies at SAWC