Playing with Words: an introduction to creative writing

What is meant by ‘creative writing’? Will I be any good at it? These two questions are our common starting point in this introductory course designed to teach you a few useful craft skills, ranging from getting a workable idea to adopting a point of view, to understanding how genre influences plot, character and style.

Experience the pleasure of sharing your work, and learn how you can improve your writing style with judicious editing. This class offers a supportive friendly atmosphere for those wanting to’ give it a go’.

Bring a laptop (or a pen and a notebook) and try out various writing styles and forms in a fun few hours that will prepare you to continue your writing journey.

Course outline

Session  1

Your writer’s voice- what is it, how do you access it?
The difference between raw and created voice.  How your writer’s voice is unique.

Are there rules and formulas for writers?
Common misunderstandings about what writers need to do and not do

Claiming your territory as a writer
What matters to you and how this can inform your subject matter and give it narrative drive

Plot and character: what is their relationship?
How different genres and reader expectation affect the relationship between plot and character. Common narrative structures, using character to develop plot.

Session 2

Exploring viewpoint: a powerful way to connect with the reader.
The differences between various points of view and how those choices affect your reader.

Common stylistic mistakes: how to recognize and avoid them
Purple prose, clichés, wooden dialogue, clunky exposition.

Self-editing: improve your style and clarify your intentions
Three kinds of editing, seeking outside feed-back, finding out about further community writing support

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • have a better understanding of what is meant by creative writing
  • identify genres they wish to study and practice further

Who should attend?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to write and is looking explore new writing ideas.

The Writer’s Tool Kit

Fiction’s purpose is to create a continuous and engaging dream in the mind of a reader. This course looks closely at the key craft skills writers use, unpacking complex ideas in a creative and practical way. Topics include to finding and honing your own voice as a writer, understanding and successfully using point of view, experimenting with innovative genre-crossing, types of narrative structure, creating character and generating plot from character journey, and ways to self-edit and re-draft work. Each session offers pertinent quotes from established writers, examples from works of fiction, practical class exercises, group work, feedback and optional home tasks.

Course outline

Session 1: This session opens the door to the world of fiction, offering ideas and practical exercises designed to deepen your understanding of the writer’s craft.

Topics we will be covering are:

  • What is the purpose of fiction?
  • How do you nurture the impulse to write?
  • How do you find your writer’s voice?
  • How do you creating meaning through narrative structure?
  • How can you experiment with genre?
  • How do you find your story premise or ‘heart’?

Session 2: This session is about finding the right tone and the point of view to tell your story. We will look closely at differing points of view to see how a situation can be endlessly “seen” depending on who is seeing it.

Session 3: This session focuses on your developing your writing style by recognizing different styles and experimenting with them. We will look at the difference between emotion and sentimentality and how various writers create atmosphere through their choice of language. We will also play with types of form and narrative structure to generate new story ideas.

Session 4: This session is about creating your reader’s connection to your characters. We will learn how to create a strong character journey, and how to use dreams and obstacles to build up narrative tension and create forward motion. We will try out accessing your character’s inner thoughts through dialogue, monologue, and narration.

Session 5: In our final session we will read aloud work we have done in class and get written feedback from others on the course. We will also talk about dealing with writer’s block, managing feedback, how to self- edit and the importance of re-writing.

Learning outcomes

Learners will be able to demonstrate some of the key craft skills required to create fiction.

Who should attend?

Writers (and readers) of fiction who have some experience in writing from the imagination, or have been exposed to fiction through their reading. This is a mid-level course and not suitable for beginners.

Gain an insight to some of the most famous researcher’s, experiments and case studies in the field of psychology

Are you fascinated by Psychology? This course offers insight into some of the famous researcher’s, experiments and case studies that have helped to shape the field of psychology as we know it today.

Learn about the lives and research of Skinner, Pavlov, Freud, Piaget, Bandura, Milgram, and Loftus.

Explore famous experiments from psychology, Pavlov’s Dog, Little Albert, Harlow’s monkeys, Ash’s conformity study, Milgram’s obedience experiments and the Stanford prison experiment. Examine the findings and impact on the field of psychology.

Examine famous case studies of psychology. The impact of Phineas Gage’s infamous accident, the lives of Genie and Isabelle and their traumatic upbringings, explore human memory through the experiences of H.M (Henry Molaison) and Clive Wearing and examine the impact of Kitty Genovese’s murder on our understanding of human behaviour.

Course outline

Session 1: Will examine the fascinating lives and research of individuals such as Skinner, Pavlov, Freud, Piaget, Bandura, Milgram, and Loftus.

Session 2: Will explore examples of famous experiments that contributed to the development of psychology within the field and helped to shape the direction of future research. We will examine Pavlov’s Dog, Little Albert, Harlow’s monkeys, Ash’s conformity study, Milgram’s obedience experiments and the Stanford prison experiment. We will examine the findings and contribution of such research to the current field of psychology.

Session 3: Will examine famous case studies of psychology. We will examine the impact of Phineas Gage’s infamous accident, explore the lives of Genie and Isabelle and their traumatic upbringings, examine the human memory through the experiences of H.M (Henry Molaison) and Clive Wearing and examine the impact of Kitty Genovese’s murder on our understanding of human behaviour.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course participants will be able to:
  • Identify key researchers in the field of psychology and have an understanding as to how these researchers contributed to the development of the wider field of psychology
  • explain at a base level how the findings of famous psychology experiments helped to shape further research within the field of psychology
  • Leaners will be able to identify key case studies that have driven exploration within the field of psychology
  • draw connections between these case studies and the current field of psychology

Who should attend

This course is designed for anyone with a general interest in psychology, or is considering an academic qualification in the field of psychology

Join us as we explore and celebrate Auckland’s jazz heritage.

Did you know that the carpark on the corner of Rutland and Lorne Street’s (opposite the
Central City Library) used to be a cabaret? Did you know that Artie Shaw played at the St
James, and the Civic in 1943? In conjunction with Jazz Appreciation Month (April) and
International Jazz Day (30 April) this one-off presentation will explore and celebrate
Auckland’s jazz heritage.

Course outline

In this one-off lecture we will explore the venues, musicians and audiences that made and
make up the Auckland jazz scene. Auckland’s jazz heritage is an interesting and complex mix
of music, morals, entertaintment, and venues. We will look at major venues and bands from
the 1920s to the present day and see how they shaped the local jazz scene.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of Auckland’s jazz history and how it relates to the culture and society of Auckland from the 1920s to the present day.

Who should attend?

This lecture is designed for anyone who is curious about the history of jazz in New Zealand