Personal Enrichment

Offered through Continuing Education

@ Florissant Valley | Forest Park | Meramec

The Writing Program is designed for the beginning or experienced writer. We have classes that give you the opportunity to develop your writing voice, build expertise in the art and craft of writing, and gain insight into today’s publishing environment.

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Continuing Education



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Class schedules provided below may change.

It happens every so often: classes are rescheduled, moved to a different classroom, etc. Want to see the most up-date information? Simply follow the orange button above to view current class details.

The Craft of Writing

Unleashing the Writer Within

Every one of us has a special story to tell, but it can be hard in this busy, modern world to access that creativity. In this class, we’ll peel away the familiar outer layers of doubt, distraction and writer’s block. We’ll get to the core of what we’re actually trying to say, and learn to say it with language that is irreplaceably unique to each of us. When the writer within is unleashed, the words will come freely and the stories we need to tell will finally occur to us. While not a class requirement, those interested in sharing their work will receive the benefit of a thorough, productive critique from the instructor and fellow students. You’ll need to make copies of your work to share.
WRIT:701 | 4 sessions | $52 AGE 60+ | $89 REG
P01 M 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes
Feb. 24-March 23 | MC-CN, 128
• NOTE: No class 3/16.

Grammar You Should Know

After graduating from high school and even college, many of us still have gaps and lapses in our grammar and spelling. For example, should you use “who” or “whom” and what’s the difference between “effect” and “affect.” The years may have chipped away at your knowledge of English, but this class will apply a fresh coat of literacy to your writing no matter what kind you do. This class was formerly called Writing Basics Brush-Up (What You Should Have Learned in High School!).
WRIT:704 | 4 sessions | $52 AGE 60+ | $89 REG
P04 Th 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes
April 2-23 | FP-C, 225


Forging into Fiction

Do you want your writing to captivate readers? Do you want to take it to the next level? Join fellow aspiring writers for six sessions of in-depth discussion and analysis of your work guided by a knowledgeable writer and facilitator. Activities are presented and individualized as needed. To maximize time spent on your writing, you may bring hard copies of a short story or novel excerpt of no more than ten pages to the first meeting. Don’t wait to enroll, this class is limited to ten participants.
WRIT:724 | 6 sessions | $70.50 AGE 60+ | $125 REG
P01 Th 6-9 p.m. | Jeff May
March 5-April 16 | MC-BA, 114
• NOTE: No class 3/19.

NEW! Writing the First Screenplay

Do you ever watch movies or TV shows and think “I could write something better than that!”? Well, here’s your chance to learn how. This course introduces you to the core elements of storytelling —idea, plot, structure, scene development, character, dialogue and theme — and explains how those elements combine to make a good script great. A series of writing assignments will guide you toward mastering the basics of screenwriting and help you begin work on your own screenplay.
WRIT:728 | 6 sessions | $70.50 AGE 60+ | $125 REG
P01 W 7-9:30 p.m. | Rita Russell
March 25-April 29 | FV-SS, 105

Writing a Great Romantic Comedy

Do you have a terrific idea for a film or television romantic comedy but you don’t know what to do with it? Learn what it takes to craft a fresh and funny rom-com that 21st century audiences will fall in love with. Discover the keys to crafting your idea into a solid three-act structure with an original plot and compelling characters that “have you at hello.”
WRIT:728 | 1 session | $31.50 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P02 Sa 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Rita Russell
April 4 | FV-SS, 105

Exploring the Creative Process

NEW! Writing What You Don’t Know: Including Diversity

A well-rounded story needs a diverse group of well-rounded characters. Creating multifaceted characters comes with a lot of questions. How do you write about what you don’t know? Is it safe to write about experiences that differ from yours? How do you portray them accurately? Learn how to write about other genders, cultures, abilities, and walks of life respectfully and honestly while staying true to your story. This course allows for personal growth against stereotypes and biases in order to make your story realistic and relatable. Help your story by dabbling in the art of research and finding primary sources.
WRIT:706 | 2 sessions | $31.50 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P01 Th 6:30-8 p.m. | Elliot Laurence
March 5-12 | MC-SO, 206

The Healing Power of the Pen: Writing Through Trauma

Science has proven that keeping unprocessed emotions bottled up can lead to health problems. Writing provides a way to process events and struggles. Learn creative writing exercises to craft a story and create characters and metaphors that allow self-exploration in a safe environment. This will not be therapy. It is an honest evaluation of self that will result in writing an in-depth personal essay.
WRIT:765 | 1 session | $43.50 AGE 60+ | $65 REG
P01 Sa 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Mary Eigel
March 7 | MC-SO, 204

The First Five Pages

When it comes to pitching your novel, one thing agents typically ask for is the first few pages of your completed manuscript. An agent can tell from those first pages whether the rest of the novel will sink or swim. In this workshop, students with completed novels bring the first five pages to class and we read and discuss them. We also discuss some of the common pitfalls that writers encounter when starting their novels, from excessive backstory to overloaded description. We’ll discuss strategies for revision and work on a game plan for your next draft. Students in this class will need to submit the first five pages of their completed novel in advance so that all participants will be able to read and discuss when the class meets.
WRIT:719 | 1 session | $43.50 AGE 60+ | $65 REG
P01 Sa 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Ricker
March 14 | MC-SO, 107

NEW! Remastering the Writing Process

Writing an essay, novel or any sort of long piece comes in steps. From the beginnings of a brainstorm to sharing your work, the writing process can seem long, daunting and nearly impossible. In this three-session study, students will explore the path to publication while meeting all the requirements for finished work. Learn how to write an outline, edit and revise, and get down to the details of the description. Your writing will benefit from all of the grammar-learning opportunities this class offers.
WRIT:706 | 3 sessions | $43.50 AGE 60+ | $65 REG
P02 Th 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Elliot Laurence
March 26-April 9 | MC-SO, 108

Mining Your Soul Story

Our minds record the sum of our experiences. Writing extracts the event and allows us to see the situation and our reaction as two separate things. Using various prompts, reflective journaling time and shared conversation, receive tools for mining and writing your own soul story. This workshop is intended for everyone, whether you are new to writing or a long-time journal writer. Bring a sack lunch.
WRIT:710 | 1 session | $43.50 AGE 60+ | $65 REG
P01 Sa 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Mary Eigel
March 28 | MC-SO, 232

Boot Camp for Writers

Do you have an idea for a fiction or nonfiction story or a memoir but are struggling to get started? Are you working on a project but need feedback as you go? With weekly assignments and guided in-class critiques, start writing, stay writing or improve the writing you already do. All genres welcome. If you have a work-in-progress, bring copies to share for peer review.
WRIT:704 | 4 sessions | $52 AGE 60+ | $89 REG
P03 M 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes
March 30-April 20 | MC-CN, 201

Finding Your Niche

Who are you as a writer? What are your goals, dreams, expectations, whims, tastes, desires and peculiarities? What is your style? Style can be an excuse for lazy writing or an incandescent artistic expression. More likely, yours falls somewhere in between. Discover who you are by comparing your style to successful literary and commercial authors. Enjoy an evening of concise presentation and well-designed activity facilitated by an experienced writer.
WRIT:765 | 1 session | $31.50 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P02 W 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeff May
April 22 | MC-BA, 203


NEW! Publishing a Chapbook

Have your creative work included in a group chapbook created just for this course. Arrive to the first class with a rough draft of your story, poem, essay or at least an idea of what you wish to work on for the publication. We will polish our individual works, design the book and enjoy a printed copy of the finished compilation. Class fee includes one copy of book per student with additional copies potentially available.
WRIT:704 | 6 sessions | $84.50 AGE 60+ | $139 REG
P01 Tu 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes
Feb. 25-April 7 | FP-G, 327
• NOTE: No class 3/17.

Self-Publishing for Writers

If you’re writing a book and have been contemplating the daunting task of getting it published, come learn about the process involved in self-publishing your work. Discover important tactics to save yourself a lot of time and money, shedding light on the decisions required to make self-publishing a successful venture. We’ll cover everything from getting copyright registered, applying for an ISBN, good cover design, manuscript editing, print, e-books and marketing.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $27 AGE 60+ | $35 REG
P02 Th 7-9 p.m. | Jill Mettendorf
March 5 | MC-SO, 108
• NOTE: No class 3/17.

WordPress® for Writers: Easy Website Design for Online Publishing

Looking for a place to share your poetry, essays, short stories and other creative works with the world? Why not design the perfect online forum yourself with WordPress, which draws more than 409 million people who view 15.5 billion pages each month? WordPress is one of the world’s most popular Web design tools because it is free, easy to use and produces professional results. In fact, WordPress sites are so pro that you can even use them as an online hub for marketing your work to journals, magazines and other print or online publications. Prerequisite: Windows® Introduction class or equivalent experience. Students must have a generic email account through Gmail™, Yahoo or Hotmail and know this email address and password. Students are advised to bring their laptop or tablet computer to class. Bring a sack lunch.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $37 AGE 60+ | $55 REG
P05 Sa 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. | Charlene Oldham
April 4 | FP-D, 313

NEW! Sold!: How to Market Your Script to Hollywood

You’ve written and rewritten your screenplay. It’s finally ready for the world, but without the right connections, how do you get it out there? Learn the essential keys to creating and implementing a marketing plan that will either assist you in finding an agent or selling your script directly to producers, production companies and studios. The value of writing contests, building an online audience, and developing a solid pitch and query letter are also reviewed.
WRIT:728 | 1 session | $31.50 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P03 Sa 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Rita Russell
April 18 | FV-SS, 105

How to Publish Your Own Book: What You Need to Know

Have you been thinking about writing a book or perhaps you have written one and are curious about how to publish it yourself? In this four-hour workshop, explore the realities of independent publishing, how editing and design can make your book look great, options for getting your book into print, sales channels, e-book production and tips for book marketing.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $45 AGE 60+ | $45 REG
P06 Sa 8 a.m.-noon | St. Louis Publishers Assoc
April 25 | MC-SO, 108

Freelancing for Fun and Profit

Do you want to get paid for exploring your passion or sharing what you know with others through carefully crafted non-fiction news and feature articles? This four-week course teaches you how to develop ideas and mold them into pieces fit for newspapers, consumer magazines, trade magazines, blogs, online magazines and more by covering some of the basics of reporting, writing and selling stories. No matter what your interests or expertise, you will learn how to identify markets, write query letters, research and interview and write articles that will get you published for profit. Bring recent copies of your favorite publications as well as any original story ideas you’d like to see in print.
WRIT:722 | 1 session | $37 AGE 60+ | $55 REG
P01 Sa 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. | Charlene Oldham
May 2 | FP-E, 311

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