Personal Enrichment

Offered through Continuing Education

@ Florissant Valley | Forest Park | Meramec | Off-Site

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.

Program Coordinator

Continuing Education



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Call 314-984-7777 to register for spring classes by phone, or click the button above to register and pay online.

Click on the headings below to view our available writing courses:

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 we'll 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. It will not be a class requirement, but 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 | $49.50 Age 60+ | $79 Regular
P02 | M 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Feb. 25-March 25 | MC-CS, 206
• NOTE: No class 3/18.

Developing Your Dialogue

Does your dialogue sound stiff? Would a real person say that? Participate in writing activities designed to develop your use of dialogue. Enjoy learning and practicing the essential elements of dialogue through concise presentations and enjoyable activities. Have fun examining what people say, why they say it and how to fictionalize their conversation. Bring your fears, wants and good humor to this interactive workshop.
WRIT:724 | 1 session | $30.50 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P01 | Th 6-9 p.m. | Jeff May | March 7 | MC-BA, 122
• NOTE: Room has changed.

Bringing Your Characters to Life

What makes a person interesting? What makes them memorable? What makes them unforgettable? Characters are the living, breathing center of your story or novel. They are the engines that drive your plot forward, that keep it moving and keep your readers asking "then what did they do?" In this workshop, we'll get beyond looks and discuss the wide range of ingredients that go into making an unforgettable character: their secrets, their motivations, their biggest hopes and their greatest fears. When you know your characters, you know what must happen in your story. We'll discuss some of your favorite characters, from fiction or otherwise, and try to reverse-engineer them to see what makes them tick. Appropriate for students just getting started on creating their characters or writers who are looking for more ways to make them leap off the page.
WRIT:719 | 1 session | $41 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P02 | Sa 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | Jeffrey Ricker | March 16 | MC-SO, 107

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, when to use "who" and when to use "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 | $49.50 Age 60+ | $79 Regular
P06 | Th 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | April 4-25 | FP-C, 221

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, you will be given 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.
WRIT:710 | 1 session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P01 | Sa 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Mary Eigel | April 13 | MC-SO, 232

Exploring the Creative Process

Write Now: How to Blow Past Your Inner Stop Sign

Often, people undervalue the significance of their own voices thinking what they have to say isn't pretty enough to publish or somehow just doesn't seem legitimate because they feel crushed by the adjective, "writer." In this class, you will join a unique community of individuals who have something say and want to know how to get it on the page. We will survey writing styles across genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and technical writing to gain perspective and sharpen your skills Don't join this class because you want to be a "writer." Join this class because you want provide a constructive outlet for your inner narrator who won't shut up, or want to introduce the world to the cast of intriguing characters living in your daydreams. Let's do it together, let's do it write now. This class will feature a lit crawl to the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Art Museum, and Missouri History Museum. Class meets 2/2, 2/16, 3/2, 3/16, 3/30, 4/13, 4/27, and 5/11.
WRIT:701 | 1 session | $76.50 Age 60+ | $139 Regular
P01 | Sa 9 a.m.-noon | Daphne Rivers | Feb. 2-May 11 | FP-C, 215

Creative Writing for New Writers: A One Day Workshop

Are you just getting started with writing? Do you want to discover your strengths as a writer? Would you like positive feedback on your writing in a supportive environment? This workshop will help you create a short story, essay or poem to share in a group workshop. Bring writing tools of your choice (pen and paper or laptop/tablet).
WRIT:701 | 1 session | $45 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P03 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. | Meredith McDonough | March 9 | FP-C, 217

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. In this class, you will learn how to use creative writing exercises to craft a story and create characters and metaphors that allow exploration of self in a safe environment. This will not be therapy. It is more an honest evaluation of self that will result in writing an in-depth personal essay.
WRIT:765 | 1 session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P01 | Sa 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Mary Eigel | March 16 | MC-SO, 204

Writer's Workshop: Revising and Editing

One thing most writers can do even better than writing is procrastinate. Completing your short story, poem, chapter or essay is usually a matter of revising and editing. Usually it takes several drafts to polish your project enough to consider it finished. This class will guide you through three drafts of your short story, poem or essay. If you're writing a book, you will be guided through revising one chapter, be it the first or final. We will workshop each draft, which entails sharing your work-in-progress with fellow students and the instructor. Our purpose will be to encourage one another, clarify the writing and, most of all, to help bring your project to a polished conclusion. This course is designed for those already working on a novel, short story, poetry or essay. Please bring at least five copies to the first session.
WRIT:706 | 4 sessions | $49.50 Age 60+ | $79 Regular
P03 | M 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | April 1-22 | MC-CS, 206

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 it can be 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 experience writer.
WRIT:765 | 1 session | $31 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P02 | W 6-9 p.m. | Jeff May | April 24 | MC-BA, 124
• NOTE: Classroom has changed.

Poetry Write-In and Workshop

Novices and masters alike are welcome to this workshop. We will discuss getting inspired, knowing when to revise and when to stop, and publishing tips. Additionally, we will write, revise and engage in a positive, constructive workshop. Bring writing tools of your choice (pen and paper or laptop/tablet).
WRIT:716 | 1 session | $30.50 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P01 | Th 6-9 p.m. | Meredith McDonough | May 2 | MC-SO, 206


Looking to get your creative brain moving? Need a refreshing way to mix up your writing? Then push away from your keyboard, get ready to put pen to paper and come mingle with other writers. Join us at Sasha's on Shaw to write-n-wine! Sip and Scribe is a fun evening of creative writing prompts, idea swapping and drink-sipping. The goal is to experiment with something new on the page in an informal, relaxed way all while enjoying time with your friends and making new ones. Writing prompts are presented, then you give it a fun twist and let your words flow! No one is here to write the next Great American novel. But if that happens, please include us in the special thanks. BYO pen and paper. Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase along with a menu of delectable foods.
WRIT:765 | 1 session | $30.50 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P03 | W 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Jeff May | May 8 | Sasha's on Shaw

Bullet Journals for Writers

The website bulletjournal.com describes a bullet journal as "The Analog System for the Digital Age." These blank notebooks, which may or may not consist of pages with dot grids, can contain to-do lists, diary entries, and much more. For writers, that more often means a section devoted to ideas and inspiration. A writer's bullet journal might also contain a plan to transform their plans into concrete projects. Whatever your goals as a writer, this course will show you how a bullet journal can kick start your creativity, your career or both.
WRIT:710 | 1 session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P02 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. | Charlene Oldham | May 11 | MC-BA, 202
• NOTE: Day of week incorrectly published in catalog as Thursday.


How to Map a Murder

Ever have the urge to write a whodunit? Published mystery authors will lead you through the intricacies of plotting, character development, descriptive scene writing, and setting clues, as well as a brief explanation of publishing choices open to writers and some of the differences between traditional and self-publishing.
WRIT:719 | 1 session | $29.50 Age 60+ | $49 Regular
P01 | Sa 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Jo Hiestand, Pam DeVoe | March 2 | MC-SO, 111

Focus on Fiction: Creative Toolbox

Have you ever wondered how fiction writers generate character ideas and plots? Inspiration can strike at any time and in any form. The challenge is to recognize ideas when they come, organize those ideas and stick with them until you type, "The End." In this course, we will explore methods to develop stories and build a better writing practice, including organization, development and overcoming writer's block. Through lecture, discussion and in-class exercises, you will learn how to build a toolbox that taps into your creative potential.
WRIT:706 | 2 sessions | $32 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P01 | Th 6:30-8 p.m. | Melody Meiners | March 7-14 | MC-SO, 206

So You Think You Want to Write for TV and Film?

Do you have a great idea for a TV show or a feature film but you don't know what to do with it? In this three-hour workshop, you'll learn how to expand your initial idea into a complete, three-act story with interesting characters and a compelling plot. You'll also be introduced to basic screenplay writing format standards that will help your script look professional.
WRIT:728 | 1 session | $30 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P01 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Rita Russell | April 6 | FV-TC, 207

Writing Dialogue and Scenes for the Screen

Every time you sit down to write a script, you are faced with the challenge of creating a great scene: Where to begin? How long should it be? How to make the dialogue and narrative descriptions snap, crackle and pop? In this class, you'll learn the essential keys for creating dynamic scenes that are full of conflict, subtext, characterization and imagery. This course is designed for screenwriters, but writers of all genres are welcome.
WRIT:728 | 6 session | $52.50 Age 60+ | $89 Regular
P02 | W 7-9:30 p.m. | Rita Russell | March 27-May 1 | FV-TC, 207

Focus on Fiction: Creating Memorable Characters

Crafting a compelling character from our imagination is a daunting challenge, but if you can create characters with dimension, you are well on your way to writing a believable and perhaps unforgettable story. Memorable characters are the heart of good fiction and keep the reader turning the page. In this course, you will discover techniques for developing heroes, antiheroes and villains that are compelling and perhaps unforgettable. Through lecture, examples and in-class exercises, you will learn techniques to breathe life into your characters and make them captivating.
WRIT:706 | 1 session | $32 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P02 | Th 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Melody Meiners | March 28 | MC-SO, 205

From Memory to Memoir

In this hands-on writing workshop, students will have the opportunity to practice the art and craft of writing their life stories. We will learn how memories and personal experiences are shaped into stories by reading and discussing works from masters like Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Cheryl Strayed and other contemporary memoirists and essay writers. Using a hands-on approach, we will explore the different ways to tell personal stories and workshop student pieces on the last night. Writers from all levels of experience are welcome.
WRIT:714 | 3 sessions | $38 Age 60+ | $49 Regular
P01 | Th 6:30-8 p.m. | Melody Meiners | April 4-18 | MC-SO, 206


Readying for Publication

Now that you have finished the bulk of your novel, short story or poetry, there are final steps you must take: editing and proofreading, and choosing your method of publication. Students will be asked to bring in their work. Under the guidance of the instructor, the class members will help one another workshop their writing. Information on how and where to publish will be provided, specifically catered to the goals of each student. This class will also cover how to write a query letter and get a literary agent. While self-publishing has become more common, many writers still opt to go with an established publishing house. In order to accomplish this, writers must first secure an agent conducive to their style and genre. This is accomplished by composing a successful query.
WRIT:704 | 4 sessions | $49.50 Age 60+ | $79 Regular
P01 | Tu 7-9:30 p.m. | Jordan Oakes | Feb. 26-April 2 | FP-C, 215
• NOTE: No class March 19.
• NOTE: Class dates have changed.

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. This class will give you information you need to know to save yourself a lot time and money and help you understand all 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, eBooks and marketing.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $24 Age 60+ | $29 Regular
P02 | Th 7-9 p.m. | Jill Mettendorf | March 7 | MC-SO, 108

How to Get Published in Literary Magazines

Do you want to publish a story, essay or poem in a literary magazine? Are you unsure where to begin? Whether you have finished pieces ready to go or are just getting started in your writing process, this introductory workshop will demystify the publishing process and build your confidence in your writing. This will help you match your unique, creative writing with like-minded publishers and get your writing out there! Bring your ideas and works-in-progress along with your laptop or tablet, and be ready to search writing markets in class. A device with that you can access the internet is required. Please note that this class does not cover self-publishing.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P03 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. | Meredith McDonough | March 30 | MC-SO, 205

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 | 1session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P04 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. | Charlene Oldham | April 6 | MC-BA, 202

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, we'll cover the realities of independent publishing, how editing and design can make your book look great, options for getting your book into print, sales channels, eBook production and tips for book marketing.
WRIT:704 | 1 session | $39 Age 60+ | $39 Regular
P05 | Sa 8 a.m.-noon | St. Louis Publishers Association | April 13 | MC-SO, 206

Finding Writing Jobs Using Online Resources

Online job boards including Upwork and ProBlogger offer thousands of new writing jobs every day, but they're only starting points for finding work online. Whether you are already an experienced freelancer or you are simply interested in exploring options for earning extra income while working from home, this session will help you identify multiple online job boards to find paid writing work you'll enjoy. Students are advised to bring their laptop or tablet computer to class. Bring a sack lunch.
WRIT:722 | 1 session | $44 Age 60+ | $59 Regular
P01 | Sa 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. | Charlene Oldham | April 20 | FP-C, 213

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