Learn From Experts and Enhance Your Skills With UMSL's Write Stuff Certificate Program.
Complete two core courses (one fiction and one nonfiction) and choose from a selection of seminars on a wide variety of topics that will improve your writing skills as well as your knowledge of the business of writing. When you’ve completed a total of 50 contact hours, you’ll be awarded a Chancellor’s Certificate in Writing. If you aren’t interested in earning a certificate, that’s okay! Simply pick and choose the classes or seminars that interest you. All of them will take you closer to realizing your dream.
Feel confident in learning from the best at UMSL. All seminars are taught by published authors, and core courses are taught by top students in UMSL's distinguished Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program.
For more information on The Write Stuff Certificate Program or to register, please call (314) 516-7454.
Core courses will provide specialized instruction and opportunities to write, discuss and analyze participants' work.
This class provides an in-depth look at fiction writing: building characters, plot-driven vs. character-driven stories, development of dialogue and plot, the function of theme and how theme shapes the evolution of a story, and the use of imagery, emotion and insight. Participants will have ample opportunity to brainstorm, write and revise.
Writing a personal narrative essay is like telling a story. This kind of essay writing is often experiential – allowing for expression to take form in a creative way. In this class, students will read a number of professional personal essays to better understand how to write them themselves. This class will also study the elements of narration: introduction, plot, character, setting, climax and conclusion. The class will conclude with students writing and workshopping their own personal narratives.
Saturday, September 13, 2014 • 10 AM–3:30 PM • Instructor: John Dalton
Creating a novel is an enormously complex and time-consuming enterprise. The goal of “Novel Craft” is to offer a wealth of practical craft advice on how to plan, structure and write a novel. In this one-day craft seminar we’ll explore all the essential elements: character, plot, language, point of view, setting. We’ll study the specific qualities that make a first chapter irresistible to a reader. We’ll read and discuss a novel chapter that demonstrates an unusually high level of fiction craft. Expect useful handouts and carefully articulated lectures. This will be a lively and challenging class for new writers who are struggling to begin or complete a first novel.
Saturday, September 20, 2014 • 1–4 PM • Instructor: Dianna Graveman
You've written a short story or have a great idea for a magazine article or personal essay. Now what? Where and how can you get it published and earn money for your work? Find places to publish, choose a market for your story, pitch an article, and more. Come away from this class with a wealth of information about how to start writing for dollars.
Saturday, October 18, 2014 • 9 AM–Noon • Instructor: Catherine Rankovic
After the writing is finished, the next step is protecting your rights to your work and protecting yourself from legal challenges. This seminar answers questions such as: Should I use people’s real names in my memoirs? How do I legally copyright a work? How can I make sure my online poem or article won’t be plagiarized or stolen? Whom do I call if I want to use song lyrics in my memoir or short story?
Saturday, November 15, 2014 9 AM–noon • Instructor: Margo Dill
In this class, published young adult novelist Margo L. Dill will explain the differences between young adult and new adult novels and novels for adults. She will discuss popular YA/NA novels today, such as Divergent and Beautiful Disaster, and what makes them that way, as well as giving tips for writing for these age groups. Time will be given for writing exercises and discussion of students’ current projects.
Saturday, February 21, 2015 • 9 AM–4 PM • Instructor: Claire Applewhite
Regardless of genre or theme, all memorable stories possess the elements of conflict, crisis and resolution. This interactive workshop is designed to expand and develop a writer‘s ability to “set up the paybacks and pay back the setups,” through the use of elements such as taut pacing and dialogue. Presentation by instructor and “setup” are provided for student participation. Substantial in-class writing is involved. Laptop computer recommended. | Registration Fee: $99
Saturday, March 14, 2015 • 9 AM–Noon • Instructor: Donna Volkenannt
You have a passion for writing and a desire for publication, but you’re not ready to tackle a full-length book. In this seminar, writers will learn how writing personal essays and short stories can lead to publication, and they will be given resources to get them started. Taught by essayist and short-story writer Donna Volkenannt, this workshop will inspire, educate and inform.
Saturday, April 18, 2015 • 9 AM–Noon • Instructor: Angela Mitchell-Phillips
Are you ready to submit your work for publication but don’t know where to start? Want to find a writers’ conference or critique group that fits your style, life and pocketbook? Curious about writing contests or simply wondering how to be more involved in your local writing community? These questions and more will be discussed in this half-day seminar designed to explore the writing life “off” the page and will focus on helping the new (or not so new) writer become more industry-savvy.
Saturday, May 2, 2015 • 1–4 PM • Instructor: Jarrett Kaufman
Characters are the lifeblood of literary fiction. Characters can either make or break a story. This seminar will explore the different kinds of character types and how they function with plot. But most importantly, this seminar will discuss a number of steps that will ensure you write well-developed and believable characters.
Business Writing Seminars will count toward the contact hours needed for the Write Stuff Certificate. Pricing: Seminars are $65 each, or you may register for both on the same day for $100 each. Onsite training is available for a group of 10 or more participants. Please call for special pricing and scheduling options.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 • 9 AM–Noon
Creativity and industry knowledge are building blocks for effective business writing, but common errors in grammar and punctuation can undermine the best efforts. Join this collaborative workshop to refresh your knowledge or to continue to build stronger skills.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 • 1–4 PM
How can you persuade your audience to appreciate and accept your message? As a collaborative team member or manager, how can you use words to persuade others to follow your call-to-action? In this interactive workshop on persuasive writing, we’ll discuss ways to express your ideas convincingly and motivate others to follow your lead.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 • 9 AM–Noon
Storytelling skills aren’t just for novelists; business professionals use narrative writing, too – to weave scenarios, present case studies, develop compelling training modules, craft great blog posts, compose winning press releases, and more. Learn how to craft a piece that will hook your audience, engage them, and send them off with a memorable message.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 • 1–4 PM
If you manage a team of communications professionals – or any team for which solid writing skills are essential – you may feel responsible for the quality of writing your team produces. This interactive seminar will help you hone your skills as a writing coach and learn to build the confidence of your team by providing constructive criticism in a positive, collaborative environment.
Fees are payable by cash, check, or charge. (Make checks payable to the University of Missouri–St. Louis.)
The University reserves the right to modify by increase or decrease the fees charged for attendance and other services at the University, including but not limited to educational fees, at any time when in the discretion of the governing board the same is in the best interest of the University, provided that no increases can or will be effective unless approved by the governing board not less than thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the academic term (semester, etc.) to which the fees are applicable, with all modification of fees to be effective irrespective as to whether fees have or have not been paid by or on behalf of a student prior to the effective date of the modification. In the event of cancellation, you will be notified immediately, and all program fees will be refunded or applied to a future program at your request. If you must cancel a registration, you are entitled to a full refund only if you cancel prior to the first class meeting. After a course begins, refunds are made on a prorated basis in accordance with campus policy. Call (314) 516-7454 for information on canceling a registration once a course has begun.
Margo is the author of Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg, a middle-grade historical fiction novel set during the U. S. Civil War. She is also a freelance writer, editor, speaker, and teacher, living in St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grit, Pockets, True Love, Fun for Kidz, Missouri Life, ByLine Magazine, and The Chicago Tribune. She is a columnist, instructor, and contributing editor for WOW! Women On Writing. She is the memoir, middle-grade novel, and YA editor at High Hill Press and the assistant editor for the Sunday Books page in The News-Gazette. High Hill Press will publish her children’s picture book, Lucy and the Red Ribbon Week Adventure, and she will also have a picture book out from Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes a blog called, Read These Books and Use Them, for parents, teachers, and librarians. She owns her own copyediting business, Editor 911. When she's not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her husband, stepson, daughter, and dog—Chester, a boxer. You can find out more about Margo by visiting her website: www.margodill.com.
Dianna Graveman has worked as a teacher, manuscript editor, college instructor, and corporate training designer. She is coauthor of four regional histories and over 160 published articles for companies and publications that include Kirkus Media, CBS St. Louis, The American Surveyor Magazine, Teachers of Vision Magazine, and Writer’s Digest Books. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Graveman earned an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University, where she later taught in the program. Dianna presents programs for libraries, writing conferences, universities, historical societies, schools, and businesses, and also provides editorial and design services through her company, 2 Rivers Communications & Design, and in partnership with Treehouse Author Services.
Catherine Rankovic’s books include Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis (Penultimate, 2010), Island Universe: Essays and Entertainments (WingSpan, 2007); Fierce Consent and Other Poems (WingSpan, 2005) and Guilty Pleasures: Indulgences, Addictions, and Obsessions (Andrews McMeel, 2003). She received her MFA from Washington University, where she taught for 21 years; she now teaches poetry and creative nonfiction in the online MFA program at Lindenwood University. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, St. Louis Magazine, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, River Styx, Umbrella, Garbanzo, Bad Shoe, The Progressive, Natural Bridge, Gulf Coast, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Missouri Biennial Award for essay writing, and an Academy of American Poets award. She is a professional book editor and her website is www.BookEval.com.
Donna is a former UMSL student whose essays, short stories, book reviews, interviews, and articles have appeared in numerous commercial and literary publications.
Winner of almost 100 writing awards, her works have also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Spur Award. She received honorable mention in the Fourth Annual National Steinbeck Short Story Competition. In 2012 she won first place in the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Writing Contest.
Donna has edited several literary anthologies and has served as a judge in local, state, regional, and national writing competitions.
A past president of the Missouri Writers’ Guild and founding president of Saturday Writers, when Donna's not reading, writing, or talking about writing, she blogs about the sweet mysteries of life at http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com.