Creative Writing Course – My Experience Part 3

Hello everyone,

Thank you for joining me for the third and final post in my three-part series on my experiences of a Creative Writing course. If you have missed any of the previous posts in this series, please click on Part 1 or Part 2.

Week 8: The task for Week 8 should have been right up my alley. We were provided with a short writing sample and told to edit and proofread it using Word’s track changes. Sounded like a job for me! If only it were that easy.

When a professional editor is first approached by a potential client, a dialogue needs to happen. This dialogue, whether face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, is extremely necessary for both parties.

  • The editor sees a sample of the project.
  • The author and editor can discuss what level of editing is required.
  • The editor can decide whether they can help the author.
  • Both parties can decide if they feel they can work together.
  • The author can inform the editor of who the target audience is
  • The dialogue allows the editor to get a ‘feel’ for the voice of the story, depending on the genre.
  • Plus, more…

To be handed a small, incomplete, piece of writing, with no brief or further information supplied, basically sets an editor up for failure in some way. For example, the editor re-works the piece too much or not enough.

My tutor agreed with me about this. I am happy to say that I did not fail this task, thank goodness.

I must admit that Week 8 of this course raised concerns for me again.

Not only with the way the editing task was handled, but it was titled ‘Out with the blue pen’. Having trained with the Australian College of Journalism, and everything else I have read in the five years since, proofreaders and editors do not use a blue pen. If we are working with a hardcopy document, we use a red pen or red pencil. (I love my red Frixion erasable pen by Pilot!) Maybe 100 years ago proofreaders used blue pencils?

I also had a problem with most of the information supplied in the study guide. I feel it gave students incorrect information, which could lead to confusion and issues later if they wish to work with either an editor or proofreader. Here are some of the errors I found:

  • “There are two kinds of editing…” This is incorrect. According to the IPEd (Institute of Professional Editors in Australia) website, there are three levels of editing, depending on the stage of production.
  • According to the information supplied, proofreading comes before copy editing in the editing process. Wrong. Again, according to the IPEd website, “proofread for errors as a final check”.

To find out more about the different levels of the editing process, please click HERE.

Week 9: Week 9’s task was two-part. The first part was to write a story about one of the following: a cat hunting a bird, a child playing with a doll, a woman arguing with her partner, the police chasing a speeding car, or a busker entertaining a crowd.

Here’s my story, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

I’m keeping my head down just like it was drilled into me. I am as close to the ground as possible; I can feel the grass brushing my stomach. I’m not taking my eyes off my target; I try not to even blink.

I creep forward, one foot inching one small step before I do the same with the next foot.

My target has no clue. She’s just going about her business organising dinner for the kids. I can hear the hungry buggers from here.

I’m getting closer, so close. I am keeping my ears peeled for that bloody dog. I’m praying it doesn’t come bounding around the corner of the house ruining everything.

My target is alert. I see her cocking her head, listening intently. It wasn’t me she heard, I’m too good for that. What did she hear…?


“Damn it!” I think as I race away. I didn’t even think about the owners of the house!


The second part of the task wasn’t released until Week 11.

The information supplied for Week 9 discussed developing your skills as a writer. It included:

  • Reading as a foundation for writing.
  • Developing your writing practice.
  • Writing as a personal and professional exploration.

Week 10: Titled ‘Blogging: Welcome to the age of opinion.’ We were required to write a 300-word blog post about our favourite blog and why it’s our favourite.

My favourite blog is by a fellow editor and proofreader Louise Harnby. Click HERE to find out why.

Week 11: The task for Week 11 was more of a professional writing piece. We were required to write a blurb to persuade OUA (Open University Australia) students interested in improving their writing, that this course is the one for them.

I will admit to having a little trouble getting into the right frame of mind for this one. I needed to forget my concerns and concentrate on the task – encouraging others to take this course. I just kept reminding myself that it was just a task, that I wasn’t working for the marketing department.

This information that was supplied was informative and on point.

Part 2 of Week 9 was released. We were required to examine the story we wrote in Week 9 and identify the adverbs. We needed to highlight them then decide whether to keep them or delete them. We also needed to do the same process for two other student’s pieces of work.

Week 12: the task was to write a review of either our favourite or least favourite author in 200 words.

I wrote about my favourite author, Diana Gabaldon, the best-selling author of the Outlander series. Follow my blog (if you don’t already) and keep an eye out for my review in the near future.

The information supplied in the study guide and the Required Reading list was regarding reviews – in a general way. I ended up having to do some research of my own.

At the end of Week 12, we were also required to write another reflection piece. Titled ‘You, the writer’, we needed to revisit our first reflective piece and spend time thinking about our journey over the last 13 weeks.

Week 13: At the beginning of this week, we were required to submit our Assessment 2. This consisted of collating all of our weekly learning tasks, the three reflection pieces, the critiques of our work and the critiques of we wrote of other student’s work for the first six weeks. This all needed to be in a Word document, formatted to the supplied specifications.

Assessment 3 was to be written this week with submission due the Monday of week 14.

Assessment 3 consisted of:

  1. A blog post of 400 words about a topic that interested us.
  2. A blurb of 100 words for the cover of our new book. Can be fictitious.
  3. A critical review of 400 words on one of the following:
  • a book
  • a movie
  • a CD
  • a game
  • a TV show
  • a restaurant

For my blog post, I wrote something similar to what I write for this blog. In the post, I included that I would soon be writing this series of posts about my experience of participating in a Creative and Professional Writing course. My tutor found it amusing and asked if it was a bribe or blackmail to get good marks – it wasn’t either of those!

For the blurb of my fictitious book, I wrote about the story of my ancestor back in the Victorian goldrush days.

The third part, the critical review, I chose to write it on the book Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. Cross Stitch is the name Outlander (the first book in the series) was released as in Australia in the early see the review, follow my blog as I will be releasing it soon.


I am happy to say that I passed this course with a Credit. Of course, I always hope, and aim, for a higher score, but obviously, there were things I still needed to learn. I believe there are always things we need to learn, hence why I undertook the course in the first place.

I feel I learnt a few things during the course, but I honestly feel that I learnt the most from my tutor’s feedback and pointers on my assessments. So, even though I had moments of doubt, overall, I feel I achieved something.

I am also pleased to announce that my tutor, Colin Pearce, has been given permission to look over the course and make changes where necessary. I believe he will do a fantastic job. His help to me was invaluable.

If you are thinking about doing this course, I recommend looking into it for next year. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. This was another way I really benefited.

See you next week!

Note from Jenni: I hope you found this article interesting. Next week I will be sharing my review of Cross Stitch (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon. Click HERE to go straight to it. Please follow my blog so you don’t miss out on any upcoming posts.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact me via my Contact Me page or leave a comment below. To find out more about my services, visit My Services page. You can also find me on Facebook by clicking the ‘F’ icon at the bottom of any page on my website.

(Image: Green Chameleon)

Jenni Wade is a fiction copyeditor, line editor and proofreader who specialises in helping self-publishing and first-time authors. She can also help businesses with their documentation. She is an Associate Member of the Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPEd) Australia.

8 thoughts on “Creative Writing Course – My Experience Part 3

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