Be surprised by how much
of a writer you really are.
ou think. You notice. You listen, closely. Sometimes just moving the pen brings relief. And you love reading so much it’s embarrassing. You’d read and read and read if it didn’t appear so lazy. (It’s not!)
Every so often you read something that makes you feel witnessed, healed, and met. A story. A verse. A single line. It’s so tingling good. It gives you that unreasonable feeling.
Like you want to get in there. Like you need to visit that place. Through the portal. Where time stops. Where there are whispers, images, scenes and emotions, and you are nearly vanished.
Maybe you don’t spend as much time there as you’d like. Maybe you haven’t been in many years. Maybe it’s a painful, frustrating voyage. But anytime you make it there, your sense of belonging is profound. You’re at home.
The Story Course guides you to step into your true identity as a writer. It teaches you how to access that mysterious place with presence and consistency. And it teaches you how to honour your stories with technique and craft.
The magic you produce in this course will surprise you. Work the lessons, and you’ll have a dynamite first draft, a healthy creative practice, and a feeling of respect for the writer you’ve become.
Unlock the stories you never knew you could write.
I started my writing school in 2011 with this course. Since then, I've taught thousands of writers from more than 20 countries around the world how to change the way they approach their writing.
— Margaret Atwood
The Story Course is a self-paced online writing program that helps you develop serious creative writing skills.
The focus is on short fiction, but the techniques you’ll learn enable you to write creatively in any genre.
It’s a powerful, challenging, and compassionate program that teaches you how to make your writing extraordinary.
You’ll learn why writing is one of the most difficult creative arts to master, and that struggling to write doesn’t mean you aren’t a talented writer — it’s challenging because of the way we’ve been conditioned to use language and meaning all our lives.
You’ll also learn how to start unlearning that conditioning.
You’ll look at your writing as a relationship, and learn how to nourish it. You’ll prepare for the upcoming lessons by setting up your space, establishing new habits and rituals, and creating a workflow that works for you.
This lesson sets the stage for the magic to begin.
You’ll learn the subtle art of moment to moment awareness and feel true presence while you write, so you can trust your intuition and write without judgment.
You’ll learn what “show don't tell” really means, and how to actually do it. You’ll have a chance to experience the flow state, write with more ease, and learn how to find and hold the energy in your line.
Learning how to access this powerful energy will be the foundation for all of your writing, no matter what genre.
Do you feel excited to write something new? Does a blank page make you anxious?
In this lesson you’ll learn how to feel confident when you create something from nothing. You’ll understand what makes an idea worth following, and learn techniques that show you how to write a powerful beginning.
You’ll learn how to trust what sparkles, and how to write it before it slips away from you. You’ll also learn about the key relationship between memory and imagination, and how to use this to your advantage in your writing.
You’ll feel surprised and liberated as you write compelling scenes with ease.
Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, I’ll teach you the art of writing characters who feel real and multi-faceted, and how to stay open and feel grounded while you do it.
You’ll practice writing composite characters, unlikeable characters, and characters who astonish you. You’ll understand how to move your reader’s heart, and how to make your characters a conduit for empathy.
You’ll learn how to connect to your characters with integrity, so you’ll avoid pitfalls like stereotypes, clichés, and unbelievable plot twists. Your stories will feel alive and the conflicts and transformations you write will feel real.
Alot of writers think they are bad at writing dialogue. I’ve been teaching this lesson for years, and it always turns people around! Writing compelling conversation is a learnable skill, and you are going to find out exactly how to do it.
You’ll understand subtext — what it is, and how to work with it — and learn practical, foolproof ways to weave gold threads of sparkling dialogue into your scenes. You’re going to crack your scenes open and let the light shine in.
You’ll explore a variety of scenes and stories to see how conversation can be sculpted in different ways, and learn levels of intimacy, voice, and subtext. You’ll practice balancing your dialogue with exposition, and you’ll learn how to avoid being too “on-point.”
This is a really fun lesson, with a lot of play and experimentation! Once you learn how to love writing dialogue, your writing practice really starts to feel joyful.
This is my favourite lesson! All of the tools and techniques you’ve learned in this course so far have prepared you for the unpredictable process of writing a plot. You’ll learn how to let go of story writing formulas that restrict your characters, and navigate the unknown with skill.
You’ll train yourself to trust what you don’t yet understand, so you can write a story intuitively, using first thoughts, deep noticing, interconnectedness, presence, and craft. This will feel delightful and mysterious, and your scenes will vibrate and glow with freshness.
In your practice, you’ll develop the skills you need to create a plot that feels organic, surprising, and so much better than you thought was possible.
They say point of view (POV) is the most important decision you make when you write, and in this lesson, I show you why that's true.
You’re going to look at a variety of different points of view, study good examples, and learn what POV can offer in different contexts, so you know how to use them deliberately, for effect and impact.
You’ll learn how to narrate your story in a way that makes sense for the story, so your writing feels purposeful, artful, and saturated with truth and power.
I will teach you a no-fail way to use your intuition with your technique. This is a dramatic shortcut to story writing that has astonished too many of us to count! I use this technique all the time — it changes everything.
Be prepared: you will create magic.
In this lesson, you’ll read for motivation and inspiration, and learn how to articulate what you learn from other writers.
You’ll be able to recognize and define your personal writing style, and I’ll give you a personalized list of authors and titles that will continue to support and deepen your own work.
You’ll learn what questions you should ask if you’re writing about cultures and people who are different from you, and how to check in with yourself to make sure you’re writing with empathy and respect, so your stories aren’t unintentionally oppressive or harmful.
Finally, this lesson teaches you how to make and protect your writing time. You’re going to create a writing retreat for yourself — either at home or away — to finish your final assignment!
This course is practical and transformative. As you write, your skill naturally improves and your confidence builds.
Every exercise and assignment is productive and experimental at the same time. You’ll be building your portfolio — scenes you can actually use! — as you learn technique.
By the time you’ve completed this course you’ll have written a draft of a brand new story, ready to submit to a workshop, contest, or trusted reader.
Best of all, after finishing these lessons, you’ll feel at ease when you’re writing.
Lifetime access means you’ll be able to consult the Story Course again and again, whenever you encounter a new writing challenge.
Because we all feel like beginners every time we start writing something new.
The entire program costs $475 USD (including lifetime access).
If you are a former Story Course student, you may upgrade to the new edition for just $75 USD.
You’re going to learn how to transfer an experience to a reader—and this is important for writers working in all genres. I’m writing novels now, and I’m using all of these techniques. Beginners and experienced writers are welcome. The techniques are both straightforward and challenging enough to inspire and improve writers at all levels. That’s part of the magic.
This is not a typical online writing course: it is an über-flexible, all-inclusive digital writing experience. That means you get to make your own schedule. As soon as the 10th anniversary edition launches on February 14, 2021, at 6:00am Eastern Time, you will receive notice that your pre-order has been released and the online classroom and all of the video lectures, audio lessons, readings, exercises, and assignments will be made available to you right away. You will be able access them anytime, anywhere. The classroom is running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Yes! Once a year, I offer the Story Intensive — this is a guided semester that takes you through the Story Course with a small group of writers. You get individual attention, deadlines, discussion, and feedback — plus master classes with guest contributors. Space is limited for this program.
The Story Course is broken into seven modules. I designed each module to approach the depth and breadth of a three-hour weekly lecture and workshop, plus an hour or two of homework each week. I wanted it to approximate an eight-week writing course (including a reading week). But this is only a rough guide.
One of the major benefits of this course is that you drive it. You set your own deadlines. You can nibble at these lessons a little at a time. You can take a month or two with each lesson. Or you might decide to block time off in your calendar for a writing retreat, download the whole thing at once, and turn the course into a one or two week writing intensive. It’s all up to you.
I would not recommend doing the whole course in less than a week, though. That would probably be too intense, and you want time to integrate what you’re learning.
Please don’t. I love this program, and I’ve done everything I can to make sure it feels right for writers who need support and inspiration. I created it using massive amounts of my heart and energy and life, and I think that’s what makes it so special. I have faith in integrity, and I trust people, so I made the Story Course accessible at this price and filled it with incredible value.
I also pay authors their copyright fee every time someone buys their work, so I ask that you don’t distribute this without paying for it.
If you experience some technical difficulties with the online classroom, the downloads, the audio files, or the video, please contact us for tech support. Because this is a self-directed program, I won’t be available for solo support when questions come up for you about your work.
However, if you’re looking for more support while you work on the Story Course, consider taking the Story Intensive. Or you and a couple of friends could purchase multiple copies of the program as a DIY writing group, and then share your writing assignments with each other each week.
The Story Course is designed to nourish your writing mind, spirit, and body. You will learn and practice the fundamentals of writing scene, dialogue, character, and plot, just like you would in a creative writing MFA or a writing program at a good college or university — but you’ll be integrating everything you learn in a deep and holistic way.
This is a non-denominational faith-based writing program: I will teach you how to take good care of your creative spirit. You will also learn how to stay present and focused, and how to write from your heart and not just your head. You’ll learn how to regulate your nervous system, in case you encounter intense scenes or triggers while writing through difficult memories or trauma. Your writing practice will begin to feel like a creative form of devotion, and this will sustain you through the long term.
I’ve taken the most powerful things I’ve learned from all of the best writing programs I’ve attended—meditation and writing with Natalie Goldberg, one-on-one mentorship at The Banff Centre for the Arts, a full creative writing MFA at the University of British Columbia—and I’ve built an experience that I sincerely hope will transcend what you would find in any writing course elsewhere.
I know. There is nothing more frustrating than fighting with technology. Despite what it might look like, I’m not a tech-loving person either. I’ve made it as simple and straightforward and intuitive as possible, for all users. I even tested it on my mom, who is “not at one with the computer” (her words), to make sure that it’s a smooth, easy process.
If you have a good high-speed connection, you’ll be set. You click on the links marked audio to listen, you click on the links that look like videos to watch. You click on the links that say download when you want to download lessons to your computer.
I also recommend printing out the lessons so you don’t have to work from your computer screen. The lessons are very pretty, even if you don’t print them in colour. And you should do all of your writing by hand, in a notebook. It all sounds easy because it really is easy! Promise.
I really think you’re going to love these lessons, and that these practice and assignments will revitalize your relationship to writing. Your commitment might even change your life. I’m serious! This is a non-refundable investment in your writing. When you make this purchase, you are promising to explore and practice. You’ll be paying for it the way you would pay for a degree, an all-inclusive retreat, a counselling session, an art show, or a ticket on an overnight train. I know that online sales expectations are distinctly pro-refund, and I understand the reason for that. I considered it for this program. But after some thought, I realized that I didn’t feel right about offering a money back guarantee on a creative experience.
Now, that is a sweet question. That person is lucky to have you. Yes, of course. Simply click the checkbox next to "This product is for someone else" in the order form and the system will guide you through the process.
Thank you! Nothing would make me happier! Word of mouth is the way I have always promoted my writing classes, and I would be honoured to have you post a link. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the Sarah Selecky Writing School Story Ambassador Program, so I can thank you for spreading the word.
I help writers fix their relationship with writing and inspire them to create again. My debut collection, This Cake Is for the Party, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. My novel, Radiant Shimmering Light, was published in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the U.K., the U.S., and Poland. It has been optioned for television and will be a premium one-hour series.
Photo: Our 2017 teacher retreat.
e’ve been offering vibrant online creative writing programs since 2010. Our holistic approach teaches writers how to cultivate a trust in mystery as they learn their craft, so they can have a healthy and happy professional writing life.
We believe that skill comes from study and practice, that magic happens when we create, and that our writing thrives when we are part of a supportive community.
AS SEEN IN
Our school welcomes people of all identities, races, abilities, and interests. We share an inclusive, generous, and heart-centered point of view, and are committed to cultivating a culture of empathy and insight.
Our headquarters are on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples, adjacent to Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory.