The Advanced Creative Writing Course

After eight weeks on The Advanced Creative Writing Course, you will be years closer to publication.

The Advanced Creative Writing Course from Blackwater Writing is a two-month online program of live seminars, masterclasses, weekly writing targets and group workshops. It has all the rigor of a masters in creative writing, taught by a qualified lecturer, industry insider, and published author.

Includes the Masters in Creative Writing fiction modules, as taught in University College Dublin and for the University of Iowa, as well as drawing on work presented in University College Cork, East China Normal University, The University of Arkansas, Northwestern University, and DePaul University.

Facilitated by someone with a decade’s experience working in the publishing industry, most recently for Penguin Random House.

All of the seminars LIVE with no more than ten students on any course.

The program includes two LIVE masterclasses with a senior editor for a major publishing house and a literary agent with an international profile.

A fantastic alternative to a Masters in Creative Writing. Give yourself the best chance of publication.

If you try the first week of this course and it is not for you, no problem, you can have a 100% refund. It is important that the students on the course are fully engaged with the program and truly benefiting from it.

Course Dates
Oct 1
Nov 27
Jan 28
Mar 26
Oct 7
Nov 26
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Course Preview

Weeks 1 - 6

Six (LIVE) half-day seminars on the theories of writing and editing fiction. These run each Saturday, 9am-12.20pm (UK and Ireland):

Major Subject: Character Development 1: Voice & Monologue

Minor Subject: Finding the Perfect Name for Your Characters

Major Subject: Character Development 2: The Power of Memory

Minor Subject
: Character Development 3: Utilising Lists

Major Subject: Setting, Objects and the Power of Memory

Minor Subject
: The Perfect Opening Sentence

Major Subject: Dialogue and the ‘Dangers of Reality’

Minor Subject:
Editing Your Fiction 1

Major Subject: Plot: How to Weave a Compelling Narrative Arc

Minor Subject:
Editing Your Fiction 2

Major Subject: Successful Submissions (with ‘homework’ for the final week of the course: comps, cover letter, synopsis, opening three chapters)

Minor Subject:
Brevity: The Short Story & Flash Fiction

Weeks 7 - 8

Two (LIVE) half-day Masterclasses with top industry professionals. These run each Saturday, 9am-12.20pm (UK and Ireland):

Masterclass 1: Senior Editor from a major international publishing house to speak about what they look for in submissions. Q&A.

20 minute Break.

Lecture on the publishing industry (Jamie O’Connell).

Masterclass 2: Includes an hour with a Literary Agent who sells work across the world, film rights, translation. Q&A to follow.

20 minute Break.

Concluding lecture, reviewing the key points of the course with advice on setting up your life as a writer (Jamie O’Connell).


Week two to week eight: 90-minute writing workshops. These run each Thursday, 7-8.30pm (UK and Ireland):

In each workshop, four students will have (1k words) their ‘work in progress’ reviewed (submitted to the group one week earlier).

Twenty minutes will be allotted to each student’s work for discussion.

Over the five workshops, each student will have had two occasions to have their work discussed by the group.


You will get a weekly schedule for the eight weeks, which will outline your weekly goals, the dates when you are having your work reviewed in the workshop, etc. It’ll be a roadmap to motivate you through the eight weeks.

Open Office hours

Once a week (time confirmed with each group), I will be in an open Zoom call for an hour, purely for my students to join, if they so wish, and chat to me about any questions they are having about their own writing, submissions, etc.

The open hour will run each week but the time is flexible to suit student’s needs.


You will be provided with a reading list of all the books referenced on the course, for you to read in more detail, should you so wish.


You will receive a course handbook with all the notes from the course included, as well as the exercises, which you can review afterwards.

The course handbook will be posted to you in advance of the course.

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Course Benefits
In the short term:

You will have a deep understanding of the craft of writing and editing fiction.

You will understand the surprising theories behind what makes fiction interesting and memorable.

You will know what makes fiction ‘boring’ and how to avoid it.

You will know how to find the right agent or editor and successfully submit to them.

You’ll have gained insights into the ‘business’ of publishing, setting you apart from the vast majority of writers, both emerging and established.

In the midterm:

For those of the group who want to continue, congratulations! You will have gained nine new allies in your writing community.

You have the chance to create a virtual writing group with your peers on the course for feedback and support from between now and publication.

In the long term:

You’ll have leaped forward towards your goal of being published, potentially saving you YEARS of ‘trial and error’, figuring this out for yourself. You will have completed what is essentially a condensed masters program.

You have added a cornerstone of knowledge to your repertoire that will aid you in your future career as a writer (or if you look to find work in the Publishing Industry)

Joan Morrissey

Jamie’s insight, advice and guidance on my work  has been most helpful. He didn’t shy away from being critical but his criticism was always constructive. His editing of the writing that I submitted to him was meticulous. Above all, Jamie has given me the confidence and self-belief to continue with my project.

Fiona Ennis

I recently attended Jamie’s ‘How to write engaging dialogue’ workshop and it was excellent. The advice he imparted was really insightful. I’d highly recommend his workshops to anyone with an interest in developing her skills in the craft of writing.

Kelly Hamilton

Sharing your writing can be daunting but I found Jamie to be very professional and easy to work with.  He offered clarity around evolving my work and practical advice how to proceed in the industry.  His experience and knowledge of the teaching and publishing world were very evident and presented in a way that made me excited for the next stage of my journey.

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