Creative Writing Program
You’re a writer who’s been pulled away from your creative practice. Maybe it’s because of your non-creative career. Maybe you’ve tried other writing programs that didn’t work. Or maybe life just got in the way.
You’re done investing your time and money in institution-led writing courses to only, once again, end up back at your laptop with not a word written.
You’re fed up with being part of workshops that don’t centre inclusion or foster a safe space to share writing and give feedback.
You need a supportive community to help you discover your inner creator and build an intentional writing practice.
Writing doesn’t have to be so hard.
I created the Story Intensive because I wanted to teach other writers in a way that I was never taught. To provide support and to truly nurture their writing. To reframe their oppositional relationship to resistance.
In this program, you’ll get high-quality training from exceptional and successful writers, constructive feedback on your work, and tools and techniques to help you craft your stories fearlessly.
You’ll be surrounded by your peers from diverse backgrounds who are as passionate and committed to writing as you.
The result? You’ll have what you need to consistently write with confidence and work you can continue to improve and eventually submit for publication.
Write with more openness, let go of perfectionism, and focus on the process, not the outcome.
Create compelling story openers that draw in your reader.
Develop characters that keep readers captivated long after they’ve finished the final page.
Ace one of the trickiest but most powerful writing techniques: dialogue.
Take your story in directions you’ve never imagined.
Understand the different types of narration that shape how your story is told to your reader.
Learn from others and apply it to your own writing — without copying.
Get access to exclusive interviews and conversations with bestselling authors such as Eden Robinson and more.
The 2020 Master Class was with Chichi Agorom, who taught our students how to use the power of Enneagram to help you create multidimensional and engaging characters. Stay tuned for updates on our 2021 Master Class!
In addition to the Story Intensive's seven lessons, Master Classes — interviews and conversations with bestselling authors such as Margaret Atwood, George Saunders, Francesca Lia Block, and more — enrich the program and are included with your tuition.
When we go really deep in our writing, questions can come up that craft can't always answer (as much as we love craft).
Dr. Stacy Thomas is our Story Intensive as our mental health consultant. She prepares our teachers before class begins, and is available for a Q&A call later in the semester to provide direction as you work through the sometimes confronting and personal aspects of storytelling.
Dr. Thomas is a Clinical Psychologist and the CEO and Clinical Director of The Design Your Life Centre. Her work interweaves Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Practices, Mental Skills for High Performance, and Clinical Hypnosis, with a keen understanding of the limiting life patterns that need to be broken in order for us to break free and truly show up as our authentic selves.
“I do see storytelling as the most beautiful way we, as humans, facilitate all learning and healing. I feel truly honoured to be invited to help with the process for Story Intensive teachers and students.”
— Dr. Stacy Thomas
Share your work and receive constructive, thoughtful, and helpful feedback on your work in progress from your instructor and fellow students.
Meet your new accountability buddies. Be surrounded by an inclusive community of like-minded writers all passionate about their writing and excited to share their inspiration and breakthroughs.
“I felt seen. I loved it, every single time, when I got feedback from my group and teachers. It felt amazing to have someone say something positive about my writing. ”
“I am reminded of what Julia Child said about flipping an omelette–that to have success, you must have the courage of your convictions. I think about that with writing. I now have a big toolkit to help facilitate that. So again, thank you.”
“I was blown away by the characters and story I created. If you stick with it and focus on it you will get a lot out of this program.”
Entrepreneur / Coach
“The Story Intensive far exceeded my expectations. This program is brilliant! It’s probably worth 3x as much as I paid for it (or more) and I am so grateful that I could learn as much as I did without having to enroll in an MFA program.”
“For years I read books about writing, took courses, and went to workshops and writing circles. What I learned was that there is no magic key to completing stories or novels. When I took the Story Course and the Story Intensive, it felt like finding the pick to jimmy the lock.”
“I’ve been a part of writing groups for years. I became good at starting things but not finishing them. The Story Intensive offered a supportive environment and the tools I needed to create a short story. More importantly, it has become a cornerstone in my writing practice and broadened my writing community.”
“This is life-changing stuff. Do it. You owe it to yourself, and to your writing. It’s been almost a year and I still tell everyone about this class . . . My first ever story is coming out in June with Little Fiction | Big Truths! And all because of Sarah’s class!”
“I have nothing but excitement for those students who’ll get to write this fall—you’ll warn them the experience can be life-changing, right?”
Author of Zolitude, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction
“I love the course, love it hugely. I am full of astonishment, gratitude and admiration for you. My mind is a little bit blown.”
Author of The Red Canoe
“I completed the Story Intensive last fall, and I’ve never had a better writing class. It was hard work, but I learned so much. And wrote so much.”
These are just some examples of what past students have achieved.
In fact, more than 30 books have been published by our past students.
Get started early! You are invited to participate in an exclusive Story Intensive prep course this spring and summer.
From May 3–July 9, 2021, you’ll receive weekly readings and craft essays, a monthly master class, and daily writing prompts. You will also participate in an online discussion forum with your new classmates where you will share insights, work through course materials together, and get to know one another before class starts.
This ten-week course is gentle and fun. It will train you to make time for your writing and create your own routine. It will prepare you for the work you’ll be doing in the fall semester of the Story Intensive. And, it will give you a writing community you will grow to rely on this summer.
You’re not required to complete any assignments before September. The prep course is meant to support you and your writing, and your participation is optional and encouraged. You may choose to show up daily, weekly, or monthly, as you like.
This Intensive prep course is a limited offer for Story Intensive 2021 students, only included for those who sign up before the April 30th early bird deadline.
II help writers fix their relationship with writing and inspire them to start creating 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. Her new novel, Radiant Shimmering Light, was published in Canada in May 2018 (HarperCollins Canada), Australia and New Zealand in August 2018 (Text), the U.K. in November 2018 (Text), and the U.S. in December 2018 (Bloomsbury). It has been optioned for TV by Muse Entertainment, with plans to create a premium one-hour series.
We’re an online creative writing school that treats writing as an art, and also as a contemplative practice. We believe that skill comes from study, that inspiration comes from love, and that you need both for your writing to thrive.
Photo: Inspiration comes from love—our 2017 teacher retreat.
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“It gives you everything you need in a short fiction class! I especially appreciated the kindness and generosity with which this course is taught. It instills confidence and allows us to believe in our writerly selves.”
“This was my second time doing the Intensive. I started it feeling dehydrated, so thirsty to get back into my writing, but I wasn't doing it. I was only *thinking* about writing. The Intensive got me right back into writing, and I was re-hydrated immediately and full of creative juice for three months straight! So grateful for the Intensive to provide this online opportunity. You get to work from home but you feel like you're in a real life writing class. It's SO WORTH it.”
“The Story Intensive gave me the tools to become a better writer through learning craft, but just as importantly, how to learn to trust the writing process, tools to take with me and continue to hone. The supportive classroom environment was inspiring, and one of many invaluable resources to build confidence and joy in writing.”
“The Story Intensive has changed my writing in such a positive way, I have taken more risks than I ever have before, and I have much more confidence in my abilities than I used to.”
“Although I’ve done many intense weeklong writing workshops with Giller and Booker nominated authors, my experience in last fall’s Story Intensive was one of the best writing courses I’ve taken.”
It is intense! But it’s not inappropriate for beginners who are ready to commit to writing. You do not have to be familiar with the Story Course to register for the Story Intensive. In fact, the Story Intensive would be a beautiful way to introduce yourself to the Story Course: you’ll have a teacher guiding you through every lesson, and a dedicated class to support your practice. Read about the Story Course carefully before you decide if this is right for you; if the Story Course feels right, the Story Intensive will deepen your experience.
The Story Intensive emphasizes short story writing and reading. The curriculum is based entirely on the Story Course. But the course is designed to help all writers, including novelists, develop their writing practice by changing their writing habits (and their minds). Both of these programs will teach you how to write with immediacy, mindfulness, specificity, and integrity. You will learn how to be present as you write. You’re going to learn how to transfer an experience to a reader—and this is important for writers working in all genres.
The Master Classes are made for graduates of the Story Intensive, and will only be available to them for the foreseeable future.
Intensive graduates are welcome to take the Story Intensive again. The curriculum is the same as last year, but we will have a new master class this year. And of course the live calls and personalized feedback during the semester will help you finish a brand new story, using the scaffolding and practice you know and love already.
Each week of the Story Intensive is the equivalent of a three-hour class, but this class time is stretched over three days to accommodate different schedules and time zones. Give yourself at least an hour a day, for three days—sometime during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday—to login to discuss the readings and lessons and to read and give feedback on other people’s assignments. The flexible part: you can login whenever you can fit an hour of focused discussion into those days. All students do not have to meet online at the same time for class discussion.
The Story Intensive is a bespoke writing program with a highly intuitive and personalized enrolment process. Unlike most other writing classes, ours are deeply interconnected: every change affects the whole cohort. This is what makes this program unique, and why it works as well as it does.
Your commitment to this program creates a mutual investment with your teachers and fellow writers. It is in that promise that the magic happens.
Of course, we understand that life happens, too: it can be unpredictable, even when we make a promise in good faith.
Please take the time to read our full refund policy in our Terms & Conditions.
“This was my third return to the Story Intensive, this time as an aspiring novelist. I'd already learned so much from this school, and wanted to touch base with the lessons that had given me the confidence to begin writing in the first place. It did the trick: I'm excited to get back to the manuscript and tell this longer story.”
“There is something to be said about actually *doing* something. That's the key to this course — the doing. Going through the actual process, you learn what works and what doesn't for you. And the irony of the course is, I'm still learning from it, after it's done!”
“I’ve been through a writing program at a University, taken other writing courses, online and off, and never have I been able to engage authentically in the 'creative journey' as I did in this course. I feel I can write fiction now, and have arranged my life toward that end.”
“The Story Intensive convinced me to want to write and gave me the confidence to keep trying. I found the material fresh, engaging and cleverly selected and was guided through it intelligently, innovatively, and with compassion and encouragement.”
“[I’m] writing fiction again thanks to the Story Intensive.”
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.