Beginners Creative Writing Course | Hannah B. | Skillshare

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Beginners Creative Writing Course

teacher avatar Hannah B.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Beginners Writing Intro

      2:31
    • 2. Week 1 Introduction

      3:13
    • 3. Starting to Write - Week 1, Activity 1

      2:48
    • 4. What is Good Writing? - Week 1, Activity 2

      3:46
    • 5. Writing Without a Plan - Week 1, Activity 3

      1:44
    • 6. Planning and Writing - Week 1, Activity 4

      3:09
    • 7. Week 2 - Introduction

      2:04
    • 8. Week 2, Activity 1 - Free Write

      1:30
    • 9. Week 2, Activity 3 - The Seven Stories

      5:01
    • 10. Week 2, Task 4 - Writing What You Know

      3:13
    • 11. Week 2 Final Activity and Preparing for Week 3

      1:25
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About This Class

This course is designed to be completed over four weeks and will take you from writing to the first time, to coming up with great ideas, plotting and editing. It considers the powers of great stories and includes reading recommendations, a writing journal including daily prompts and weekly workbooks for you to complete alongside the lessons. 

I usually teach this class to young adults and adults online and in person to help them begin to write creatively for the first time. It is meant to help you write a short story for the first time or consider starting to write a novel. It is meant for anyone who loves writing and stories and would like to try writing their own for the first time. 

Writing should make you feel as joyful as I did on my recent birthday when I was surprised with a confetti card. I recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert to introduce you to a more loving relationship with creativity - there is no room for the suffering artist here, stories and story telling should be about honesty, the beauty of the human experience and enjoying the process. 

Everyone is equally welcome on this course - every race, gender, religion, age and taste in music is welcome. I just hope that you enjoy and I look forward to reading your work and hearing your feedback. 

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The Class structure is as follows:

1) Getting Passed the Blank Page

2) The Ideas

3) Great Dialogue

4) Planning and Writing a Story

The course includes a weekly exercise book as well as a writing journal with a daily prompt to complete between classes. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Hannah B.

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Transcripts

1. Beginners Writing Intro: Oh, my name's Hannah, and I'm a writer and yoga teacher from the northeast of England. Welcome to your beginner's creative writing course. So this is and a course for complete beginners you might never have written before. You might not have written in a very long time, and this is going to introduce you into how to come up with ideas for stories, how to start writing, how to get past your fear of the blank page, but will also cover things like plotting on editing as well. This course is something that I normally teach over four weeks, so it is designed to be done one day a week over four weeks on. He also have some right in promised to keep people between time. So I'm just gonna quickly kind of energies the calls and what it involves. So if you go ahead and you can print the resources are included in this course on, you will end up with a beginner's creative writing course. Writing journal on this has a writing problem for every day between the classes. So hopefully what will happen is that you'll do the class on, say Friday, and then you'll have a writing problem full Saturday to Thursday, and then you'll do the course the next day. So this gentle just includes a writing prompt. Today, some of them to begin with are quite random, just different things to get you started writing and then they start covering the things would be doing on the course you can start. I think about an idea feel on story, and then we have a workbook. For each of the four lessons that working wouldn't be doing, the lessons themselves are broken up in activities for the videos. Um, on each week you have a workbook, so hopefully you can print those out after stone, two pages to a page. Onda just have saves on printing a little bit. You could just use them off screen and just use your own notebook, which ever you prefer. But I just really like having a little workbook that you can work through. So this is week one, and it just has a little bit of an introduction about me, who I am on about the course as well. So we will be working through all of these together. I'm gonna be given you lots of instruction throughout. This is for anybody who wants to give right in ago you could be a complete beginner and hopefully by the end of this year, either have a short story, the start of a short story. Or maybe we'll even have a fantastic idea for that novel that you've been wanting to write . So I hope that you'll join me, and I look forward to seeing all of your lovely right in in the comments and 2. Week 1 Introduction : Hello and welcome Teoh Week, one of your beginner's right in course in week, while my going to be thinking about getting past the blank page. So for a lot of right, there's no matter how experienced they are actually sitting down and looking at a completely blank page, whether it's in a lovely new notebook or it's the blank page on your computer could be a little bit of an intimidating thing. So we're going to be thinking about how do we actually get started right in? And it might not be that you are aiming to write, you know, whole complete and mares and story. You might just be looking to write for the first time, have some fun and enjoy the process, and that's what we're going to be thinking about this week. So as it's our very first lesson off this right in course, we're going to begin by thinking about what we want to get out of the course. I'm just got to talk you through the first couple of pages of our workbooks or hopefully you've printed the first workbook off for week one, and you have that in front of you all. You have on your screen so that you can see it nice and easily. And in the introduction, I just talk about my love of stories and that although I'm a writer, freelance writer, and I'm working on my debut novel, I'm actually a storyteller first and foremost and I love the power stories. Whether that's film, whether it's right in whatever it may be, stories are just amazing. And I think that all of us could get something from spending more time thinking about stories. And I believe everybody can write or Korea story. And then we have a reading list on the next page, which is here, and this is mainly just examples of right in that I absolutely loved have inspired me and hopefully there's a few examples on there that you might not have come across before. So hopefully does something on there for everybody. For example, I've got done atop the Secret History The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova for writing books on there, including a couple of books that are actually about right in on the creative process, and then on the next page we have plying for the course. It just explains that the idea of this course is to be done over four weeks. That will have thes lessons once a week that you have your diary to complete. In between. Hopefully, you'll write for 15 minutes a day, maybe 10 minutes a day, even when you're not taken part in these actual lessons, and that'll just kind of keep your creativity flow in. L keep the right and muscle work in. I think it's really important to get into that habit every in every day. But I also have just left some space there on the page for you to set your intention for the lesson for the course. Even so, I am a yoga teacher and we always set an intention of the beginning of class. And I thought, Why don't we set an intention for I will write in coals as well, so everybody's going to have a different intention. It might just be that you want to be created. It might be that you want to try writing for the first time. You might want to have a full short story completed at the end of the course, so just write down your intention for the course. Whatever it is, And that is just for you. You don't need to share that with anybody else, Andi. So this cause is like I say for absolutely anybody to enjoy on. Once you set your intention, you're ready to go. And you can go on to the next video to begin your writing calls. 3. Starting to Write - Week 1, Activity 1: Okay, so we're ready to get on with some actual right in now, and we're going to start today by thinking about how to actually get started. So for me, when I'm getting past the blank page, if I have a little bit of writer's block, I might go for a walk or might do some exercise. Just get away from the desk and give my brain a little bit of time to work on the ideas and things at the back of my mind on then come back to the desk. But there's also some right in activities that we could do to get started right in. And once you get started right in, the ideas flow a lot more easily. Now, the beginning of each of these lessons were going to be doing some free right in anyone who hasn't come across free writing before. The idea is that you start writing. You put pen to paper and you don't lift the pan for a set amount of time. Now for this first activity. This first this first week of the course we're going to do to free right and prom, so they're a little bit shorter. But as the weeks go, well, we'll do one longer prompt. Now, in your work booth, you have space. And for these free right and problems that I'm going to read out in a minute and it's up to you, you can either simply right until you've filled the space. Or you can set a timer. I read out prompt. You can pull us the video, set a timer right for that amount of time, and then do the next run completely up to you. How you want to do it. So throw first. Rewriting prompt. We're going to think about our favourite holiday destination and you're going to write descriptive piece of writing. And that is purely describing, Ah, holiday destination, perhaps from childhood that you would really like to go back to. And I would just like to say, Consider the senses here. So we're not thinking about plot we're not thinking about. Characters were just getting side. We're thinking about description. So really describe this holiday destination and think about all of the senses as he right. So pause this video now set a time, if either three or five minutes, all simply right until you filled up this little bit of Yeah, I don't come back again. Okay, so hopefully you pulls the video, you've done that free right and prompt. And now we have a second free right and prom. So this time you're going to write about a restaurant that you visited two years ago? This doesn't have to be true. It could be purely fictional. And you're going to be a remember and meal that you ate. You would love to eat again only at the meal ones he only visited the restaurant wants. But you've never been able to stop thinking about it. And from time to time. You just wish you could go back there. But you can't really remember where it is. So again pulls this video going set a time. If I the three old five minutes, I'm just right without stopping about this idea of a meal and a restaurant that you've only been to once. And you really want to go back to 4. What is Good Writing? - Week 1, Activity 2: So I hope that you enjoyed those free right in prompts on. Now we're going to go on to the next part of this first lesson on getting past the blank page. One of the most important things with my thinking about how it right well is reading. I think that's the number one piece of advice you love. A gap is just read, read and read more. So when we're thinking about our writing, we really do draw inspiration from examples of fantastic writing. It's not about copying, but it's just about letting those tricks of the trades, the tricks of the trade that the really good right is. Know how it do so I've just got the question there. What is good writing? And then there's one of my favorite quotes over which is good. Writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reed. Oh, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon enough but yield doctoral, and it's just this idea that we're not telling the reader what's happening. We're showing them what's happening so trying to get them to feed us all that in the role of the protagonist of they they can feel that could spell that can see what's happening. So don't tell me that someone the doctor show me that very doctor. How do you know that they're a doctor? So don't tell me that it was raining outside. Show me that it's raining. Tell me what it smells like, Tom. What It feels like all of those little details that correct that create this image that's really going to draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading your writing. So I have some examples in the work Rukia of, um some, um, extracts from novels I Percy think are really fantastic. So there's one from the holder by just kid. There's one from these dividing walls by Foreign Cooper. And there's one from the Secret History by Donna Tartt. So I just want you to go ahead now, read through each of these and consider what works. How do you feel when you read these when you read thes extracts and how is the right of achieving that? How are they making you feel that way? Because they would have intended you to feel that way and have that reaction. So consider the words really hone in on the details and only have your little notes box where you can consider how they've done this and how you might want users in your own writing. So pulls me. Now go and read the extracts. Consider what works may be considered, what doesn't work for you and your opinion, and then consider how you might apply this year on writing. Maybe there'll even be a few phrases that you want to write down if you're feeling inspired , so hopefully you pulls the video that you went and read. Those extra extracts can't speak today, and you considered what works and what doesn't. And he made some notes. Now we have a little right in activity on this is called Show Me that it's raining, so you have a little space at the bottom of the worksheet there. And what inspired by that quote that I just read from E. L. Doctorow? This idea of letting the reader know that it's raining without telling them, So make them feel Issel. The rain is falling on them. You're not going to go and you're going right. Just a few lines describing someone is out in the rain, and you're going to let the reader know that it's raining, but you're not going to use the word rain raining or water. So it's a short piece of writing describing somebody out in the rain. But you're not going to use the words rain raining a water. So think about the different senses and try not to fall into cliche. I think a lot of new writers, we kind of rely on the cliche that we use a lot more my talking. But try to avoid those. Think of new ways to describe what it feels like, what it looks like. The smell of the rain trying think out the box a little bit So this video is gonna end now . You can go and do that right? You little raining scene and then we'll go on to the next activity. 5. Writing Without a Plan - Week 1, Activity 3: Okay, so we're going to begin thinking about a little bit of a longer piece of writing now. Most of the time, you'll know your plot, so you'll have a beginning, a middle and end. You might have used the three act structure. There's various different ways you can go about plotting a story, but many right is. Sometimes when we over plot on, we over think about the structure of the story. It can take some of the joy away from writing. And although we need that pull out when we become more experience right as a model genome with bigger and word count. So if you're writing a whole novel, you kind of need to know where the story's going when I just write him for enjoyment in West are now. It doesn't matter so much if you know the plot. No. So there's next activity. We're not really going to know where the story's going. Now you have an option. You can go with the right improper that I'm giving you the little star in idea, and I want you to simply read that and just start right in. Just go for it if you want to come up with your own ideas. There's something that you have been in the right then, right? That idea at the top in a simple and explanations you can so just one sentence and then simply go ahead and write. You've got a couple of pages here to fill. Now, if you'll need a little starting point, you can use my little prompt at the top there. So imagine that you've been unwell for a long time. Why does it like to go for your first walk in the fresh I so we don't know a plot. We don't know why this person's being on well, why they've bean stuck in why they're now getting to go out. But we're just going to start right in just for the joy of right now, avoid cliche. Avoid telling the reader what's happening and try to show them. Think about these three things as you right 6. Planning and Writing - Week 1, Activity 4: now you might be the type of right other congest start right and with a simple idea like we've just done. And you might find that that's the easiest way to get side writing. But if you have a real fear of the blank page, you might want to have a really clear idea of what it is you're going to write and the characters that you're going to be writing about. Now I just thinking about short stories. We're just thinking about writing for enjoyment. So I've given you a really simple structure to help you start to plan your piece of writing so following a simple structure to get writings. This isn't about writing the great short story that has ever been written. This is simply about getting right and get over your fear of the blank page. Do you have a little form here with to help you think about your idea and developing in a little bit further? So an unlikely hero. This doesn't mean that they're going to be an actual hero who goes out and fights monsters , but just your main character. Try and make them a little bit quirky. There's something a little bit different about them, and it could be that there so normal it's and it's unusual that someone would write a story about them that could be the unusual thing. So just try to think out the box a little boat, a friend to help. We need someone for this carriage that I have dialogue with is going to help them along the way on. It's also a great way to discover more about your main character through dialogue rather than explaining it in The Book of the Taxed. A shocking discovery. So what's going to happen that's going to make me want to keep reading about this character an important task? So it might be that they are up against it and they need to do something to get what they want. Every character in every story needs to want something, and it could be that there's something in the way of them getting what they want. So what is that a problem that almost ends the story? So we need a heightened the stakes. We need to make it feel as though everything could go completely wrong in the story just ends there. So what is that thing that's going to make things even more difficult for your character and then a happy ended. It doesn't actually to be happy, but how you'd want to round up the end and how you're going to tie up all of those loose ends and just bring something to a nice conclusion for the Reedus. They're not left wanting Mawr feeling let down by the end. And then in the next table you have the simplest story structure of all time beginning middle and so to sum up in a sentence in each box, where is this story going to stop? What's going to happen in the middle? How is it going to end once you've done all of that? Try to come up with the title. Don't worry too much. I find titles really difficult to write. I think a lot of writers do just come up with annual title. You can always change that later on. Then you could get writing and I'm going to leave you there to just enjoy the process of right. In that short story. You have plenty of space in your workbook, but if you need more, just add more pages and if you would like to. You can post a little snippet from this birth story down in the comments Onda. Next week. In the next session, we will be thinking about generating ideas. How do we actually get ideas for the stories that we're going to write? So I hope you'll join me. Enjoy writing, coming up with your first plot and writing a short story, and I look forward to seeing you next time. 7. Week 2 - Introduction: hello and welcome back to beginning to write creatively. My name's Hannah and I'm a writer and yoga teacher for in the Northeast of England. And today we are starting Week two off the course. So we're going to be thinking about, um, creating ideas through a writing so wet ideas come from How can we start to come up with interesting ideas that a unique that make us want to write all the way to the end? And how do we know if an idea is good and we're starting arm? So this class is broken down into a series of activities on, We'll be starting off with our three right as we did in the previous week. So hopefully you've printed out your second work, Google. You've got it on screen toe, help you follow along, and we're going to begin by thinking about where these ideas come from. And one piece of recommended reading I would give is big. Match it by a Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She talks in quite a lot of detail about where our ideas come from and what it means to be creative, and she debunks a lot of the myths around this idea that we need to suffer Ferraro off. So instead, we want to really enjoy the career of pro size, all the way from coming up with the idea to edit in and re edit in with our final story. No, for me, ideas come from all sorts of different places. I might read an article in a newspaper, and it might get me thinking I might have a really weird dream. That could be a good story. It could just come from anywhere, really. And I think being open toe ideas when you're just going about your everyday life is a really good place to start. Today. We're gonna have a few different ways to get started with idea generation, but feel free. If you want to start working on your own idea after this week, will be moving a week three and four. You're very welcome to use your own ideas. Maybe if you've already got one that you'll want to work on, but get your pain that you pay it back. A workbook ready either on screen or printed out, and we'll get started with Week two 8. Week 2, Activity 1 - Free Write: Okay, then. So let's get side with our first activity of week two on. Just like with week one, our first activity is going to be a free right. So I'm going to give you a write in Palm on. You're going to go away at a time up. Um, I would recommend that in either a five or a 10 minute timer. We just have one might prompt this week. So maybe push it to 10 minutes on from the problems you're going to write without stopping so literally Don't list the pen. Just keep light into the 10 minutes. Still worry about it Making sense. Obe In an amazing piece of Ryan, just allow yourself to be creative to right to the front of it. And then tomorrow I would recommend coming back to this piece of Ryan. Looks through it maybe underlying any bits that you like, and you might find the from this moment of just going with the flow that there's actually a great idea that you could work with that. Okay, So your idea, your prompt. Sorry. You're right. In problems today and in the beginning, no one realized that it was all going wrong. In the beginning, no one realized that it was all going wrong. Could be that one more time, just in case you need it. In the beginning, no one realized it was all going wrong. Okay, so pause the cold. Put a 10 minute time, Iran, right to your heart's content on, then come back for our second activity. 9. Week 2, Activity 3 - The Seven Stories: Okay, So So Part two of Weak Teoh where going to be disgusted. The seven stories. So it's a commonly held belief that there are actually only seven stories in the world. Andi. All of the novels, all of the thousands of players, stories, whatever it may be films they awful into these seven categories. So we have overcoming the monster Baxter Riches, the Quest voyage and return comedy tragedy on river rebirth. So the seven different categories and we can arrange every single story in existence, whatever medium that may be in into these categories, and it might feel a bit disheartening to hear this first, I think the first time someone said that to me at all, but like, Well, what's the point? May have been trying to create something new then, but actually it's a really positive thing, because by looking at these cut agrees and trying to fit the story that we enjoy into the cat degrees, we can begin to see how we can very easily change things to make them unique. So the help us begin to think about inventing our own stories. I'd like you to look at this page in your workbook So we have this table here and you're going to think of 10 stories you know relatively well. They don't have to be books. They could be Fulham's. They could be placed whatever they may be, and you're just going to arrange them into the table. You might find that they actually fit into more than one story type that's absolutely five . Just shut them down. Just thinking about the structure of the stories and where they might stay Onda once he's done like so you might want to pull the video, go in, do that little activity with your 10 favorite stories and then come back to this story to come back to this video. What a story stuck in my head now. So hopefully you've done that. You arranged your stories into categories, and you begin to think about the fact that a lot of stories actually fall into more than one category. So I'm talking about Harry Potter in the Philosopher's Stone and here because a lot of us have read it. Hopefully, if you haven't read it off in the flow of you've got a little bit of an idea of what the story's about now Harry Potter in the loss of a still one confession on more than one category. We can see it as overcoming the months that because he overcomes foldable, the conceit of Iraq's rich is because at the beginning he's living with the dead lease. Not very happy is having a really miserable time, and by the end of the book he lived now Hogwarts and he's having a lovely well, not all of the time he has to battle Baltimore, but he's gone from this kind of we're situation to about the situation so kind of rocks to riches. We can also see it of arepa, a story or a coming of age stories into the way to talk about Reba. So what kind of 15 them all the one category now am I. Take Harry Potter in the Philosopher's Stone. See isn't overcoming the monster or a quest story on? Then I'm going to you just for the sake of this activity, begin to 10 Harry Potter on its head. So I'm going to think about how much I move this into a different category. How would the story? How would the plot me to change? So, for example, on my 10 Harry Potter into a tragedy. I now ideo I would do this by having how you die is a baby and never realising his full potential. Perhaps I could make how he put a purely a comedy and how he is, Um, totally hopeless that everything is not able to overcome anything. But at the same time, Baltimore is no no longer. Three scary bad guy in studies. Really pathetic is a teacher at the school, Um on he wants Harry Teoh making kicks in an effort to get over his own disappointment and not be in the dark with it, overlord that he had planned to be. So, As you can see, we can take the elements that already exist in the story, changed them up and change the category of story to complete nature on the plot of story. But this gives us a little springboard to think about how stories work. So we're not saying we're going to copy anybody else idea. This is purely doesn't exercise to start thinking about ideas and how we come up with ideas and where we can get inspiration from. So ideally, you'll pick a story from your table one of the stories that you know fairly well on. Then we're going to turn over the next part of the book club. So we're going to think festival right in the title of the story of Children and then try and come up with a one type of. Maybe it's more than one type and then come up with a new story type, just like I did then we're not going to be right in any great detail, but it's gonna put some details and how the plot would change if we did this. And if you want to add any more, no, we've also got a little section in the world. Look away. Do that take a longer view like doing it, Have some fun, and then when you're ready, come back The tax three 10. Week 2, Task 4 - Writing What You Know: welcome back. I hope you enjoy doing that activity and that you have managed to flip a well known story completely on its head and create something new, a completely different idea. And now we're going to go from thinking about ideas that already exist to thinking about our own stories and our own experiences. So a really common piece of advice that is given to write is particularly new rightness is to write what you know, the idea that these experiences that you already have can be used to create really realistic and fill provoking pieces of right. And but for me, this is something that I've always struggled with. I don't really want to write about my life. I definitely don't want to write anything. Order, biographical. Just personal choice. I like to write for escapism. It's the way that I've always written. So how come you take this advice if we don't necessarily want to write memoir, anything close to memoir? Well, something I would like you to consider. I was thinking about a skill or experience that you have, so it's not connected to your personal life, but something that is very unique to you. You can maybe used to find an interest in ideas. So I'm moving on to this page in the Google it with this little table and its entire old writing what you know. And I have an example here. So I am a yoga teacher as well as of right s. So my interest is yoga. And my idea is to write about a very angry yoga teacher who terrifies all of his students away until a destiny is able to stand a Shaolin and eventually helps him to see that it doesn't have to be so angry all the time. So this is a comedy. I mean, you could also say it was kind of, ah am a self discovery because he comes out of whatever's happened to make him so angry. And then in the notes section, I have The teacher will have experienced something that made him angry. So he hasn't always been that way. And that's how we have students to stop being angry at. And I suppose for me, this is used my experiences a yoga teacher, but it's also kind of flipping it upside down. So most you yoga teachers out come across are quite relaxed, and though I have seen some own so relaxed on document reason things where different and branches of yoga that do kind of shout at you and I might hit you with a stick to get you in the right yoga balls. I was using that a little bit to help with the idea, but I wanted to be quite lighthearted. I wanted to be a comedy. So you have here and plenty of space on your table so you could come up with four ideas. Or you might find that you come up with one idea and it changes and you want to go into the next line. That's why you've got plenty of space. So after this video is finished, you're going to go away. Think of an interest. It could be absolutely anything. Whatever this means to you, it's your right and so just come up with whatever works and then think about a unique idea for a story that stems from this interest. Then try and put it into one of the seven storey categories that will help you kind of guide the pull a little bit. If you did decide to work with this idea and then add in some additional notes, you might start thinking about me and character. You might. So I think about back story, a big twist. Whatever it is, it's your workbooks. Or do with it what you like. Idea. You'll have one idea. By the end of this, you might even have more than one. Just see how you get on and I will see you for the next house. 11. Week 2 Final Activity and Preparing for Week 3: Okay, So I hope you enjoyed coming up with an idea on to finish up week. Teoh, you're going to go away. And finally you get to go on, do a really nice long piece of writing. So if this was in a class that I was teaching new face to face, I would be giving you about 25 30 minutes to work on this would then have a little bit of feedback, and then you might go away and work on its more. But as we're online, you can take a long as you like working on this. You do have spares in your workbook with lines. But if you want to work in your own notebook, of course do that. Hopefully from the previous activity, you might have an idea of a story would like to start, right. And oh, maybe you came to this with an idea. You want to start right in on. So go ahead, get right in. And maybe you'd like to share a couple of 100 words on the school share page. You're very welcome to do so on. Once you have finished this video, you can just go and right away to your heart's content on next week, we are thinking about let me have a look. So for week three, we're going to be thinking about dialogue. So how did he write, Really interested in realistic dialogue? So I will see you back here on skill share for Week three of our creative writing course. Let me know any comments below. If there's anything you would like to be covered in a little more detail or any ideas for future courses that you would like and I was beat too soon, take a