Creative Writing Workshop for Teens


April 1 – May 6

Six- Modules

Details will be sent within a day after registration.

Asynchronous: Work at your own pace.

Instructor: Ian Tan

Ian boasts a Bachelor’s Degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration from Messiah University. He has worked as a literary judge with the creative writing contest Ink and Insights since June 2020, honing his analytical and editorial eye through the various submissions he has received. In 2021 he began pursuing his own novel projects, has begun offering coaching and developmental edits for novel manuscripts, and is eager to take on more.

Ian bases his writing and editing philosophy closely around a quote by William Faulkner – “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in contention with itself.”

Got a ton of ideas that you don’t know how to put down in words? Are there certain forms of creative writing you’re interested in brushing up on? This could be your lucky break!

This six-week course will help you think more intentionally about the process of creative writing. Whether you’ve written your fair share or have only just started to brainstorm, you will know that this can be messy, confusing, and frustrating. These lessons will provide a compass and vehicle for all sorts of writing modes and styles, both in and out of class.

Objective: By the end of this course, students will:

  • understand the different ways that life influences writing
  • create a character that readers can connect to
  • learn where to apply show and tell techniques
  • create meaningful, relatable, even entertaining dialogue 
  • use all of the above to exercise their script, poetry, and short story writing


  • First class
    • Topic: “Understanding, knowing and changing reality.”

Our writing is influenced by reality in some shape or form. We shall be discussing two main ways that writers draw from reality to create. Through researching foreign events or cultures, or using their own experiences, we’ll see.

  • Purpose: To have students be more intentional and aware about how they approach their story premises, and to at least build a basic understanding of subtopics like representation or tokenising.
  • Pick one assignment. 
    • 1. Create a short sketch (1-2 pages) based around a character/culture/society/event you have studied. In a page or less, introduce the inspiration behind your sketch to your classmate(s)
    • 2. Create a sketch (1-2 pages) based around a character/culture/society/event you have experienced personally. In a page or less, introduce the inspiration behind your sketch to your classmate(s)
  • Second class
    • Topic: Character
    • Purpose: To help students understand the basic components of a character arc. Character, goal, conflict, stakes, arc resolution.
    • Assignment: Create a character. Introduce them to your classmate(s)
  • Third class
    • Topic: Script writing

Scriptwriting is not only a fun, effective way to practice your dialogue skills but also a standalone genre of creative writing all by itself. Strong dialogue can make or break the audience’s first impressions of characters, or characters’ first impressions of each other.  Understanding the differences between two cultures or languages could be a key. People experience cultural clashes and shocks all the time in conversations.

  • Purpose: To have students focus on their dialogue writing and emoting skills, lowering emphasis on descriptions, settings and inner monolog
  • Assignment: Practice creating a script between two or more characters. Feel free to use this chance to bring your character from the previous class to life. The tone and setting is up to you. Length should be 3 pages min, 5 pages max.
  • Fourth class
    • Topic: Show vs tell

Showing often brings the audience closer to the subject than telling, whether it is a character or a setting. We’ll be looking at various examples of the two techniques.

  • Purpose: To have students practice their descriptive skills and sensory stimulation (highlighting smell, sound, color, temperature, texture, taste), and to note the time and place for the tell technique
  • Assignment: Pick a scene of your character from the second class, and create a sketch (1-2) pages) where you add visuals to them. They can be alone or interacting with another character. They can be in an old or new space. As long as you can help your classmates visualize them, you are doing great.
  • Fifth class
    • Topic: Free verse poetry
    • Purpose: To have students practice their skills with capturing imagery, and/or conveying emotions
    • Assignment: Practice creating a free verse poem. It can describe a scenery, or unpack emotions, or both if you want to try.
  • Sixth class
    • Topic: Short story
    • Purpose: To have students combine their lessons from the previous classes and craft an organized short story
    • Assignment: Create a short story of ten pages or less. Feel free to use the character you worked with previously. See this as a side quest that puts them on a different adventure.

Creative Writing Workshop for Teens

If you are ready to register for the Creative Writing Workshop for Teens course, please use paypal. If you have quesitons, feel free to use the form below.