If you’ve dreamed of being a writer but were afraid to try, this is for you. If you love to write, but can never find the time, this is for you. If you read the words of your favourite authors and despair that you’ll ever be that good, this is definitely for you.
At the International Writers’ Collective we believe that anyone with the desire and dedication can learn to write—and write amazingly well—with proper guidance. We've seen the proof over and over again.
Our core workshops help you master the skills and techniques to reach your full potential as a poet or fiction writer, as well as providing a writing community to support you every step of the way. The workshops are cumulative—each of the levels builds on the skills and techniques acquired in the one before. We recommend most people start at Level I. If you already have a degree in creative writing or have taken numerous technique-focused workshops, contact us and we’ll help you find the right level.
From time to time, we also offer special classes with visiting authors and short-courses focused on a particular genre or skill set, for example, story structure, poetic form or publishing. Depending on the material, these range in duration from a single evening or weekend to multiple sessions over the course of several weeks. Check our course catalogue to see what's coming up.
Need help with a particular project or can't make it to a regular workshop because of your schedule or location? Consider private coaching—available both online and in Amsterdam and The Hague. We can help you with a specific project or work in progress or design an individualised learning programme based on your needs and your schedule.
If you want to combine relaxation with learning, try one of our retreats for quality instruction in an inspiring location.
About our core courses
A Level I course is a great place to start whether you’re just getting going or you’ve been writing for a while and would like more formal instruction. The focus is on giving you mastery over techniques fundamental to both fiction and poetry, supporting you in establishing a writing routine, and encouraging you to try new things and stretch your imagination. You can choose whether you want to work on fiction or poetry or try a little of both.
Level I courses run for 8 weeks (6 weeks during the summer) and meet once a week in Amsterdam, The Hague and online. Class size is 6-10 people.
During the 8 weeks you'll learn:
• How to read like a writer, so you can see how your favourite authors and poets work their magic—it's a skill that will serve you well throughout your writing life.
• How to construct a compelling narrator to tell your story.
• How to use elements of craft such as tone, mood, description, dialogue and action to reveal your characters and pull readers in and make them want more.
• How to give your fellow writers useful feedback.
• How to revise your own work—as any professional writer will tell you, writing well is all about revising well.
Plus you can look forward to a weekly dose of inspiration and to meeting great people.
The courses are designed to enable you to master a set of core skills and techniques over two to four terms—depending on your goals, focus and experience. At the end of each term, your instructor will help you determine the best path forward.
Level II builds on the core skills acquired in Level I and introduces techniques specific to fiction and poetry. Fiction writers will be studying how to create tension, write effective dialogue, and craft compelling openings and satisfying endings. Poets will be looking at effective use of rhythm, repetition, line breaks, white space and figurative language.
In Level II you’ll continue to grow your writerly toolkit through weekly exercises and in-depth analysis of poems and excerpts from stories and novels. The last quarter of the class is focused on carrying forward an exercise—building towards a complete story or publication-ready poem. In addition, writers who’ve completed at least one term of Level II have the opportunity to bring in a poem or up to 2000 words of fiction outside of the weekly exercises for critique.
Level II courses run for 8 weeks with winter, spring and autumn terms in Amsterdam and online. During the summer term, we offer a 6-week online option. See the specific course description for details. Class size is 6-10 people.
This course is open to writers who have completed Level I (or who have an MFA in creative writing or equivalent training) and by permission of the instructor. If you’re new to our group, please drop us a line before registering.
Most writers take two to three terms of Level II workshops before moving to Level III.
In Level III, writers bring together the skills acquired in Levels I and II. The focus is on deepening the emotional connection in your writing and further developing your own voice and material. Fiction writers work on building and sustaining readers’ interest over longer pieces. Weekly reading assignments and in class discussions provide inspiration and help you continue to hone your technique.
Each week you’ll have the option to create your own exercise based on that week’s reading or to continue to develop a previous exercise. You can also schedule one night per term to bring in up to two poems or 3000 words (roughly 8 pages) of a story or novel outside of the regular syllabus for critique.
Level III courses run for 8 weeks winter, spring and autumn and meet once a week in Amsterdam (see the specific course description for details). Class size is 6-10 people.
This course is open to writers who have completed Level II and by permission of the instructor. If you’re not sure if you qualify, get in touch. Students who have attained mastery over the elements of craft and are ready to take on a book-length project (a novel or collection of stories or poetry), can apply for Level IV.
Level IV is designed to provide ongoing support to writers who have completed Levels I – III and are working on completing individual projects, usually with an eye to publication. During the term you’ll have four opportunities to submit work for critique and will receive written feedback as well as benefiting from the in-class discussion of your work. Regular reading assignments ensure you are continually exposed to new techniques and inspiration.
Level IV workshops meet weekly for 8 weeks with winter, spring and autumn terms in Amsterdam. Class size is 6-8 people.
This course is open to writers who have completed Level III and by permission of the instructor.