Write Before You Think - Extend and Transform Your Writing
4.4 (13 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
153 students enrolled
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Write Before You Think - Extend and Transform Your Writing

:A fiction writer’s micro course to inspire and strengthen your writing.
4.4 (13 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
153 students enrolled
Created by Jillian Sullivan
Last updated 11/2015
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 20 mins on-demand video
  • 18 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Enhance your clarity and creativity with unique techniques.
  • Write fast with nouns and verbs
  • Discover significant detail with sensory exercises
  • Create purposeful characters
  • Bring compression and tension to dialogue
  • Stay in your point of view
  • Structure a meaningful reading experience
View Curriculum
  • • Paper, pen or computer • A willingness to write without thinking • A desire to understand what works and doesn’t work in your own writing, whatever level you’re at, and make your writing stronger.

In half an hour you can take your writing to a higher level.

In six short lessons you’ll get a fast overview of how to tighten your writing to a more professional level. Your creativity will be extended by the exercises that make use of your rich, subconscious mind. All the basics are here – character, dialogue, point of view, structure. They’re taught alongside unique techniques that will help you cast a net for stories, characters, images. Even if you don’t have time to do the exercises and read the lectures, if all you have is time to watch the videos, you will improve your writing. You'll understand what brings clarity to your work and take a big step towards publication.

What am I going to get?

  • Six video lectures
  • Six PDF lectures for extension, exercises and examples
  • 19 exercises to back up your learning
  • 15 pieces of your own new writing
  • A structural outline for a longer piece of work
  • Creative techniques to supply strong, fresh writing
  • An understanding of what works and doesn’t work in a strong piece of writing.
Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for writers who want to bring their work up to a publishable standard. Whether you are just starting out, have been submitting work or are already published, there are techniques and exercises here that will extend your creativity and illuminate the process of writing.
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Curriculum For This Course
Write Before you Think
5 Lectures 08:38

An introduction to the tutor Jillian Sullivan and to the six lessons of this course. The basics as you write: clarity, freshness and details.

Preview 01:34

Write from a place of unknowing to bring vigour to your work.

Preview 04:28

Use strong nouns and verbs to bring clarity to your work.

Write Before you Think
3 pages

The right, imaginative and clear use of details to create an authentic world for the reader.

Preview 02:36

Using a sense walk to capture details. Using senses to stimulate memory and evoke emotion. The role of research to provide details.

The Sense Walk
4 pages
Character and Dialogue
4 Lectures 05:13

Have fun creating a character and knowing what they want. The importance of a birth-date for your character.

Preview 03:00

The importance of character work. What your character wants to tell you when you give them a voice. Attached exercises to develop your character creations.

Getting to Know your Character
2 pages

Attribution, compression and tension to strengthen dialogue.


Understand dialogue as a form of compressed language that does more than one thing at once. Study how other writers handle compression and tension in dialogue.

Dialogue in Action
4 pages
Point of view and structure.
4 Lectures 05:50

Awareness of which character you use to experience the fictional world. Stay in the point of view you choose, and know when you are changing. Using significant detail with point of view (in supplementary resources.)

Point of View

Recognize the different points of view. Avoid inadvertanently moving out of point of view and disrupting the reader's experience. Create a story through different points of view.

First, Second and Third.
3 pages

The driving force of your story: what has been lost that needs to be recovered?

The Narrative Question

An overview of structure examining

  1. The emotional needs behind a character's wants.
  2. Adversity
  3. Risk
  4. A six scene structure
Adversity, Wants and Needs.
6 pages
About the Instructor
Jillian Sullivan
4.4 Average rating
13 Reviews
153 Students
1 Course
Writer and tutor

Jillian Sullivan, the author of A Guide to Creating, lectures on creativity and writing in America and New Zealand. The author of 11 books, she’s taught writing for Massey University, is a manuscript assessor for the NZ Society of Authors and a judge for regional and national writing awards. She holds a Master of Creative Writing with Distinction from Massey University. Her writing awards include The Highlights Fiction Award in America for short stories, The Tom Fitzgibbon Award and Maurice Gee Prize for young adult novels and the Kathleen Grattan Prize for poetry. A Guide to Creating won an Honourable Mention for a spiritual book at the 2014 London Book Festival.

“I would call A Guide to Creating a must for all writers, whatever their status. I’ve been writing professionally for nearly 50 years and was once Jillian’s mentor. With this book she had become my teacher.” Joy Cowley

Published Work:

Creative Non-Fiction (Adult):

A Guide to Creating, Steele Roberts, and Emrose Publishing, Ebook, Amazon 2015

Fishing from the Boat Ramp - a Guide to Creating, Steele Roberts, Oct 2009

Poetry (Adult):

Parallel, poetry collection, Steele Roberts, July 2014.

Poems published in literary journals and newspapers, including Takahe, Meniscus, Printable Reality, Christchurch Press, Otago Daily Times.

Novels (Young Adult):

Rat Keeper Cat Keeper, Pearson NZ Ltd, November 2009

Silverstream, Raupo Publishing (NZ) Ltd, July 2008.

What About Bo?, Scholastic NZ Ltd, 2005, EBook with Oceanbooks NZ 20212

Shreve’s Promise, Scholastic NZ Ltd, 2004


Myths and Legends – the Gift of Stories from our Cultures, Pearson NZ Ltd 2007

Short Story Collections: Launched and Other Stories, Pearson NZ Ltd 2005

Hey Tony, short stories for teenagers, Orchard Press 1999

Picture Books:

Sophie’s Mum and the Dinosaur, Learning Media 1998

Two Homes for David, Learning Media 1997

Short stories, (Adult):

Numerous short stories published in literary journals and newspapers, including National Radio, Takahe, JAAM, Headland, Sunday Star Times, and The Chattahoochee Review.


Alexander’s Koala, Chatterbox, NZ

Sophie’s Mum and the Dinosaur, Chatterbox, NZ

New Zealand School Journals, Choices, Learning Media

27 stories, plays, articles.

Highlights For Children Magazine: (USA)

Five stories


Poems and short stories published in New Zealand anthologies, including The Puffin New Zealand Story Book (Penguin Books (NZ ) Ltd 1996), Dare and Double Dare (Random House) 2007, Poems4Peace (Printable Reality 2014) and We Society (Printable Reality 2015)

Chapter Books to USA , Canada, America, France:

13 Chapter books for children and young adults.