Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice


Authored by Pat Pattison


Course Code: OLART-216

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice is designed to help you write clearly and strongly in your own unique voice, bringing your full self to your writing process every time you write. This course will guide you through the first and most essential part of finding your writing voice: how to bring your senses and sense memories to the forefront and channel them into your writing. No one has ever seen the world from your perspective before, in the order, time, and context you’'ve experienced it. Your sense memories stimulate your readers’ imagination, forcing them to respond with their own sense memories, filling your words with their stuff.

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The course will also challenge you to dive deeply into the way you see the world. When you look at a river, do you think of it as rushing to the sea to get home? Your ability to see what’s in front of you as though it were something else— that is, the ability to create metaphor—is uniquely yours. Aristotle calls it the "only truly creative human act."

The first four weeks of the course move through sense-bound writing from four different platforms, allowing you to dig deeply into different aspects of your senses. You'’ll practice using different points of view and tense. From there, you'’ll take progressive steps toward creating effective metaphor. You'’ll also work on sentence structure and sentence types as an expressive tool.

Each day, you’'ll be asked to write in response to prompts, and you'’ll comment on the posts of other students in the class. For your weekly assignments, you’'ll choose a favorite from your week’s writing and craft it into a longer piece for the instructor to assess. This process of combining sense-bound writing and metaphor will take you to the heart of your writer’s voice.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Make conscious and informed choices about point of view and tense
  • Employ your senses effectively
  • Create interesting and effective metaphor
  • Make conscious and informed choices about sentence type and structure
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Lesson 1: Sense-Bound Writing—What Writing

  • Getting Close to Your Senses
  • Sense-Bound Writing
  • Using All of Your Senses
  • Sharpening the Way You See the World
  • Keeping Your Writing Eyes Open

Lesson 2: Writing from Person—Who Writing

  • Point of View
  • Camera Angles
  • Third-Person Narrative
  • First-Person Narrative
  • Direct Address
  • Second-Person Narrative
  • Writing from the Outside
  • Writing from the Inside
  • Second-Person Narrative
  • Direct Address

Lesson 3: Writing from Time—When Writing

  • Locating Your Characters in Time
  • Use of Tense and Point of View
  • Writing in Past Tense
  • Writing Past Tense to Present Tense
  • Writing Present Tense to Future Tense
  • Writing in All Three Tenses

Lesson 4: Writing from Place—Where Writing

  • Locating Characters in Space
  • Combining Where and When
  • Sentence Types
  • Combining Point of View, Senses, and Place
  • Combining Third-Person Narrative, Moving from Past to Present Tense, Senses, and Place
  • Combining Second-Person Narrative, Moving from Present to Future Tense, Senses, and Place
  • Combining Direct Address, Moving through Tenses, Senses, and Place

Lesson 5: Metaphor—Adjectives and Nouns

  • Making Metaphors
  • Expressed Identity
  • Qualifying Metaphor
  • Verbal Metaphor
  • Adjective/Noun Collisions
  • Combining Senses with Adjective/Noun Collisions
  • Working from Adjectives to Nouns
  • Working from Nouns to Adjectives

Lesson 6: Metaphor—Nouns and Verbs

  • Working with Nouns and Verbs
  • Noun/Verb Collisions
  • Combining Senses with Noun/Verb Collisions
  • Moving from Nouns to Verbs
  • Moving from Verbs to Nouns

Lesson 7: Metaphor—Expressed Identity

  • Expressed Identity
  • Noun/Noun Collisions
  • Noun/Noun Collisions and the Senses
  • Expressed Identity and the Senses
  • Creating Provocative Collisions

Lesson 8: Metaphor—Linking Qualities

  • Finding Metaphors in Deeper Detail
  • Words in Families and Keys
  • Linking Qualities and the Senses
  • Linking Qualities and Expressed Identities
  • Using one Metaphor Term to Describe the Other Metaphor Term

Lesson 9: Finding Linking Qualities

  • Determining Essential Qualities
  • Locating Linking Qualities
  • Linking Qualities
  • Finding Target Ideas

Lesson 10: Working Both Directions

  • Reversing Metaphor Direction
  • Working Both Directions with Target Ideas
  • Exploring through the Lens of the Target Idea
  • Working Both Directions

Lesson 11: Reversing Direction through Linking Qualities

  • Reversing Direction through Linking Qualities
  • Exploring Metaphors through Prompts
  • Finding Prompts

Lesson 12: The Grand Finale

  • Final Project: Sharing Your Voice


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
English Proficiency Requirements
All students enrolled in this course, must know English well enough to:

  • Easily understand recorded videos and written class lessons
  • Participate successfully in written and oral class discussions
  • Read, write, and study without being hindered by language problems
  • Possess intermediate or advanced grammar skills related to punctuation and verb conjugation


Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Pat Pattison


Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches lyric writing and poetry. In addition to his four books, Songwriting Without Boundaries (Penguin/Random House), Writing Better Lyrics, 2nd Edition (Penguin/Random House), The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure (Hal Leonard), and The Essential Guide to Rhyming (Hal Leonard), Pat has developed several online courses for Berklee Online. He has written more than 50 articles for various blogs and magazines, including American Songwriter, and has chapters in both The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi) and The Handbook on Creative Writing (Edinburgh University Press).

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Pat continues to present songwriting clinics across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. His students include Grammy-winners, professional songwriters, and major recording artists, including Gillian Welch, John Mayer, Tom Hambridge, Joelle James, Karmin, American Authors, Ingrid Andress, Liz Longley, Charlie Worsham, Greg Becker, Justin Tranter, and many more.

For Berklee Online, Pat has authored the following courses: Lyric Writing: Writing From the TitleLyric Writing: Writing Lyrics to MusicLyric Writing: Tools and Strategies, Creative Writing: Poetry, and Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice. He also co-authored the graduate course Songwriting Tools and Techniques. Read Less

Mark Scholtes


Mark Sholtez is an ARIA nominate and APRA award winning songwriter and recordings artist. He was the first Australian artist to record for the legendary Verve record label, and his career to date has included collaborations with multiple Grammy winning producer Tommy LiPuma (Barbra Streisand, George Benson, Miles Davis), Grammy Life Time Achievement recipient and noted veteran engineer Al Schmitt (Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson), and multiple Grammy winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchel, Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman).

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Currently signed to EMI Music Publishing Australia, Mark’s music has appeared in numerous international film and television productions including, Private Practice, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, Grim, and Packed to the Rafters.

Mark also has a Masters degree from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music - Griffith University. Read Less

Cassandra Long


Cassandra is a singer, educator, writer and performer based in Sydney, Australia. Having graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Songwriting and Music Production, she currently lectures in the Music Department at JMC Academy Sydney as well as mentoring artists and teaching voice. Cassandra is the vocalist and co-songwriter for an indie folk duo, sagas, and is currently writing a book on vocal technique. 

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As an educator, Cassandra is passionate about supporting students while they hone their craft, using tools and techniques to form strong emotional connections with their audiences through song, and amplify their artistry. She is keen to instill her love of creativity and songwriting in her students. Read Less

Susan Cattaneo


Susan Cattaneo is one of Boston’s most respected singer-songwriters, blending rock and folk with a healthy dose of country. Susan won the CT Folk Festival and has been a finalist or winner at some of the country’s most prestigious songwriting and music contests including: Kerrville New Folk, Emerging Artist Falcon Ridge, the International Acoustic Music Awards, the Independent Music Awards and the USA Songwriting Competition. Her latest album The Hammer and The Heart charted #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and yielded a folk radio #1 single and top 10 album. In her 20 years teaching Songwriting at Berklee College of Music, Susan helped students work on over 15,000 songs in all musical genres and styles and mentored over 2,000 artists. She’s taught master clinics at the International Folk Conference and at regional Folk conferences (NERFA, SWRFA and SERFA). Her Songwriting Lessons has been featured in a series in American Songwriter and Guitar Magazine and her lyric writing has been featured in Pat Pattison’s award-winning books Writing Better Lyrics and Writing Beyond Boundaries.


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

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