Core Courses | Business Writing Seminars | Registration/Fees | Instructors

Learn From Experts and Enhance Your Skills With UMSL's Write Stuff Certificate Program.

Complete two core courses (one fiction and one nonfiction) and choose from a selection of seminars on a wide variety of topics that will improve your writing skills as well as your knowledge of the business of writing. When you’ve completed a total of 50 contact hours, you’ll be awarded a Chancellor’s Certificate in Writing. If you aren’t interested in earning a certificate, that’s okay! Simply pick and choose the classes or seminars that interest you. All of them will take you closer to realizing your dream.

Feel confident in learning from the best at UMSL. All seminars are taught by published authors, and core courses are taught by top students in UMSL's distinguished Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program.

For more information on The Write Stuff Certificate Program or to register, please call (314) 516-7454.

Core Courses

Core courses will provide specialized instruction and opportunities to write, discuss and analyze participants' work.

This class provides an in-depth look at fiction writing: building characters, plot-driven vs. character-driven stories, development of dialogue and plot, the function of theme and how theme shapes the evolution of a story, and the use of imagery, emotion and insight. Participants will have ample opportunity to brainstorm, write and revise.

Writing a personal narrative essay is like telling a story. This kind of essay writing is often experiential – allowing for expression to take form in a creative way. In this class, students will read a number of professional personal essays to better understand how to write them themselves. This class will also study the elements of narration: introduction, plot, character, setting, climax and conclusion. The class will conclude with students writing and workshopping their own personal narratives.

Business Writing Seminars

Business Writing Seminars will count toward the contact hours needed for the Write Stuff Certificate. Pricing: Seminars are $65 each, or you may register for both on the same day for $100 each. Onsite training is available for a group of 10 or more participants. Please call for special pricing and scheduling options.



Fees are payable by cash, check, or charge. (Make checks payable to the University of Missouri–St. Louis.)


The University reserves the right to modify by increase or decrease the fees charged for attendance and other services at the University, including but not limited to educational fees, at any time when in the discretion of the governing board the same is in the best interest of the University, provided that no increases can or will be effective unless approved by the governing board not less than thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the academic term (semester, etc.) to which the fees are applicable, with all modification of fees to be effective irrespective as to whether fees have or have not been paid by or on behalf of a student prior to the effective date of the modification. In the event of cancellation, you will be notified immediately, and all program fees will be refunded or applied to a future program at your request. If you must cancel a registration, you are entitled to a full refund only if you cancel prior to the first class meeting. After a course begins, refunds are made on a prorated basis in accordance with campus policy. Call (314) 516-7454 for information on canceling a registration once a course has begun.



Margo Dill: Margo L. Dill writes for kids and teenagers. She has three books published: Caught Between Two Curses (contemporary YA), Finding My Place (historical fiction middle-grade) and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire, and the Case of the Missing Cookies (humorous picture book). Besides writing books, Margo also teaches writing classes for WOW! Women On Writing, St. Charles School District and UMSL Write Stuff program. You can read her blog posts at and Finally, she is a freelance editor and an editor for High Hill Press, a publishing house in St. Charles, Mo. To find out more about Margo, please visit or


Dianna Graveman: Dianna Graveman has enjoyed careers as a teacher, manuscript editor, college instructor, and corporate training designer. In 2011 she founded 2 Rivers Editorial and Design, LLC, where she provides editorial and instructional design services for dozens of businesses, including Saint Mary’s Press, Dale Carnegie Training, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and more. She is co-author of four regional histories, co-editor of an anthology of short essays, and author of over 200 articles and stories for companies and publications that include The American Surveyor, Teachers of Vision Magazine, Saint Anthony Messenger, and Writer’s Digest Books. Dianna has a Bachelor of Science degree in education from University of Missouri–St. Louis and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Lindenwood University. For more information: 2 Rivers Editorial & Design, LLC; Linkedin:


Catherine Rankovic: Catherine Rankovic’s books include Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis (Penultimate, 2010), Island Universe: Essays and Entertainments (WingSpan, 2007); Fierce Consent and Other Poems (WingSpan, 2005) and Guilty Pleasures: Indulgences, Addictions, and Obsessions (Andrews McMeel, 2003). She received her MFA from Washington University, where she taught for 21 years; she now teaches poetry and creative nonfiction in the online MFA program at Lindenwood University. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, St. Louis Magazine, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, River Styx, Umbrella, Garbanzo, Bad Shoe, The Progressive, Natural Bridge, Gulf Coast, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Missouri Biennial Award for essay writing, and an Academy of American Poets award. She is a professional book editor and her website is


Donna Volkenannt: Donna is a former UMSL student whose essays, short stories, book reviews, interviews, and articles have appeared in numerous commercial and literary publications. Winner of almost 100 writing awards, her works have also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Spur Award. She received honorable mention in the Fourth Annual National Steinbeck Short Story Competition. In 2012 she won first place in the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Writing Contest. Donna has edited several literary anthologies and has served as a judge in local, state, regional, and national writing competitions. A past president of the Missouri Writers’ Guild and founding president of Saturday Writers, when Donna's not reading, writing, or talking about writing, she blogs about the sweet mysteries of life at