The 10 Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2023
The stereotype of the writer starving in their garret while waiting for inspiration to strike is far from the truth for today’s authors. Writers work in many fields, and the best of them get where they are through education and practice. A good writing course will feature a knowledgeable instructor, along with the opportunity to practice the skills they are teaching. To help you determine the best one for your own needs, we’ve sifted through the top options and reviewed the 10 best online writing courses below.
- Coursera — Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University — Top Pick
- Udemy — Secret Sauce of Great Writing — Most Affordable
- MasterClass — Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television — Best for Multimedia Writing
- The Novelry — Writing for Children — Best for Children’s Literature
- Writer’s Digest University — Creative Writing 101 — Best for Beginners
- Bookfox — Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book — Best Editorial Support
- CreativeLive — Writing Your Story — Best for Memoir Writing
- Grammar Lion — A Grammar Refresher for All Writers & Editors — Best for Grammar Review
- LitReactor — Writing the Weird — Best Online Community
- Gotham Writers Workshop — Fiction Writing Level 1 — Best Supporting Materials
Our Ranking Criteria
The best online writing courses offer you the chance to take your natural writing skills and shape them into a form that will open the doors in your chosen field. Whether you want to pen tv sitcom scripts or write the next great American novel, the best online writing course for you will take you further than you would be able to go on your own, helping you develop professional-level skills that will allow you to obtain the job of your choice. We based our decisions for the best courses on the following criteria.
Basic Ranking Criteria
There’s no one factor that makes a writing course the best. Instead we looked at multiple aspects for each of 74 online classes and factored them all into our final ranking. In our first pass, we looked at basic ranking criteria:
Time to complete. Although it’s important to have the time you need to thoroughly understand what you’re learning, no one wants to spend more time in class than is necessary. Some of our chosen classes are self-paced, others take less than an hour to one year.
Prerequisites required. None of our finalists has any prerequisites, which means that anyone with a basic understanding of the English language can participate and learn. If you do have previous writing experience, all the better — but it’s not necessary.
Flexible schedule. All but two of our choices feature a flexible schedule. Your life is busy, and for most people it is difficult to have to sign into the course at a specific time. Eight of our chosen courses allow you to take the classes and do the work as you are able, at a time that’s convenient for you.
Certificate of completion. A certificate of completion is not standard for writing courses. However, if one is available, it is often a plus to add the certificate to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Advanced Ranking Criteria
Once we reviewed results for the basic ranking criteria, we looked at more advanced features which are specific to the topics of the courses. Since many of our finalists have different focuses (such as children’s literature or creative writing), we were more concerned that they each covered their topic completely, rather than covering the same things as the other courses.
- The course thoroughly covers the material needed for an understanding of the topic.
- Instructors have solid credentials in the field they are teaching.
- The course includes materials that are appropriate to someone without skills or training in that area.
- The course includes opportunities for students to practice their writing skills.
- Instructors are personable and engaging.
- Alumni of the course are equipped to write at a beginning professional level.
- Graduates of the course have landed good jobs in their field.
- The course does not require software beyond a basic writing program such as Microsoft Word.
- Goals for the course are clear from the beginning.
10 Best Online Writing Courses Courses or Bootcamps
Coursera creative writing specialization by wesleyan university.
Intelligent Award: Top Pick
Coursera’s business model is somewhat different from many online education companies. It partners with established colleges and universities to offer classes at the higher-ed level. You don’t earn college credit for many courses, but can gain valuable certificates by completing specializations. The Creative Writing specialization consists of five courses that focus on three genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. Within those genres, you’ll learn about crafting characters and settings, writing descriptions, and developing your style, followed by a capstone class that will result in a completed story, essay or memoir. Throughout the specialization, you’ll have access to peer readers who can critique your work and suggest improvements. The course is taught by faculty at Wesleyan University who are published authors and trained in the creative writing process.
- Price: $49/month
- Time to complete: 3-6 months
- Prerequisites required: None
- Flexible schedule: Yes
- Includes verified certificate of completion: Yes
Who should take this course? This course is best for writers wishing to jumpstart or fire up their creative projects with college-level coursework.
Udemy Secret Sauce of Great Writing
Intelligent Award: Most Affordable
One of the better-known names in the online education industry, Udemy offers both paid and free courses, and, as of April 2021, had more than 40 million students. As you might imagine, an undertaking that vast will have a broad range of quality among its products. One of the company’s many courses on writing, The Secret Sauce of Great Writing stands out. Taught by former Wall Street Journal editor Shani Raja, the class focuses on what Raja believes are the four ingredients of good writing: simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness. Understanding and using these four ingredients, Raja says, will take your writing from the mundane to the inspiring. And at this price — it’s free! — and with a minimal time commitment (the course runs less than an hour), it is a great way to give your writing a boost and possibly learn some techniques that can enhance your output, whether you’re writing press releases or your autobiography.
- Price: Free
- Time to complete: 41 minutes
- Includes verified certificate of completion: No
Who should take this course? Anyone looking for a short, inspirational course at no cost.
MasterClass Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
Intelligent Award: Best for Multimedia Writing
Our top pick from MasterClass is Shonda Rhimes MasterClass on writing for television, although there are a number of excellent options for writers, including courses taught by Neil Gaiman, David Sedaris, and Joyce Carol Oates. Rhimes packs a lot into her 30 lessons, including how to create a compelling character, script structure, and writing authentic dialogue. But she also takes it beyond writing instruction, discussing editing, breaking into the industry, and showrunning, among other TV-centric topics. Your annual membership to MasterClass also gives you access to a pdf workbook and the opportunity to download the classes and watch them offline. Rhimes is one of the biggest names in television today and an engaging speaker who seems to relish letting learners in on all the secrets that got her to where she is today.
- Price: $180 annual membership (access to 100+ classes)
- Time to complete: Self-paced
Who should take this course? Best for those with some script-writing experience, or anyone who wants to try their luck with the notoriously-difficult-to-break-into world of TV writing.
The Novelry Writing for Children
Intelligent Award: Best for Children’s Literature
The Novelry offers several programs for children’s writers, ranging from the Classic Course Box Set, which allows you to work through 45 lessons at your own speed for $365, up to The Book in a Year Plan, which guides you from planning, creating, and writing a children’s novel to publishing within a year (costs $1,999). The latter includes nine one-on-one sessions with a children’s fiction tutor to help you shape your creation — a valuable benefit for budding writers. An interactive platform allows you to ask questions or add comments online. Classes are 15-20 minutes in length, and the company recommends that you allow one hour a day for your writing. The platform keeps track of your progress and offers feedback as you go.
- Price: $365 to $1,999
- Time to complete. Self-paced; one year accessibility
- Prerequisites required . None
- Flexible schedule : Yes
Who should take this course? If you already have a great plan for a novel, the Book in a Year plan is ideal. If you’re still searching for an idea on which you can build a novel, try the Classic Course.
Writer’s Digest University Creative Writing 101
Intelligent Award: Best for Beginners
If you are at the very start of your writing career, you should consider checking out Writer’s Digest University. A venerable name in the writing world, Writer’s Digest has been publishing a magazine for writers since 1920, and it has the professional chops to offer solid, comprehensive courses to both beginners and experienced writers. Creative Writing 101 is geared toward those who have an idea and the urge to write, but are not sure where to begin. The classes lead you in shaping your protagonist and antagonist and fleshing out the plot of the story while addressing common writerly concerns such as determining point of view and how to motivate yourself to write. The 12 sessions are available for $579.99, which is a bit on the steep side for what you receive, but the quality of the courses is generally excellent.
- Price: $579.99
- Time to complete: 12 weeks
Who should take this course? Those who are at the beginning of their writing career without a strong sense of direction. It’s also good for established writers who would like a refresher on topics such as imagery and dialogue.
Bookfox Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book
Intelligent Award: Best Editorial Support
Bookfox is the brainchild of John Matthew Fox, a former college professor, editor, and writer, who well understands the ins and outs of the publishing world. His courses, which include Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book, are packed with information. They delve far beyond the actual writing process, and include how to generate book ideas, the revision process, and, perhaps most importantly, how to successfully publish your book. He also touches on topics including finding an illustrator and agent as well as what you should know if you decide to self-publish. Fox himself teaches each class. The self-paced children’s book class has 14 lessons, which take anywhere from two weeks up to one year. As a one-man operation, Bookfox doesn’t have the highly-polished look and feel of companies like MasterClass, but Fox’s knowledge base more than makes up for his website’s lack of bells and whistles.
- Price: $149
- Time to complete: Up to one year
Who should take this course? Anyone who wants comprehensive information on the editorial and publishing process.
CreativeLive Writing Your Story
Intelligent Award: Best for Memoir Writing
CreativeLive’s Memoir course, called “Writing Your Story,” is taught by celebrated novelist and memorist Joyce Maynard, who first came to public recognition following her account of her affair with J.D. Salinger, At Home in the World . She’s written several other books of an autobiographical nature along with 11 novels. Her teaching style is engaging and idiosyncratic, and involves numerous stories from her own life. If that piques your curiosity, you’ll find her course engaging and informative, with 26 lessons that range from 5-30 minutes long and discuss how to determine what to write, how to write it, and how to handle criticism and rejection. If you enjoy Maynard’s style of teaching, note that there are several other courses taught by her, including How to Write a Full-Length Memoir and How to Write a Personal Essay.
- Price: $11/month for pass that includes 1500+ classes; $89 if you purchase just this class
- Time to complete: Five hours, 19 minutes spread over 26 lessons
Who should take this course? A great option for anyone who wants to tell their own story.
Grammar Lion A Grammar Refresher for All Writers & Editors
Intelligent Award: Best for Grammar Review
Having a great story to tell is important, but unless you have the basic building blocks of writing, you won’t be able to tell it. This means paying attention to grammar, and it’s what the Grammar Lion Grammar Refresher course offers. Appropriate both for those who need to learn about grammar as well as accomplished writers looking for a review of basic material, the course starts out by identifying the parts of speech, reviews sentence structure, delves into verb forms, and discusses shifts in person, tense, and structure. One whole lesson is given to matters of clarity and logic, and course extras include helpful resources and a favorite books list. The instructor is Ellen Feld, an author, editor, and educator who has taught more than 44,000 students in her online grammar refresher courses. You can connect to Feld via a discussion forum or by private email. She also offers one-on-one editing services for an additional fee.
Who should take this course? Beginners who are learning grammar for the first time and experienced writers who need a refresh in the building blocks of language.
LitReactor Writing the Weird
Intelligent Award: Best Online Community
LitReactor’s courses are hip and decidedly off-center. Take, for example, the course Writing the Weird, taught by J.S. Breukelaar, a finalist for the Ladies of Horror Fiction award and author of Collision . Enrollment is limited to 16 students, who take a deep dive into surreal, fantastic, and otherwise bizarre literature to find and write the human elements that make a story stand out. The four week course is divided into four topics: humanity, structure, setting, and resolution. You’ll explore the work of writers from Kelly Link to Matt Bell, and discover how conventional narrative can be a starting point for delving into innovative and speculative fiction. Each week you’ll be given writing assignments that will be critiqued by Breukelaar and your classmates, and in the fourth and last week, you’ll develop a story from start to finish based on what you’ve learned. Depending on your job title, this class may be the least likely to get you a raise. But it just may be the most fun of all our finalists.
- Price: $350
- Time to complete: 4 weeks
Who should take this course? Anyone with a taste for the off-beat and a willingness to stretch themselves and think outside of the box.
Gotham Writers Workshop Fiction Writing Level 1
Intelligent Award: Best Supporting Materials
Gotham Writers Workshop has made a name for itself in the NYC region with in-person and Zoom classes, but it also offers well-regarded online classes. Level I classes, such as Fiction Writing I, max out with 16 students per class, so you are guaranteed personal attention from the instructor. Level II and III classes (which include the continuation of the Fiction Writing series), have a maximum of 14 students. You can access each class and do the accompanying exercises anytime during the week for the 10 week workshops. The online interface makes it easy to submit work and read critiques from instructors and fellow students. Lessons are text-based rather than video, and there is a wealth of accompanying materials, such as reading lists and podcasts, to help you extend your learning experience.
- Price: Registration fee: $25; Online: $409; Returning students: $379; One-on-one: $1,745
- Time to complete: 10 weeks
- Flexible schedule: Modified flex time, with work needing to be completed within a week
Who should take this course? Anyone who prefers text-based lessons; those who want to interact personally with their instructor and peers.
Online Course Comparison Chart
Tips for succeeding in an online writing course, 1. consider the cost, how much do online writing classes cost.
Online writing courses are offered at a broad range of price points, our cheapest option is free, and the highest is nearly $2K. Generally, the more personal one-on-one time you have with an editor or your instructor, the more you’ll pay. LitReactor, for example, has a vibrant online community and regular feedback from your instructor, and costs $350 for the roughly four-week class.
Many of our choices are paid for in one lump sum when you sign up. A few, however, follow Coursera’s model of charging by the month or year. Also, keep in mind that some of our choices, such as MasterClass, give you access to all courses for the membership fee. So, if you have the time and interest, your $180 annual fee at MasterClass could net you literally dozens of courses in a range of topics.
Will my employer pay for me to take the course?
If you work in the communications industry, or in any industry that values good, clear writing skills, you may be able to have all or part of your writing course fees paid for by your employer, especially if you can show them how the course will benefit them. It’s worth asking your boss or your HR supervisor if they will help out with the cost.
2. Get your tech squared away
You shouldn’t need any special software or hardware to take an online writing course. You will need a good internet connection and a computer that is loaded with the most recent version of your chosen browser and system files. Most courses are formatted to work on both desktop computers and other devices, such as your tablet or smartphone. One handy app if you use Google Chrome is the company’s Video Speed Controller , which allows you to speed up or slow down HTML5 video, as needed.
3. Use the right study resources
One resource that many writers swear by is a good style guide. There are several of these, and you can generally find out which style guide your company uses with a quick question to the marketing or communications department. Here are the most common:
- Associated Press Stylebook — now in its 55th edition, this is the granddaddy of them all. Used by journalists, it is also the favored choice for much web writing as well as some academia.
- The Chicago Manual of Style — a wealth of information, the 17th edition features chapters on grammar and usage, a glossary of problematic words, and extensive information on citing sources.
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association — in its 7th edition, this style guide is used extensively by researchers and those in science and health care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Writing Courses
What jobs can you get after completing a writing course.
Few people are full-time authors. But the vast majority of professions, from legal work to health care, require those who can write clearly and concisely. According to the government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook , a full-time writer earns an average of $67,120 a year — but you can earn significantly more, depending on your job skills and professional area.
Are there free online writing courses?
Yes. In fact, one of our ten best choices is Udemy, which offers a broad range of free courses. In general, however, the old adage about how you get what you pay for holds true — the best, most well-designed courses will usually have a cost attached to them.
How long is the average online writing course?
Online writing courses vary from less than an hour to up to a year. Since most offer a flexible schedule, you can do them when you have time available. Keep in mind that in addition to lectures you’ll be watching or reading, you may also have exercises to complete, which take additional time.
Are online writing courses worth it?
They can be. Like many things in life, you will get as much out of it as you put into it. If you are taking a course for personal enrichment, all our chosen courses should benefit you. If you’re looking for professional advancement, a course with a certificate of completion may be a good idea, so you can show the certificate to your boss when done.
What are the best online writing courses?
There are probably hundreds of online writing courses — we looked at nearly 75 for this review. The best online writing courses are the ones we’ve featured above. The best writing course for your needs will depend on what you are looking to get out of it. If you’re hoping to write a best-selling children’s book, for example, the best writing class might not be Shonda Rhimes’ MasterClass. You’d be better off choosing an option like The Novelry’s program or John Matthew Fox’s Bookfox.
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Online courses: creative writing.
The Online Creative Writing Program makes it easy to take courses taught by instructors from Stanford’s writing community. Thanks to the flexibility of the online format, these courses can be taken anywhere, anytime—a plus for students who lead busy lives or for whom regular travel to the Stanford campus is not possible. These courses are open to all adults, and we encourage all levels of writers to enroll.
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Online classes draw together writers from across the globe . Our Online writing classes offer the same quality of instruction as our NYC classes, and, as much as possible, our Online classes replicate the experience of being together in a classroom with a teacher and fellow students.
The classes do not take place in "real time," (with the exception of an optional weekly one-hour chat session). You can participate in class any time, day or night, but the classes advance week-by-week, and certain things should be accomplished within that seven-day time period.
You can take an Online writing class from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection. The majority of our Online students are located in the U.S. but we also draw students from practically every country in the world, which is part of what makes the Online classes so interesting.
Aside from the convenience of time and location, you have a record of everything that transpires in class, which you can print out and keep for future reference. (The material is written, not video.)
Class size is limited, so that all students get personal attention:
- Level I 10-week Workshops, 6-week Classes, Intensives – maximum 16 students
- Level II 10-week Workshops (and Level III Fiction) – maximum 14 students
- Selling Seminars – maximum 25 students
- Level III 10-week Workshops (except Fiction) – 6 students
Explore our catalogue of writing courses . And here you will find information on Gotham's various class formats and our teaching philosophy .
You can see how our Online writing classes work in two ways:
You can take a video tour just below.
Or, take a self-guided tour of any of the following courses. All Gotham Online courses work in a similar way.
Fiction Writing I (10-week Workshop) Screenwriting I (10-week Workshop) Feature Article Writing I (10-week Workshop) Creative Writing 101 (6-week Class) Hit Send: Publishing Short Nonfiction (4-week Seminar)
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Online courses in creative writing
Part-time study in creative writing
Develop your creativity with an Oxford University short course or award programme.
Need an extra push to finish your novel, poem or play? Completely new to the world of creative writing? Want to improve your analytical reading skills? No matter where you are in your writing journey, or where you are in the world, there is a part-time course to suit you.
Short online courses
Our short online courses in creative writing include live-time weekly classes, day and weekend schools and flexible online courses.
Credit earned from our short online courses is transferable towards our Certificate of Higher Education - a part-time undergraduate course in which you study a main subject discipline but also undertake study in other academic subjects.
Browse short online courses in creative writing
Diploma in Creative Writing
Our two-year, part-time Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing allows you to strengthen your ability in four major areas of literary activity — prose, poetry, drama and analytical reading — as well as the chance to specialise in the medium of your choice. You can now opt to take this course mostly online.
Find out more about the Diploma in Creative Writing
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Best Online Creative Writing Classes
Masterclass is our best overall writing course to learn the art of writing.
We recommend the best products through an independent review process , and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.
Creative writing is often focused around writing fiction (but may also include nonfiction), which can feature any type of writing from poems to short stories, novels, and more. Online creative writing classes help you learn how to become a better storyteller, produce completed manuscripts, and publish your work. Since the classes takes place over the internet, you can study anywhere. The best online creative writing classes offer a rich curriculum, provide a good value for the cost, and are taught by experienced professionals.
Here, we've rounded up our top picks for prospective students to learn about creative writing from the comfort of their own homes. Some online courses even offer certifications upon completion to pursue creative writing as a career. Compare top options to find the best price range, topics, and class schedule to help you get started.
Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2023
- Best Overall: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- Best for Beginners: Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
- Best for Certification: Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
- Best Live Class: Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
- Best for Writing Critique: UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
- Best for Creative Non-Fiction: Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
- Best Ivy League Class: Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction
- Our Top Picks
- Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
- Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
- Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
- UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
- Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
- Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction
- See More (4)
- Compare Classes
Can I Teach Myself Creative Writing?
Can you make a living off of creative writing, methodology, best overall : neil gaiman teaches the art of storytelling.
- Cost: $180 for annual Masterclass membership
- Length: Approximately 5 hours
- Certificate: No
Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling took our top spot because the course has a robust curriculum and is taught by an award-winning author.
Short, engaging videos
Access content from your computer or smartphone
Easy-to-digest video lectures
No instructor feedback
Masterclass subscription required
No student collaboration
We like this class because students learn many creative writing techniques from a world-renowned fiction writer. The course is a series of 19 short video lectures, which include:
- Truth in Fiction
- Sources of Inspiration
- Finding Your Voice
- Dialogue and Character
- Character Case Study
- Dealing with Writer's Block
- The Writer's Responsibilities
As you watch the nearly five hours of content, you'll learn the fundamentals of writing stories (including how to make your story feel real), find unique angles to explore, develop your writing voice, create compelling plots, characters, settings, and dialogue, and edit and improve your work. You’ll also write short stories, understand different writing genres, and learn tips for getting unstuck when you have writer’s block.
This course of study is self-paced, so you won’t receive any feedback on your writing. You can access the videos on your smartphone or computer.
There are no requirements to enroll. However, you can only access the class if you have a Masterclass subscription, which currently costs $180 for the year. Once you have a Masterclass membership you can take any course offered. If you’re dissatisfied with the learning platform, you can email customer service within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.
Best for Beginners : Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
- Length: 24 hours
Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go gives new writers the foundational information they need to complete a piece of creative work.
Rich curriculum including various genres, literary techniques, the writing process, and more
Instructor and peer feedback
Course access ends after six weeks
Must adhere to a schedule to participate in discussions
Not all course requirements are included in enrollment
We like Beginning Writer’s Workshop because it’s designed to quickly turn a true beginner into a confident writer with a publication-worthy piece. When you finish the six-week, 12-lesson course, you’ll know how to:
- Distinguish between and speak to the different writing genres and subgenres
- Use various literary techniques and devices like similes, metaphors, imagery, etc.
- Develop plots, characters, and other story elements
- Navigate the entire writing process, including pre-writing, drafting, editing, and finalizing a piece
- Peer-edit the creative work of others
- Combat writer’s block
- Go through the publishing process
The class includes 24 hours of instructional content. For the first six weeks, you’ll get access to two new self-paced lessons per week. Lectures include reading material and videos.
There’s also an online discussion board where you can post questions and talk about the lectures. Discussions only remain open for two weeks after a lesson is released. So, while you can study when it fits your schedule, you’ll want to keep up with the work.
The course is facilitated by Carmen Marquez, a journalist, writer, and teacher. They’ll reply to any inquiries you post on the discussion board within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your writing from the instructor and other students.
The class costs $149. A new round of the course begins every month, so you can get started when it’s convenient for you.
Best for Certification : Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
- Cost: $0 or $49 per month to unlock more features
- Length: Approximately 11 hours
- Certificate: Yes
Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University is our choice for this category because it offers a certificate upon completion, allowing students to use the knowledge gained for their career path. As a bonus, this class is free, so students can access content from the school at no cost.
Access to free content from a well-regarded school
Free trial and "audits" allow students to view material before purchasing
No feedback or interaction without a subscription to Coursera
Does not include lessons on literary style
May take up to six months to complete
The course is hosted by Coursera, an online learning platform. Coursera gives you the option to “audit” the class at no charge, allowing you to view all of the included videos and reading materials without subscribing to the platform.
The specialization includes four classes you can audit:
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Character
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Style
- Capstone: Your Story
Each class features a few hours of content, and you can take them in any order and on your own time.
As you go through the lessons, you’ll learn how to:
- Develop a story with a beginning, middle, and end
- Bring the players in your tale to life
- Create a detailed world with your words
- Refine your piece via the editing process
The course of study has multiple instructors, all with backgrounds in English or creative writing.
If you want a more interactive experience that includes writing assignments, access to a discussion board, or feedback on your work, you’ll have to purchase a Coursera membership for $49 per month. The company offers a seven-day free trial, so you can test it out before buying.
Having full access will also allow you to obtain a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the specialization.
Best Live Class : Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
- Cost: $319 plus $25 registration fee
- Length: 18 hours
Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers is our best pick for live classes because it features weekly live lectures via Zoom. Students are also offered feedback for their writing while learning about both fiction and nonfiction.
Live, interactive meetings
Writing feedback available
Includes both fiction and nonfiction
Course is somewhat pricey
Registration fee required
No certificate offered upon completion
We like this class since you can learn about creative writing in a fully interactive environment and get your questions answered in real time. The course is designed specifically for newer writers or experienced writers looking for a refresher.
The six-week class meets for three hours a week and features:
- An introduction to creative writing
- A discussion on fiction writing to include types of fiction, components of the genre—such as plot, characters, and point of view—and how to write it
- A discussion on the different types of nonfiction, including narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays
- Guidance on how to find story ideas, cultivate good writing habits, and get past writer’s block
Between lectures, you’ll also complete writing assignments and get feedback on your work. The course has multiple instructors, all with education and experience in writing.
You must be 18 or older to take the course. The class is offered on various days and times, so you’ll have to look online to see which option fits your schedule.
Creative Writing 101 costs $319 for the online or Zoom classes. The company also charges a $25 registration fee per term, but you might be able to find discounts or promotions to reduce the cost.
Best for Writing Critique : UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing is our choice as best for writing critique because the class features small, weekly breakout sessions to workshop student writing.
Small group workshops for detailed feedback
Offers lessons on writing in multiple styles
Limite to 12 students; not always available for enrollment
Requires students to be present for 3-hour weekly class
This class allows you to learn from and work closely with instructors, writing experts, and other students. The course is limited to 12 students and is designed to help learners explore creative writing.
The Introduction to Creative Writing course runs for six weeks and meets live over Zoom for three hours weekly. In each class meeting, you’ll start in a breakout session to discuss the writing assignment and how you’re feeling as a writer. Then, you’ll transition into a lecture with a guest expert about topics like fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.
Throughout the class, you’ll:
- Experiment with writing in different styles
- Learn how to critique the work of other writers
- Network with other creatives
- Be inspired to write and learn more about the craft
The course has several different instructors who are all accomplished writers.
Since this is a beginner course, you won’t get graded on the writing you produce. Instead, you’ll be evaluated based on assignment completion, the feedback you provide to your peers, and overall participation.
The course costs $485, and if you need to withdraw, you must do so within two weeks of the start date to receive a refund.
Best for Creative Non-Fiction : Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
- Cost: $19.99
- Length: Approximately 2 hours
Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing won this category because the class specifically focuses on creative nonfiction. While the class is short, it's also the most affordable on our list, and it's a great introduction to the topic for curious students.
Specific focus on creative nonfiction
Most affordable option for beginner writers
Certificate of completion given
No writing feedback available
Only 2 hours of lectures available
Not in-depth on each topic compared to similar courses
If you’re interested in writing true stories rather than fiction but still want that creative element, you might want to consider creative nonfiction, like personal essays and memoirs. We like this class because it helps you dive into the world of creative nonfiction at a budget-conscious price.
The $19.99 course is self-paced and includes nine modules and 26 video lectures. The modules include:
- What is Creative Nonfiction?
- Writing the Vignette
- Using Sensory Language
- Writing in Scenes
- Using a Plot Diagram
- Making the Personal Universal
During the nearly two hours of lectures, you’ll learn the skills required to write creative nonfiction pieces, such as memoirs and essays, the basic building blocks of storytelling, such as plots, characters, and scenes, and several writing techniques and literary devices. You’ll also learn:
- How to find your writer’s voice and be more confident
- How to turn your personal experience into a compelling story that will appeal to the masses
- The revision process
Although you won’t get any feedback from your instructor, the class includes writing projects you can complete independently and quizzes to review your learning. To supplement the lectures, you’ll also have access to downloadable resources like templates and graphics.
Your instructor is the creator of the class, Trace Crawford. Crawford has more than 20 years of writing and teaching experience.
You don’t have to meet any particular requirements to take this course. It’s designed for any curious writer.
In case you’re unhappy with the class, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. When you finish the last lecture, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. You’ll also have lifetime access to the content.
Best Ivy League Class : Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction
- Cost: $3,100
- Length: 5 months
Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction is designed for intermediate to advanced writers interested in applying their skills to creative fiction. This is not a course for beginners, but rather an in-depth study that concludes with each student finishing their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.
Students learn creative writing from Ivy League professors
Offers formal experience in creative writing
Students will complete their own short story or the first chapter of a novel by course end
Intended for graduate students with strong writing skills
Considerably more expensive than others
Students must enroll in degree program
Harvard's Fundamentals of Fiction course is a great choice for graduate-level students to focus on their creative writing skills. The course covers several topics, including:
- Plot analysis
- Structure analysis
- Fundamentals of character
- Fundamentals of dialogue
- Showing versus telling
- Point of view
- Building a narrative foundation
- Using scene structure to craft stories
The course is split into two sections: Students study plot and structure in various creative writing works, then apply this knowledge in the second half of the course to write their own short story or the first chapter of a novel.
As an Ivy League class, online students receive all the benefits of professor feedback and student collaboration that they'd receive in-class. However, students must enroll with the Harvard Department of Continuing Education to register.
There are countless online creative writing classes available, so it may be hard to choose the best course for you. Investigate any online creative writing class before you enroll to select an option that can help you finish and publish your creative masterpiece.
However, Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling is an excellent place to start your search. The content comes from an award-winning author and is designed to inspire you, help you develop your voice, and teach you new creative writing techniques.
Compare the Best Online Creative Writing Classes
Frequently asked questions, what do you learn in an online creative writing class.
Creative writing classes teach topics like genres of writing, outlining ideas, developing a plot and characters, and storytelling. Specific classes vary from course to course, but many include lessons about editing your work and establishing productive writing habits. The class may also include a peer-critique component to improve your own editing skills by reviewing other writers' work.
Should New Writers Take an Online Creative Writing Class?
New writers can and should take an online creative writing class. Some classes are designed especially for beginners so that learners can get the foundational information that they need. Taking an entry-level class can help you decide if creative writing is right for you and what direction to take as a writer.
How Can an Online Creative Writing Class Help Me Improve My Writing?
An online creative writing class can help you improve your writing in several ways. You'll learn about new literary techniques, refresh your knowledge about writing basics, find your unique voice, overcome writer's block, refine your work, and establish productive habits. An online creative writing class may also include personalized feedback from the instructor to hone your skills further.
How Much Do Online Creative Writing Classes Cost?
Online creative writing classes vary in cost. You can access some courses for free, while others are priced at several hundred dollars or more.
Are Online Creative Writing Classes Worth It?
Depending on your career goals , online creative writing classes can be worth your time, effort, and money. If you’re a hobbyist writer, it probably makes sense to stick with short, budget-friendly courses. But if you’re a writer by trade or would like to become a professional writer, it may be worth investing a more substantial number of hours and dollars into your development.
It's possible to teach yourself the fundamentals of creative writing when it comes to practicing narratives and storytelling, and many writers start without a formal education. However, creative writing classes can help you hone in on skills like developing characters and plots, writing in different styles, editing your work, and more.
Many writers and authors make their living from creative writing. Creative writers may focus on producing books, or they may write poetry, short stories, biographies, and other fictional or non-fictional works. The best creative writing classes can also teach you about submitting your work to publishers to develop a career .
We closely evaluated 10 online creative writing classes before making our selections. We considered the course curriculum, instructor credibility, and value. We also accounted for any unique features.
All of our choices offer a rigorous course of study for a fair price and are designed to help creative writers hone their craft and get ready for publication.
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Learn creative writing
What is creative writing.
Writing has many different purposes. Some writing informs the audience, such as technical or academic writing. Other writers, like journalists, report the news. Some writing, however, exists to tell a story or express an idea that falls outside of the rules-based academic or technical world. Creative writing involves any writing that stretches the boundaries of journalism or technical writing, inhabiting a world where the story is precious. Creative writing has many forms. Literature and poetry are well-known, but writing that expands narrative traditions and develops through characters could also be considered creative.
Creative writers often have an excellent command of language and can translate that into a variety of disciplines. Learning the basics of creative writing could give learners writing and communication skills that can be applied to fields ranging from entertainment to business to politics.
Browse online Creative Writing courses
Stand out in your field, learn at your own pace, earn a valuable credential, related topics, creative writing course curriculum.
Online writing classes can unlock creativity and improve learners’ writing technique. For example, a class that focuses on writing novels can teach individuals how to ideate, outline, and execute on a large project. Learners can study different forms of writing, such as American poetry, long-form journalism, and English literature, which can even be a prerequisite for many BFA and MFA programs. From creating fully realized characters to editing drafts, there are many skills to learn in creative writing classes.
Careers in creative writing
Learning character development, prompt writing, and other skills in this field helps learners think in new ways. Creative nonfiction classes can help writers build communication skills. Classes on the short story can teach professionals how to make their point in a concise manner. A background in creative writing could help prepare individuals for many careers, including as an:
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Last updated December 2022
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