16 Best Online Creative Writing Courses
The following list includes both free and paid classes, but from my experience, the paid ones are more than worth it.
Be careful to distinguish between courses that come with feedback on your writing and ones that just include information. Both can be helpful, but make sure you’re signing up for what you need.
Also, be aware of the differences between courses that include a teacher and those that just have audio or video lectures. The lectures can be helpful, but it’s always great to ask someone questions.
I hope you enjoy this list!
MasterClass is home to some of the best online writing courses. They’ve recruited famous writers and gotten them on video talking about all their techniques for creating books that become bestsellers.
- James Patterson will teach you his secret techniques for writing fast-paced and gripping fiction.
- R.L. Stine will teach you how to write for younger audiences, such as MG and YA (remember Goosebumps? I do).
- Malcolm Gladwell will teach you how to write nonfiction that people can’t stop talking about.
- Bob Woodward will give you everything you need to become an investigative journalist (yes, this is the guy who toppled a U.S. President).
- Judy Blume teaches you how to hold the reader’s attention. After all, she is one of the bestselling authors of all time, and YA readers everywhere love her.
2. The Triangle Method of Character Creation
By the time you finish this course , you will have developed an addicting character, one that readers want to return to again and again.
In 12 videos with stunning graphics, John Matthew Fox guides you through such topics as:
- The Art of Minor Characters
- 5 Tips for Complex Characters
- The Likability Factor
- Dynamic First Actions
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS COURSE
Scribble: Writing for New Writers is a free 14-week course designed to teach students the value of writing. It is offered by Taylor’s University.
It’s not creative-writing specific, but more generally about how to become a good writer. You’ll learn about grammar, topic sentences, and research papers. It’s a MOOC, which stands for a Massive Open Online Course. This means about 3000 students are enrolled at a time.
- Format: Video
- Level: Beginner
4. The Crafty Writer
Comprised of eight sessions, this free online creative course is designed to help you transform your thoughts into words.
Topics include mastering characters, dialogue, and point of view. Be aware that critique is not offered through your instructor.
- Format: PDFs
- Level: Beginner
5. Open University – Write What You Know
Open University offers the Write What You Know course, which teaches you to draw upon your life experiences, to pay attention to small details, and to use all your senses to create a fictional world.
You will also learn how authors use their personal lives to build a foundation for their novels.
- Format: Text and Audio
- Level: Beginner
If you’ve wanted to publish a book for as long as you can remember, I can help.
I’m John Matthew Fox, founder of Bookfox, and I help writers improve their books so they can find their dream publisher.
Learn more about my novel editing …
6. Creative Writing Now – Endless Story Ideas
Creative Writing Now offers Endless Story Ideas, a free online writing course.
The entire goal of this course is to come up with good ideas.
You will receive 3 emails over 3 days. Each email will help you to generate some ideas to write stories. The bad news is that you have to give your email and they promise that “You’ll also get interesting news and special offers,” which sounds like a marketing gimmick.
- Format: Email
- Level: Beginner
7. Skillshare – The Creative Writer’s Toolkit
Join author Lindsey Summers in this free creative writing course with five videos totaling 28 minutes.
Inside these videos, you’ll be given some creative exercises and tools to defeat writer’s block.
With a Free Membership in Skillshare, you can enroll in any free class, but be aware that some classes require a Premium Membership where you pay $8/month (billed annually at $96) for an annual plan or you pay as you go for $9.95/month.
- Format: Video
- Level: Beginner
8. Open University – Creative Writing
Beginning every October, Open University, a distance learning institution based in the UK, gives writers like you the opportunity to hone your creative writing skills. Through a range of engaging exercises, writers are given strategies that help establish writing voice. This course also offers instruction on revision and will help you gain insight from your writing peers. You will be assigned to a tutor who will keep track of your progress over a 32 week period. During this time you will also have the opportunity to connect with other students in the course. In terms of cost, you pay for each module separately.
Tuition rates include: $1824.83 for 30 credits or $3649.66 for 60 credits.
Keep in mind that the course also requires a specific workbook to guide you through the course, which is a separate fee.
9. Stanford University – Adventures in Writing
This is more of an academic course, but you’ll gain knowledge of how to communicate through your writing. Designed by professionals from Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric, this graphic-style course is comprised of five modules, each containing an interactive exercise that is customized to a specific writing theme. The course runs on a question and answer format (you will not be scored) and will take up to 4-6 hours to complete.
Upon completion of the Adventures in Writing course, you will achieve a clearer understanding of tone, voice, and word choice. You will also master the style of an argumentative piece, while dishing out a polished piece free of grammar and punctuation flubs.
As a fiction editor, I help writers improve every part of their book to reach their publication dreams.
Learn more about novel editing …
10. ed2go – Write Fiction Like a Pro
This class is for those who have an idea for a book, but are having trouble weaving it together. Have no fear, for this instructor-led course will help you to structure your novel like a professional. You’ll understand the vital elements of a novel to help you build a premises for your story. Along the way you’ll learn the significance of viewpoint, dialogue, and pacing and how they work to create your story. Before you know it, you’ll be prepared to write fiction like a pro. This is a 24 hour course with a duration access of 6 weeks.
Start Dates: July 13, Aug 17, Sep 14, Oct 1. Internet access and email are a must.
11. Faber Academy
Fabe r Academy offers numerous creative classes through their London location or online. From courses focusing on a beginner’s guide to fiction writing to writing short stories, your options are simply limitless! Classes range in dates and length, though you might want to check out the upcoming class. The 4-week course Creating Brilliant Characters is being offered from Aug.1 – Aug. 28, and is taught by tutors with backgrounds in creative writing.
Also, if you are ready to send your novel out into the world, you may be interested in a Faber Academy Manuscript Assessment offer. For a fee, Faber Academy will make certain your story is in the best shape to nab an agent.
Price: A range, but some cost £4,000.
12. Got ham Writers – Creative Writing 101
Jump into writing with this 6-week creative writing course. Are you ready to break out of your shell? Here you will be guided surely and safely into the writing life. There’s no pressure to work on a specific project or even settle on which type of creative writing you prefer.
The idea is to explore—see with a writer’s eyes, spark ideas to life, gain confidence, and experiment with both fiction and nonfiction. Creative writing is one of the most fulfilling ways to express yourself, and you’re never too young or too old to give it a try. Students write and receive feedback on writing exercises and assignments. Gotham Writers also sponsor three related classes, including: memoir, nonfiction, and fiction writing.
Price: $324 (including the $25 registration fee)
13. Full Sail University
Wondering where to take y our writing beyond your imagination? Enroll now in an online Creative Writing degree programs! Full Sail University offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing for entertainment. From storyboarding and scriptwriting, this program prepares you to consider everything that goes into a story when writing for an audience. You may also want to consider their Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts Degree online program. Here, you will hone your skill as a writer, while learning the process of creating a brand for yourself with a creative portfolio, so you can stand out. The possibilities are endless!
Writers.com has offered classes since 1995 (!) online, and offers a variety of courses from beginning fiction to novel writing. One unique thing about writers.com is that many online courses don’t offer feedback from the teacher — they are what’s known as “audits,” but for Writers.com, all classes include feedback from the teacher. They also offer one-on-one services like professional editing and career coaching.
Price: Most classes cost $215 – $360.
15. Writer’s Village University
Writer’s Village University offers access to over 200 creative writing courses. Most of these courses are independent study, where you move at your own rate, but a few of them include an instructor and classmates and run for 16 weeks. They also offers courses “inspired” by traditional MFA programs, and give certificates to those who complete these degrees.
16. Creative Writing Now – Irresistible Fiction
Are you eager to blow your audience away with a breakthrough novel? This course is designed to give writers a treasure trove of strategies to keep your readers turning pages. Students will receive one lesson per week by e-mail for eight weeks. Keep in mind that feedback on your writing assignments is not included in the course.
- Format: Email
- Price: $26.95
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/ November 9, 2016 at 11:44 am
Thank you for sharing these sites with everyone. We’re book whisperers who have helped writers create books that have made it to the New York Times bestseller list and we’ve been looking for ways to expand our services and make them more affordable to everyone who has a dream to write a book. We’ll use your list to find a platform for our course.
/ March 21, 2018 at 12:31 pm
How can I get in touch with “Book Whisperers?” ten.l1536297379abolg1536297379[email protected]1536297379tsocj1536297379m1536297379
/ April 9, 2018 at 4:01 am
Where do I find Book Whisperers?
PS.. I will be checking out a couple of these sites! Thank you!
/ February 16, 2017 at 10:22 am
Thanks so much for this information! I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to review this information, and you’ve put it all together so nicely!
/ February 16, 2017 at 11:17 am
You are welcome!
/ March 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm
Hi. I am so happy to have found this compilation of courses. I was wondering if you had one for creative poem writers?
/ March 17, 2017 at 10:51 am
No, I think these concentrate mostly on fiction writing. But some of the organizations might have something for poetry.
/ March 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm
Awesome list of resources and descriptions are so helpful thank you very much
/ April 20, 2017 at 9:35 am
I found you quite by accident while doing an online search. What you provide herein is an astonishing array of helpful tips, tools and resources and I will surely peruse them all as time permits. I am not ready for an editor…yet…but when I feel ready, I will surely contact you.
/ April 20, 2017 at 9:48 am
Thanks! I look forward to it!
/ June 3, 2017 at 3:21 pm
Thank you for compiling the information on writing. I don’t know where to begin, i just know that i need to write. I have always felt this way, but have never sought out the information you provided. Thank you.
/ June 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm
Thank you! This information help me a lot in a very important moment of my life. Thanks!!!
/ June 8, 2017 at 1:26 am
Thanks a lot for compiling this list!
What do you think of the online Creative Writing courses offered from Oxford or Cambridge? I’ve also seen that The Writers Academy (Penguin Random House) has a 14 week online course – any thoughts?
/ June 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm
I’ll have to check those out and maybe add them to the list! Thanks for letting me know about them.
/ June 17, 2017 at 5:23 am
Thank you so much for this list. Been searching over the last few weeks and wasn’t feeling confident in anything that I have found so far.
/ December 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm
I am someone that loves to write, however, when it comes to even considering writing a book, I can”t get started. At a fairly young age, I’m newly handicapped and can no longer enjoy life as I did. With that came depression and anxiety. I’m seeing someone who is really helping me and she told me yesterday that I should take a writing course. I googled writing classes and your page came up. Thank you so much for providing options, so that I don’t have to stress as to which class to take. Sincerely, Cheri.
/ December 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Glad this was helpful! Good luck with the classes!
Faye Ann Witt
/ January 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm
The thing is I’ve been thinking of taking a creative writing course for a while now but not really sure which one I recently received information from Stratford Career Institute a few days ago that I asked for but I don’t know part of me wants to do it but part of me doesn’t want to cause it’s so much money, money I can’t even really afford and if the work is too hard for me and I end up quitting it well $589.00 is not exactly chicken feed for me, it’s a lot of money, it’s really $889.00 but they saving $300.00 if I respond by 2-12-18 I really don’t know what to do! What should I do?
/ January 20, 2018 at 1:48 pm
Writing Workshops Dallas has online classes that are fantastic that are $499.
Or you could take my video course on how to build characters: The Triangle Method of Character Creation.
/ May 1, 2018 at 12:51 am
Hi Faye – check out Holly Lisle’s Writing Classes. Shas a free Flash Fiction writing class where you can learn SO much, and she has bigger classes that can be paid monthly. Hope this helps:) Her website is Holly’s Writing Classes.
/ February 4, 2018 at 10:04 am
Thanks for the information!
/ February 28, 2018 at 9:18 am
Hello. I’d like to teach children (mainly) and young adults to write a story. Can you recommend an online (or any other dedicated resource) course helping me to achieve my aim? I’m not a writer. I’m just a white collar having the dream to teach kids how to put their immagination into words and paper.
I live in Rome (Italy)
Please do not put me in your mailing list.
/ March 1, 2018 at 9:36 am
This list of YA prompts might help (when teaching young adults).
/ March 8, 2018 at 10:47 pm
What exactly is free?
/ March 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm
The first creative writing courses are free, and the ones in the second half of the post cost money.
/ March 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm
Thank You so much for sharing these courses I didn’t know where to start until I found your site. I think it’s wonderful that you set up this site for beginners and all else.
/ April 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm
So helpful thakyou
/ May 24, 2018 at 2:33 am
You have listed so many creative writing sources, thank you, but I am having trouble deciding where to start. I am interested in science fiction, science fiction fantasy, romance, crime, and mystery. I have ideas in my head and I have started writing the opening but then I stop.
Any suggestions? I am on a budget?
/ May 24, 2018 at 2:35 am
Oh and of course I forgot to mention that I write poetry and am interested in writing poetry.
Thanks for your input.
/ July 22, 2018 at 10:15 am
Thank you for the detailed information. I am however, looking for a writer’s course that will strengthen my writing skills such as improving my grammar; building vocabulary and understanding how to proofread my writing (detecting grammatical and vocabulary errors). Can you direct me to the writing program that meets my articulated writing needs?
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Lesson 1: Definition of a Novel
Lesson 2: Work Philosophy
Lesson 3: Novel Writing Methods
Lesson 4: Selecting a Specific Class
Lesson 5: Selecting a Specific Genre
Lesson 6: Selecting a Point of View (POV)
Lesson 7: Manuscript Formatting
Lesson 8: Storyboarding
Lesson 9: Synopsis Formation
Lesson 10: Five Elements Involved in Fiction Writing
Lesson 11: Building Character Development
Lesson 12: Plot/Conflict Development
Lesson 13: More on Plot
Lesson 14: Setting and Theme
Lesson 15: Style and Tone
Lesson 16: Climax Building
Lesson 17: Critical Scenes
Lesson 18: Cause & Effect
Lesson 19: Dialogue
Lesson 20: Illustrative Details/Exposition
Lesson 21: Inclusion and Exclusion
Lesson 22: Writing a Conclusion
Lesson 23: Polishing of Prose
Lesson 24: Checklist of Questions
Lesson 25: Publish or Perish: Getting Ready to Submit
Lesson 26: Writing a Novel: Final Take Aways
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