The word ‘creative’ is flexible and can mean several different things. There are so many ways to express your creativity, whether it's through playing guitar, photography, fashion design, or simply sitting down and writing, the options are endless. The beauty of creative writing is that there are no restrictions and you can explore the depths of your mind and emotions with a good creative writing course. Creative writing also does not simply mean that you need to work on fiction. A creative piece of writing can be non-fiction, it can be a memoir and an autobiography. Creative writing can be poetry or prose. There are truly no restrictions!
However, despite the apparent flexibility of creative writing, a good piece of writing does require immense discipline. You need to have a regime for writing and sometimes a little guidance is required to get good writing out of your system. The following are some of the top online creative writing courses that you can consider.
Neil Gaiman Masterclass
There is hardly a lover of good fiction out there who has not heard of Neil Gaiman. The English author is a popular name in the literary world and is known for his short stories, graphic novels, comic books and more. A writing masterclass with an author such as Gaiman is a dream come true for many. But with this short course on MasterClass, this dream can come true for a relatively small sum of money. There are 19 courses in total and each course has been specifically designed to impart crucial tricks of the trade that Gaiman himself has acquired over the years. Some of the courses are titled ‘Truth in Fiction’, ‘Sources of Inspiration’, ‘Descriptions’ and more. Each lesson is 12 minutes long.
Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot — Wesleyan University
The ‘Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot’ is offered on Coursera by Wesleyan University. This is an important course that takes you through a crucial aspect of fiction writing — devising the plot. When you are writing fiction, whether it is a short story, a novella or a whole series, a crisp plot is the foundation on which your writing will unfold. In this course, you will be able to learn how a plot can be structured by creating frameworks on which your short story will be mounted. You will be acquainted with plot twists, narrative arcs, creating suspense and other such plot devices. Coursera is offering this course for free to members.
Mystery and Manners: The Art of the Short Story
The ‘Mystery and Manners: The Art of the Short Story’ is a course offered by Stanford (Continuing Studies) which is a primer on how to draft and edit a good short story. Through the course, you will be going through some notable works of authors like James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Akhil Sharma and more. Their works will become a great starting point for how a short story can be drafted. You will be able to workshop your own writing with the tutor and by the end of the course, you should be able to workshop and produce two original works of fiction, compile writings that inspire you and work on a variety of different writing assignments.
Two Weeks to Your Best Children's Book
‘Two Weeks to Your Best Children’s Book’ is a course offered on Bookfox. The course includes 30 video lessons where you will be taken through the process of writing, editing and publishing a children’s book. The course will take you through each step of this process and make it far less daunting. There will also be quizzes as you progress so you can test how much of the course material you have retained and what areas you need to focus on more. This is a brief two-week long course and if required, you can enlist the support of the tutor, once the course is done, to edit your book. This course is a complete package that will see you from the beginning through to the end of your children’s book. Writing a children’s book is not an easy exercise, this book makes the task easier to manage.
Writing the Novella
A novella is a sweet spot between a short story and a novel. It is the perfect length of a piece for most readers and is a highly consumable piece of writing. However, it is not an easy effort to put down on paper. With this course, offered by Writers.com, you will be guided through the process of writing a novella and doing a good job of it. The course will also include a study of a few good examples of novellas — these include Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, The Awakening by Kate Chopin and Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. At the beginning of the course, you will need to present the instructors with a proposal of what you had in mind. The rest of the class will be spent workshopping and drafting your novella, apart from looking at other case stories.
Embodied Writing: Improve Your Writing with Full-Body Creativity
Creative writing can be quite a cathartic process for the mind. But your writing will have power and soul in it only if you are able to unleash your innermost emotion and instinct. A piece of writing that is ‘embodied’ will feel more authentic and powerful. With this course, you will be able to put your body into the writing and sync your physicality with your thoughts and emotions. This is a unique course that allows you to explore your body as you explore your writing. You will be using your whole body to think and give your writing more shape. The course will guide you through physical exercises that will help boost your productivity and writing. This is also an interactive course where you will be able to share notes with your fellow classmates too.
‘Irresistible Fiction’ is a straightforward and simple writing course that you can take over email. The course will take you through the stages of writing fiction that readers will not be able to put down. This is a brief eight-week course where you will be able to churn out pages that are going to be gripping and ‘irresistible’. The course is conducted over email so you can make your own schedule and draw from the notes that the instructor provides you with. At the moment there are no provisions of individual feedback on your writing but the general framework the course provides leaves you wanting little else.
The Ninety Day Novel
‘The Ninety Day Novel’ is an intensive course offered by Novelty. The course, as the name suggests, should be able to get you through the writing process of your novel within three months. There are going to be six live working sessions where you can workshop your writing with the tutor. Apart from these sessions, there are going to be more than 100 lessons where you will be able to progress with your novel daily. By signing up for this course, you will also get a year-long membership in a writing community that is dispersed around the world. A culture of writing is best encouraged by fellow writers!
COMPLETE Creative Writing
The ‘COMPLETE Creative Writing’ course offered on Udemy is a full package that covers everything you need to get your creative writing juices flowing. This course includes a large practical aspect that will make you feel excited about writing that next paragraph or get to the next plot twist in your story. The course includes lessons on fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and drama. You will be able to gain insights on how to get more publishing opportunities and build a strong writing portfolio. There are 161 lectures in total and as a member of Udemy, you will get full lifetime access to the course material and lessons.
Create Brilliant Characters
In any story, the richness of the characters dictates the strength of the story. The ‘Create Brilliant Characters’ course is useful in very crucial ways. It will teach you how to flesh your characters out and make them more engaging. The course will have practical exercises and writing prompts. There will also be an interactive forum where you can post questions for your tutor. There is also a comprehensive list of resources and additional reading that you can refer to even after the course is done.
You can see that the list is a compilation of a wide variety of courses. Creative writing is a large umbrella and you will be able to tap into different kinds of skill sets under this umbrella. There are courses that focus on building a strong plot, others that flesh out characters, and still others that focus on creative non-fiction. There is a whole array of courses that you can pick from so get started and work on that piece of writing already!