Discover the Best Creative Writing Classes Online
Have you ever had a great idea for a novel or a screenplay that could make you a million dollars—if only you could write it in the first place? Writing is a mysterious process to those whose literary efforts since college haven’t extended beyond text messages and business emails, but learning to string words together is very much like learning to string steps together when learning to walk. There are, of course, mechanics to writing that novel or screenplay that you have to know, but they can be learned, and there are classes and workshops aplenty that can help you unleash your writerly creativity. You may not necessarily be able to sell that novel or screenplay for a million dollars, but you certainly can learn to write it.
Why You Should Learn Creative Writing Online
Self-expression is a wonderful thing, and the ability to express yourself in written words can be a wonderful and freeing experience. People journal for precisely this reason, but creative writing can have the same effect on its practitioners. You get to make up worlds of your own, fill them with characters of your own design, and tell stories about them. Although, unless you’re really lucky, writing fiction is a hobby more than a career, that’s no reason not to take pen in hand and flex a little literary muscle.
Although Simon & Schuster might not buy your first novel (or Netflix pick up your first screenplay), you can easily publish your work on your own today. Things like Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon Publishing, and just putting your short stories on your own website (or even your Facebook page) make it possible for your work to reach an audience. The entire nature of a vanity press has been entirely transformed since Proust was obliged to cover the substantial publication costs of Swann’s Way. Your work no longer has to sit in your bottom drawer, totally ignored by the world until it’s discovered after your death, and you achieve posthumous fame.
Another reason for taking a creative writing class would be simply to improve your writing. You don’t need to worry about plot or characters when writing for business, but the fact is that the more you write, the better you get at it. The better you write for work, the better you’re going to look. As a bonus, your storytelling skills developed by writing fiction can even come in handy when you’re called upon to create “story”-based presentations.
Virtual Creative Writing Classes
Although there are in-person live creative writing classes to be found in most major cities, the fall of the cards is such that an extensive selection of online creative writing classes is available. Nothing could be simpler than taking an online class: fire up your computer, kick off your shoes, log onto Zoom, and Bob’s your uncle. The advantages in terms of convenience are considerable and make it easy to pick up new skills. Creative writing is a hobby that’s very easily learned across the internet: if you want to learn, say, weaving online, you’re going to have to get a loom and thread before you can get started. All you need for creative writing is the computer you already have with which to go online and maybe a pad of paper and some sharpened pencils. With that very modest equipment, you’ll be all set to begin an adventure into the realms of your own imagination.
Among the virtual options at your very real fingertips is a very good place to begin, How to Write a Novel. Given by Santa Monica College’s Community Education division, the eight-session class teaches aspiring novelists how to create a coherent plot, sympathetic characters, and effective conflict that will keep readers engaged. Classroom reviews of students’ work are done in a highly supportive environment. Participants will emerge from the program with a completed outline and possibly even a first chapter to show for their efforts.
If you’ve already started on a masterpiece of narrative fiction and either got stuck or lost interest, Santa Monica College’s online program also offers a class called Finish that Novel! In seven sessions, the course points students towards completing their unfinished efforts.
Participants get a chance to offer their work for (strictly supportive) critique and have the option of staying for 30 minutes after class for a more extended review of what they’ve written.
If that idea you can’t get out of your head is for a screenplay rather than for a novel, you might consider Write Your Screenplay. Offered by Jacob Krueger Studio in New York, the four-session workshop brings students to an approach to screenwriting very different from that taught in most film schools. The idea is to develop an idea from the inside rather than imposing external rules on your ideas. In-class writing exercises form a large part of the curriculum, which also includes feedback from your fellow aspiring screenwriters and even advice on how to avoid procrastination and find the discipline required to make writing a regular part of your life.
The Writers Studio in New York proposes an Online Level 1 Intro to Fiction class. Based on the school’s underlying concept of Persona Writing, the class encourages students to cast off their inhibitions by assuming the styles of various professional authors and, through this process, refine their own individual voices. Feedback is delivered by the teacher in writing to the students, a detail often overlooked in creative writing classes. There is also an optional additional session each week during which the teacher discusses literary technique via Google Meets.
If your ambitions are on a smaller scale, Writing Pad has Short Story 1: Short Story Writing Workshop on tap for those who wish to learn to write a good, solid piece of short fiction. If not the most commercial of forms, the short story makes an excellent learning experience for any writer. The course combines in-class writing exercises and talks about writerly craft, and by the end of five three-hour sessions, students will have a polished short story in their hands and have received practical advice on how to get it published.
Webcast live from the Flatiron Building in Manhattan is something altogether different, a class in Meditative Writing. This is a technique that weds guided meditation to the creative process and has participants using meditation as a means of developing characters by simulated experience rather than by rational thought, resulting (the method presumes) in more adventurous writing. The class is suitable for writers in all genres at all levels of development.
Private Online Group Creative Writing Classes
Managers are always looking for a great new team-building event that’s actually fun and that achieves its goal of bringing team members together. Why not try a creative writing workshop? Guided writing exercises can dip into participants’ creative sides, help them to realize the pleasure of writing, and maybe come away with the beginnings of a short story.
CourseHorse can arrange for creative writing classes for private groups online for all your team members, wherever they may be located. This type of event is particularly felicitous for organizations whose teams are scattered to the remote four winds and has the further advantage of requiring no special equipment. Use the contact form on the CourseHorse website to obtain further particulars or to plan your event.
CourseHorse has a whole world of further online group classes that can help teams bond and give them a few hours’ fun in the process. If you’re not sure about the creative writing class, perhaps you’d be interested in putting your team’s literary capabilities to use in a different way: the Virtual Team-Building Improv Workshop has participants interact in creative (and, yes, funny) ways while painlessly trying on new listening and collaboration strategies.
Booking your next group event through CourseHorse has many advantages, including your not needing a finalized headcount at the time of booking. There is also an extremely forgiving cancellation policy, and you’ll have the event fulfillment team at your disposal to answer questions and take care of details until the minute the event begins. You’re also not locked into using Zoom for virtual events: multiple platforms are supported, giving you the choice of how the event is delivered to your team.
Online vs. In-Person Creative Writing Classes
Choosing between a live in-person and a live online class can be the source of some perplexity. On one level, nothing can take the place of a live in-person class. Unless you were in school during the COVID Years, live in-person is the way you learned growing up, and it’s the way your brain was taught to learn. Live classrooms are familiar settings, and you’re likely to absorb more there than in any other environment. Having to sit up and pay attention means you’ll get the most out of the class, and nothing can replace direct face-to-face contact with a human teacher.
The live online course, on the other hand, offers a degree of convenience that simply is not to be found in an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar classroom. There’s no commute to school to worry about, and you can follow the online class from the most comfortable and familiar of surroundings. Moreover, people who have had their fill of traditional learning environments and who dread the idea of sitting in a conventional classroom ever again will find that online classes are tailor-made for them. The final choice depends ultimately on your personal learning style, as well as, of course, the availability of live in-person classes in your vicinity. If you like being in groups, by all means, go for the in-person class; if you prefer your own company, perhaps online learning is right for you.
Can I Learn Creative Writing for Free Online?
YouTube is awash with videos with tips for creative writers. Some of these video tutorials contain useful information, exercises, and tips and tricks that can help you as a writer. Can these, in the aggregate, make a fluent writer out of you? Probably not. While they can help put you on the right path, the impossibility of feedback from a canned tutorial is highly problematic when it comes to learning something like creative writing, especially for beginners who have yet to develop the means to evaluate their own work. Thus, if you’re serious about writing, you’ll need to do more than dabble in YouTube videos and seek out a class in which you and your work can receive the kinds of human attention they both require and deserve.