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Here listed are short online writing courses free and paid. Online classes and short courses for creative writing, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. From short taster courses to an intensive advanced-level online course, turn your passion for writing into a paid hobby or boost your career prospects.
Short writing courses online that are self-paced or instructor-led can help you to improve your creative writing skills, write better stories, kick-start your creativity, overcome writer’s block, or find your writing niche in creative writing, nonfiction writing, or creative nonfiction.
All the online writing classes listed are from established e-learning providers, expert tutors and teachers who have experience teaching writing, or a published author.
Some of the following nonfiction and creative writing short courses offer an interactive writing community, writing workshops, Zoom classes, the advantage of learning in a small group, a qualification or certification upon completion, instant access, or an entry point for beginner writers.
So let's check out these 10+ Short Courses for Creative Writing and Nonfiction.
10+ Online Short Courses for Creative Writing and Nonfiction
1. Short Creative Writing Courses Online – MasterClass
Whether you write fiction, you’re a non-fiction author, a writer of children's books, you would like to write short stories, or you have written a poetry collection, check out these short online creative writing courses by published authors from MasterClass.
These creative writing short courses are instant access, self-paced online video lessons that you can watch on any device at any time.
Listening to award-winning, bestselling authors give their tips and advice for success as well as the pitfalls to avoid could help to take your writing to the next level, provide the tools to finish the first draft of your manuscript, or further your career as a successful author.
Whatever your level or experience of writing currently, if you’re looking for the ultimate writing course and need help with how to turn an idea into a cohesive book, how to carry out research, advice on how to build a story, guidance on how to create believable characters, the key factors to maintain suspense, as well as the editing and publishing processes, an online creative writing course taught by successful and established authors could benefit you.
MasterClass is a streaming platform providing online writing classes by well-known leading industry experts. As well as writing courses, their comprehensive catalog of courses covers arts and entertainment, business, food, sports and gaming, and more.
Courses are accessed via a monthly subscription, which is charged annually, and come with a 30-day guarantee. The classes on MasterClass vary between 2-5 hours in length, and each class comprises several lessons that run from 5-25 minutes on average. So let’s check out these short online writing courses available on MasterClass.
Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing: From the author of numerous bestsellers, including The Handmaid's Tale, The Year of the Flood, and Alias Grace, in this course you will "explore Margaret's creative process for developing ideas into novels with strong structures and nuanced characters".
Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers: One of the bestselling authors of all time, whose books include Angels and Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Deception Point, teaches a "step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives".
James Patterson Teaches Writing: The author of numerous bestsellers, including Along Came a Spider, 1st to Die, and Jack & Jill, gives advice on "getting your readers invested and making unexpected turns in your work".
Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling: Neil Gaiman is the bestselling and award-winning author of Good Omens, Stardust, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He will teach you "how to find your unique voice, develop original ideas, and breathe life into your characters".
Judy Blume Teaches Writing: Judy is the bestselling and award-winning author for children and adults. Some of her best-known works include Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Tiger Eyes; and In the Unlikely Event. On this online writing course, Judy teaches you "how to invent vivid characters, write realistic dialogue, and turn your experiences into stories people will treasure".
Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing: An online writing course from Malcolm Gladwell, the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. From beginner to advanced writers, on this online writing course you will learn how to "craft stories that captivate by learning how Malcolm researches topics, crafts characters, and distills big ideas into simple, powerful narratives".
David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Glengarry Glen Ross, you will learn "the rules of drama, the nuances of dialogue, and the skills to develop your own voice and create your masterpiece".
Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry: An online poetry writing course from Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate, whose published works include Whale Day and Other Poems, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems. From one of America's most esteemed contemporary poets, "learn his approach to exploring subjects, incorporating humor, and finding your voice".
Roxane Gay Teaches Writing for Social Change: From the New York Times columnist, professor, and bestselling author of Bad Feminist, An Untamed State, and Difficult Women, Roxane Gay teaches you “how to own your identity, hone your voice, write about trauma with care and courage, and navigate the publishing industry”.
David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing: An online course on mystery and thriller writing from David Baldacci, the New York Times bestselling author of Absolute Power, Split Second, and True Blue. Discover his techniques for "crafting authentic characters, developing research-based plots, and navigating the world of publishing".
Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story: Joyce Carol Oates is The New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls. On this course you will "find ideas from your own experiences and perceptions, experiment with structure, and improve your craft, one sentence at a time".
David Sedaris Teaches Storytelling and Humor: From David Sedaris, the bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Holidays on Ice, and Calypso, you will "learn how to craft attention-grabbing openings, satisfying endings, and meaning from the mundane" as well as using humor to engage readers, and how to apply the hard and sometimes dark from the everyday in your writing.
Walter Mosley Teaches Fiction and Storytelling: From the bestselling author of over 60 books, including The Awkward Black Man, Trouble Is What I Do, and White Butterfly, you will "learn how to choose the right words, structure, genre, and characters to create the novel that’s in you".
Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing: Salman Rushdie is the Booker Prize-winning author of Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and The Golden House. On this course you will "learn how to draw from your own experiences to build vivid worlds, authentic characters, and complex plots".
2. Creative Writing Short Course– Goldsmiths, University of London
Goldsmiths are currently offering many of their courses online, and this is a 5-week short creative writing course that has set start dates, where students will “focus on prose writing, exploring short stories from published writers, and study writing techniques such as how to craft characters, create a sincere voice, write surprising plots and original points of view”.
The learning outcomes of this Goldsmiths creative writing short course include:
View course: Introduction to Creative Writing – Goldsmiths, University of London
As well as this Introduction to Creative Writing Course, you can view all Goldsmiths current short courses in creative writing here.
3. Freelance Writing (fiction and nonfiction) Success Secrets – Lead Academy
From Lead Academy is a self-paced online short writing course in freelance writing which states “Whether you are self-taught and you want to fill in the gaps for better efficiency and productivity, this Freelance Writing – Success Secrets course will set you up with a solid foundation to become a confident freelance writer and develop more advanced skills”.
The course curriculum for this short writing course for both nonfiction and fiction includes:
As you can see from this list, the online classes cover many styles of writing, topics, and genres, so if you’d like to find your writing niche and which area/s you would like to learn about to start or further a writing career, this accredited short writing course could help you.
There is lifetime access to the course, it can be started at any time, and tutor access is provided.
Designed by industry professionals, this online writing course aims to help anyone wanting to give their job prospects a boost, add new skills to their CV, have a career in their chosen writing sector, and looking to gain an in-depth knowledge of freelance writing.
View course: Freelance Writing - Success Secrets – Lead Academy
4. Start Writing Fiction (FREE) – The Open University
A free online creative writing course from OpenLearn via The Open University states "Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start Writing Fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and settings. You will also be able to look at the different genres for fiction".
The topics covered in this free writing course include creating characters; how character plus conflict creates the plot; how the setting of your story is just as important as creating convincing characters; and a discussion on genres and subgenres in fiction. This course is ideal for beginner writers and/or authors wanting to improve their writing of fiction.
12 hours of study is required for this free online writing course, which is introductory level, instant access, and self-paced.
View course: Start Writing Fiction
More FREE online writing courses from OpenLearn via The Open University:
5. Fiction Skills: Setting – Faber Academy
If you’re looking for a short online creative writing course, this interactive and practical masterclass course is a great option where you can learn the essential elements of writing fiction, how to sharpen your writing skills, and receive advice on improving your writing when you’re not able to commit to a longer writing course.
“Well-described settings bring invaluable atmosphere to any story – and when you create an effective sense of place, it can feel as though another character has been added to the narrative".
There is a set start date for this four-week online short writing course, which includes guided reading extracts, podcast instructions from your tutor, forum discussions, how to hone your descriptive writing and editing skills, and much more. The course tutor is Tom Bromly, who is an author, editor and ghostwriter.
View course: Fiction Skills: Setting – Faber Academy
Find more creative writing short courses online from Faber Academy:
6. Writing Fiction (Online) – University of Oxford
Offered by the University of Oxford in the UK, this short online fiction writing course “has been designed for those who know that they want to write novels or short stories, and who may already have made some progress in writing”.
This 10-week online short writing course has set start dates, and requires approximately 10 hours per week study time.
The learning outcomes of the online classes include:
If you would like to undertake a course that helps you to realise that anyone can write (with hard work), that takes you from blank page to revision and polishing (and what comes after), and which gives students the opportunity to put all this learning together to create a short piece of fiction, this writing course could be a great option for you.
View course: Writing Fiction (Online) – University of Oxford
Also from the University of Oxford is Getting Started in Creative Writing (Online) “This course gives avid readers the skills necessary to turn a love of the written word into a practical experience. It introduces the key characteristics of creative writing, and students are supported with stage-by-stage guidance as they assimilate and put into practice a range of critical and creative methods”.
7. Creative Writing: CPD Accredited – Reed.co.uk
You can enroll at any time on this self-paced short writing course which has lifetime access and requires 10 hours study time. This is a 3-course bundle from Reed.co.uk: Fiction, Short Story and Children's Book Writing.
"This Creative Writing Bundle: Fiction, Short Story, Children's Book is one of our best-selling bundles developed by industry experts, and it has already helped tons of students like you. It is suitable for anyone who wants to improve his/her knowledge and skills in the relevant sectors".
The fiction course includes how to:
After completing the creative writing courses in this writing bundle, students are awarded a certificate of completion to prove expertise in this field.
View course: Creative Writing: CPD Accredited – Reed.co.uk
Also from Reed.co.uk:
8. An Approach to Creative Writing Short Course – City, University of London
A 10-week online writing course which is “An inspiring, practical course designed to help you find inspiration and make your writing more engaging and lively”.
This live online class takes place on a Tuesday evening (UK time) for 10 weeks, where you will discover the essential aspects of fiction writing, specifically short stories and novels. The subjects covered include point of view, story structure, characterization, effective dialogue, narrative voice, writing style, and how to develop, sustain and finish a story.
This course is ideal preparation for the Short Story Writing and Novel Writing and Longer Works courses.
If you’re looking to find inspiration for your writing, how to develop, structure and end your story, guidance on the creation of characters and engaging dialogue, how to make sure your writing is vivid and lucid, and advice on assessing, revising and editing your work, this short writing course could be a great option for you.
The tutor for this course is Cherry Potts, the author of the epic fantasy novel The Dowry Blade and two collections of short stories, Mosaic of Air and Tales Told Before Cockcrow. Cherry owns Arachne Press, and is the editor of many short story anthologies including Award Winning Weird Lies, and a poetry anthology.
View course: An Approach to Creative Writing Short Course – City, University of London
9. Creative Writing Course – Creative Writing Ink
An intermediate creative writing course from Creative Writing Ink is provided by tutor Kerry Hadley-Pryce, who is a University of Wolverhampton visiting lecturer and the editor of The Blackcountryman magazine.
This is a UK writing course run at specific times of the year, but students can enroll from around the world, and there are a maximum of places available.
This 6-week course aims to allow participants to explore particular writing methods to help the beginner writer become a more experienced writer. The modules guide the writer toward creating a strong body of writing from prompts and exercises.
On this course, you will build on character-building techniques, how to apply timing and pacing, the ways that juxtapositioning can bring a story to life, the importance of editing, how to engage emotionally with readers, how a writer's use of language can create symbolism and suspense, and more.
View course: Online Intermediate Creative Writing Course.
You can also check out Creative Ink’s Six-Week Beginner’s Creative Writing Course (places fill up quickly on beginner courses).
10. Creative Writing for Beginners – Curtis Brown Creative
“The four-week online writing course that helps you explore your Writer's World and find your voice. With our guidance you'll gain confidence and put pen to paper”.
If you would like help to get prepared for an upcoming writing project, inspiration to get your creativity flowing, or if you would like to learn the essential writing basics to gain a solid foundation for your creative writing journey, this short online writing course could be the one for you.
Your course tutor is Anna Davis, founder and director of Curtis Brown Creative, author of 5 highly praised novels that have been published in 20 languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent.
By the end of the course, the aim is for students to have created the necessary material to craft a short story or be on the way to creating a longer form project, such as a novel, memoir or piece of narrative non-fiction.
View course: Creative Writing for Beginners – Curtis Brown Creative
Also from Curtis Brown Creative, you can find the courses Starting to Write Your Novel and Write to the End of Your Novel.
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