5 Online Creative Writing Courses to Sharpen Your Prose

5 Online Creative Writing Courses to Sharpen Your Prose

Google the phrase “online creative writing courses” and you’ll find pages and pages of free and paid-for writing courses at your fingertips.

I’ve come up with five online creative writing courses that I would consider doing now or in the future. Think of this as my bookmarked list of online creative writing courses for my own future reference.

One of my favourite quotes about writing is by Kurt Vonnegut: “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaningless of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

So here they are, five online creative writing courses that I think look really cool:


Imagnary House Online Creative Writing Courses

Imagnary House is a boutique publisher of children’s books and young adult literature. Their books are exquisite in design and execution, with clean lines and engaging story arcs. They also offer traditional publishing and self-publishing services. Author BD Harris will facilitate two great online creative writing courses.

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Imagnary House: On Writing | The Children’s Picture Book


This 12-week online creative writing course will teach you everything you need to know about publishing a children’s picture book. Check out the website for prices and promotions.

Week 1: The History of the Children’s Picture Book
Week 2: The Complexity of Writing for Children
Week 3: Character Arc Development
Week 4: Story Arc Development
Week 5-9: Children’s Picture Book Assignment
Week 10-11: Editing the Manuscript
Week 12: Publishing Children’s Books

More information: Imagnary House


Imagnary House: On Writing | The Short Story

Harris also teaches a course on the art of short story writing. This eight-week course explores the ins and outs of writing a successful short story. Imagnary House will consider graduates from both courses for inclusion in a biennial anthology.

Week 1: The History of the Short Story
Week 2: Character Arc Development
Week 3: Story Arc Development
Week 4-5: Flash Fiction Assignment
Week 6-8: Short Story Assignment

More information: Imagnary House


Writers Write Online


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Writers Write is a valuable source of information for aspiring writers. They offer courses in creative writing, blogging, and business writing. Mia Botha, Anthony Ehlers and Amanda Patterson facilitate the online creative writing courses.

Writers Write have regular creative writing courses (see the April course timetable here), but they also offer an online creative writing course on novel writing. The course has 60 modules and aspiring writers can take their time working through the material.

What you will learn on the course:

Writers Write Online will teach you to take an idea and nurture it into a plot. We help you create characters readers remember. We encourage you to find the voices of your characters and to let them tell their stories.
You will learn how to show and not tell, how to pace your story and how to write query letters and synopses.

More information: Writers Write


Penguin Random House Creative Writing Online Short Course


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The next PRH creative writing short course starts 4 May, 2017. It’s a 10-week online course offered by Penguin Random House in partnership with Get Smarter. During the course, participants will create an extended piece of fiction, for example a novel or a short story.

Oh, and did I mention you’ll be learning tricks of the trade from none other than the fabulous Mike Nicol?

Dreaming of writing a novel or a short story? Looking to add more flair to your blog writing, copywriting or creative prose?

Creative writing is a skill that takes practice and careful development, and many authors struggle to get published owing to their lack of technical story development understanding.

This online short course will allow you to grow your creative writing competency supported by a community of fellow aspiring creative writers and guided by accomplished author, Mike Nicol.

More information: Get Smarter


Open Culture Journalism/Writing Courses

Open Culture is a fantastic resource for just about everybody. They offer free writing tutorials by people who are masters in their fields. I’m thinking of doing the Creative Writing: A Master Class by Alison Ersheid which is especially relevant to my future goals. Most of all, it’s free.

British News Media Systems – Free iTunes Video – Joe Foote, University of Oklahoma
Broadcast Journalism – Free iTunes Audio – Lawrie Zion, La Trobe University
Creative Writing: A Master Class – Free iTunes Video – Alison Ersheid
Journalistic Ethics – Free Online Video – Jim Newton, UCLA
Magazine Writing – Free iTunes Video – Nicole Kraft, Ohio State
Press and Society – Free iTunes Audio – Christopher Scanlon, La Trobe University
Start Writing Essays – Free iTunes iOS Course – Open University

More information: Open Culture


Start Writing Fiction

This free eight-week course by The Open University focuses on creative characters that come alive on the page. You must be able to commit at least three hours a day. As a result of your efforts, you will receive a certificate. In addition, amazing writers such as Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker, Alex Garland, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tim Pears, Michèle Roberts and Monique Roffey will help you along your journey.

You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot. You will also have the opportunity to review and comment on the work of fellow writers, and receive peer feedback on your own story, learning the importance of reading as a writer and how to receive and respond to feedback.

More information: Start Writing Fiction

Now you are almost on your way! Here is some writerly advice to get you started. Have a look at Stephen King’s 20 rules for writers, as well as 21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors on Thought Catalog.

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