• Creative Writing

Learn creative writing

What is creative writing.

Writing has many different purposes. Some writing informs the audience, such as technical or academic writing. Other writers, like journalists, report the news. Some writing, however, exists to tell a story or express an idea that falls outside of the rules-based academic or technical world. Creative writing involves any writing that stretches the boundaries of journalism or technical writing, inhabiting a world where the story is precious. Creative writing has many forms. Literature and poetry are well-known, but writing that expands narrative traditions and develops through characters could also be considered creative.

Creative writers often have an excellent command of language and can translate that into a variety of disciplines. Learning the basics of creative writing could give learners writing and communication skills that can be applied to fields ranging from entertainment to business to politics.

Creative Writing | Introduction Image

Browse online Creative Writing courses

Stand out in your field, learn at your own pace, earn a valuable credential, creative writing course curriculum.

Online writing classes can unlock creativity and improve learners’ writing technique. For example, a class that focuses on writing novels can teach individuals how to ideate, outline, and execute on a large project. Learners can study different forms of writing, such as American poetry, long-form journalism, and English literature, which can even be a prerequisite for many BFA and MFA programs. From creating fully realized characters to editing drafts, there are many skills to learn in creative writing classes.

Careers in creative writing

Learning character development, prompt writing, and other skills in this field helps learners think in new ways. Creative nonfiction classes can help writers build communication skills. Classes on the short story can teach professionals how to make their point in a concise manner. A background in creative writing could help prepare individuals for many careers, including as an:

Communications professional

Screenwriter

Explore how online courses in creative writing can advance your career and begin your learning journey today with edX. 

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75 Best Free Creative Writing Classes in 2024

Showing writing courses curated by Reedsy.

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This directory of creative writing courses will help you find the right class for you. Simply filter by genre, price, and location to find the writing class that best fits your needs.

Best of luck! If you run a writing course and would like to get in touch with us about your class, contact us here .

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May Seaport Free Write

What's more satisfying than leaving work behind on a Friday evening? Rounding out the week with a free writing session of course! Maximize that Friday feeling and kick off your writing weekend with us! In 60 jam-packed minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing!

Location: Boston

Categories: Free

Price: Free

Start date: May, 2024

Website: https://grubstreet.org/findaclass/class/may-seaport-free-...

Writing the First Feature Film Treatment Toolkit

UCLA Extension

Learning to write a screenplay is a process, and to do it well can take years of practice. Boil down your story into a short pitch and then expand that into a complete treatment for a feature-length script.

Location: Online

Website: https://www.uclaextension.edu/writing-journalism/screenwr...

Hard Times Writing Workshop

Jefferson County Public Library

This workshop offers a supportive environment for adults to process life experiences through storytelling. It's a free and open weekly writing workshop.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites

Location: Denver

Class size: Unlimited

Start date: Open all year round

Website: https://jeffcolibrary.bibliocommons.com/events/656ea59208...

free creative writing classes online

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Personal Writing in Unprecedented Times

Kansas City Public Library

This course invites participants to delve into their unique perspectives and how these can enrich the world of creative writing. Focusing on creative nonfiction, the course covers three genres: prose poem, personal essay, and memoir or micro-memoir, guiding participants in exploring and expressing their individual viewpoints through these formats.

Location: Kansas City

Start date: May, 2023

Website: https://kclibrary.org/blog/library-launches-online-writin...

Adventures in Creative Writing

Tailored for middle and high school students, this course provides a foundational understanding of writing essentials. Students will explore character development, dialogue, imagery, structure, point of view, and the art of language selection. The course includes reading, analysis, discussion, and practical writing exercises to build these core skills.

Start date: June, 2023

Writing Found Poems

In this poetry workshop, participants will engage in the creative exercise of writing a poem each week, using words from an existing source. This method of adapting pre-existing text adds depth and new insight, creating a dynamic interplay between the original source and the newly crafted poem, enriching both with added layers of meaning.

Start date: July, 2023

Writing Mysteries & Thrillers

Writing Adventures

Step into the world of suspense with our "Mysteries and Thrillers" class. Delve into writing mysterious and thrilling narratives, creating enchanting plots, eerie characters, and ingeniously hidden clues.

Location: Las Vegas

Level: Beginner

Class size: 12

Website: https://www.hisawyer.com/writing-adventures/schedules/act...

Improv + Scene Writing

"Improv + Scene Writing" merges comedy, performance, and writing in a dynamic one-hour class. Enhance your skills in plot crafting, character development, pacing, and comedic timing, all while collaborating and performing with peers.

Electrifying Creative Writing

"Electrifying Creative Writing," our standout course, promises to ignite your creative spark like never before. Explore a diversity of themes and genres, embarking on a year-long adventure that empowers you to find and develop your own writing style and talents.

Class size: 10

Advanced Writing Essentials

"Writing Essentials" redefines your approach to essays. Move beyond traditional structures and dull topics, embracing a journey to discover your unique writing talents and style. Write about what truly matters to you within a nurturing and social writing community.

Writers Room Experience

Writers Room

This experiential studio class, led by instructor Lauren Lowe, focuses on developing an understanding of the self in relation to the world. It emphasizes building community and working towards a more equitable world through writing and sharing stories​​.

Location: Philadelphia

Class size: Limited

Website: https://www.writersroomdrexel.org/courses

Blackout Poetry Workshop

Willoughby City Library

This workshop focuses on creating stories and poetry through the technique of blackout poetry, where a page of text is blacked out except for a few select words, creating a new story from the existing text. It's an interactive and fun approach to creative writing. The workshop is held at The Creator Space, Chatswood Library, and materials are provided for participants. The workshop is free of charge and scheduled for a specific date and time.

Location: Sydney

Website: https://libraries.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Eventbrite/Blacko...

How to choose a free creative writing class

Looking to build your writing skillset, learn more about your genre, or finally finish that book you’ve been working on? You’re in the right place. That’s why we built this directory of the best creative writing courses.

However, creative writing classes aren’t one size fit all. If you’re planning to join a free writing class in particular, you’ll want to make sure that it matches what you’re seeking to learn about creative writing.

So make sure to consider the following questions when you’re researching free writing courses:

  • Who is the instructor? How many years of experience do they have in creative writing?
  • Is there something in particular you’d like to learn about creative writing? Does this course include it?
  • How long is the course, and where is it taught?
  • Are there any hidden fees advertised in this free creative writing class?

More free creative writing resources

Whether you’re a new or established author, there are always evergreen resources out there to how to get a headstart on writing a book. 

Free online materials

  • Creative Writing Prompts (resource)
  • How to Self-Publish a Book (blog post)
  • How to Publish a Novel (blog post)
  • How to Edit a Book (blog post)

Recommended books

  • For writers in the UK:  Writers' & Artists' Yearbook  
  • For writers in the US:  Writer’s Market 2020

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7 free online creative writing courses that you can enrol in right now

By Megha Sharma

creative writing write a novel online courses books authors

As a form of expression , a means to escape the reality, and a medium to communicate a larger ideology, the act of writing can serve different purposes. And no matter what your reason to put pen to paper, or keys to screen, these virtual lessons could help you develop the techniques you will require on your creative journey. Here, find out all the free online courses you can join to begin now.

Creative Writing Specialisation

Covering three major creative writing genres—short story, narrative essay and memoir—the course will help you master the techniques of putting your ideas on paper as clearly as possible. So if you’ve been meaning to work some engrossing features in your already existing plot, or better highlight the setting of your story, or simply articulate in a stronger fashion, let this lesson be on your shortlist. In case you’re just starting out, the course is equally rewarding.

Write Your First Novel

Have you been wanting to pen down your thoughts and weave them into a well-written novel? Go for this virtual course where you will learn an end-to-end approach to producing a work of fiction. Through a stepwise process that will culminate in your individual production of a 50,000-word book, the learning course will provide you all the important pointers right from the top.

Writing for Young Readers: Opening the Treasure Chest

Complete with video lectures, online readings, peer reviews and guest appearances from renowned authors, the course will offer an all-inclusive guide to creative writing for students and young aspirers. Apart from that, you will also explore the cultural significance of notable works , analyse the ways in which art and words interact, and become familiar with standard elements of a narrative, that include dialogue, point of view, theme, plot and so on.  

Write A Feature Length Screenplay for Film or Television

Whether your point of interest is serious dramas, romantic comedies or thrillers , the free virtual course will zoom in on every aspect of screenplay writing so you’re able to pursue the genre you want. Following in a well-structured process, you will have produced a pitch-ready script by the time the four-week programme is over. Along with learning how to create a basic idea and write loglines, you will be studying the Three Act Story Arc, and much more.

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Memoir and Personal Essay: Write About Yourself Specialisation

Here, four published memoirists and essayists let you in on the tricks and tools of writing about yourself. Be prepared for professional tips, prompts, reading challenges and exercises among other interactive activities. Unlike many other courses where you will be producing a large body of work at the completion of the programme, here, you will be constructing a portfolio of work to use as valuable components later.

Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

These lessons support the school of thought that poetry isn’t just a means of expression. Rather, using it for just that, is like “using the internet just for email”. If you too are willing to think beyond that, and take up the art to bring about a change in people’s thought and ideologies, the course is for you. Learn to use the several tools of poetic composition, study the works of contemporary poets and, of course, try your own hand at the skill.

Transmedia Storytelling: Narrative worlds, emerging technologies, and global audiences

In a world that believes in not just up-skilling, but also cross-skilling, this transmedia course serves to be an extremely well-rounded one. The description on the website states, “Transmedia storytelling is the practice of designing , sharing, and participating in a cohesive story experience across multiple traditional and digital delivery platforms - for entertainment, advertising and marketing, or social change.” So learn to develop expansive narratives and optimise your writing for mobile devices, social media communities, virtual and augmented realities and more.

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Online Creative Writing Courses Offered Free by Top Universities and Educational Websites

About this article

Free Creative Writing Courses

Creative writing requires the application of hard work, discipline and much practice. Use these free creative writing courses online to hone your skills and become a better writer.

Open University

Open University offers a plethora of writing courses, on topics such as poetry and fiction. Read through these lessons on the website or download them as a single eBook.

  • Writing What You Know
  • Start Writing Fiction
  • Approaching Prose Fiction
  • What is Poetry
  • Approaching Poetry
  • What is Good Writing

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT offers courses in fiction, editing and publishing, in addition to courses on writing essays. The fiction course has required reading with titles like Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Textbooks for the writing and editing course include Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers by Maasik, Sonia and Jack Solomon and Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide by Lunsford, Andrea and Frank Horowitz. The advanced essay workshop entails readings from literary magazines and the science essay course assigns eight sets of readings on topics like literary techniques and public health.

  • Introduction to Fiction
  • Writing, Editing and Publishing in Cyberspace
  • Advanced Essay Workshop
  • The Science Essay

Purdue University

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers free online writing lessons. Subjects include poetry and proofreading. These quick lessons can be downloaded and printed.

  • Pattern and Variation in Poetry
  • Proofreading Your Writing

Yale University

Yale University offers a free online course in modern poetry. Texts include The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. Vol. 1, Modern Poetry, in addition to selections from the course packet, with readings from The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Selected Poems from Ezra Pound. Students can choose from 25 audio lectures, on poets like Williams Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, and more.

  • Modern Poetry

The Crafty Writer

This free online tutorial offers individuals text lessons in the form of an article on topics like writing short stories, character development, poetry, and more. Lessons also recommend books for purchase.

  • Intro to Creative Writing

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing

This science fiction and fantasy writing course is offered online for free by science fiction writer, Jeffrey A. Carter. A multitude of lessons are available, in a variety of subjects like language and style, creating characters, rewriting, alien creatures, conflict and plot, and much more.

  • Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy

Creative Writing Prompts

This website offers free writing prompts. Use this as a resource to get your writing started.

  • 200 Creative Writing Prompts

WritingClasses.com

This website offers two questionnaires for writers. Answer questions about characters in order to help your development process for writing.

  • Character Questionnaires from Fiction Writing Workshop

Free Online Creative Writing Courses At a Glance

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Popular Schools

Online programs available 1. saint leo university, program options.

  • MA: Creative Writing - Poetry

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Online Programs Available 2. Grand Canyon University

  • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
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Campus and Online Programs 3. Full Sail University

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Home / Book Writing / 16 Best Online Courses for Writers in 2024 [Free & Paid]

16 Best Online Courses for Writers in 2024 [Free & Paid]

Table of contents.

  • Best Overall Online Writing Courses: MasterClass
  • Best Course to Help Finish Your Book: The 100-Day Book Program
  • Best Writing Course for Beginners: Writing With Flair
  • Best Course for Children's Book Writers: Children's Book University
  • Best Course for Amazon Self-Publishers: AMS Ads for Books
  • Best Online Memoir Writing Course: Memoirama
  • Best Course for Indie Publishers: WCU's Publishing MA Program
  • Best Online Course for Bloggers: Freedom Machine
  • Best Course for Sci-Fi Writers: Writers of the Future Online Workshop
  • Best Course For Writing a Novel Step-by-Step: A Fearless Way to Write Novels
  • Best Free Online Writing Courses of 2023

What is the best online course for writers in 2024? In this article, I’ll cover the highest-quality online classes that are free…and not so free. How can I improve my writing skills online? You can improve your writing skills using online classes that push your creative writing, business writing, and academic writing skills to their maximum potential.

A writer needs to keep improving his or her craft. Online writing courses aren't just for amateurs or writing hobbyists; they're for all writers. However, all online writing courses are not created equal. Some courses available are a waste of money, while others are the best money can buy. (Some of the best courses are free .) When looking at the prices, try not to think how steep the cost is. Think of the money you will make if you take the course. Think of how much it would cost to earn an MFA for a specialization in creative writing. These are (often tax-deductible) investments in your career. I've devised a comprehensive list of my favorite online writing courses in 2024, including their cost and what type of course they are. This way, you'll know exactly what you're getting into when you enroll.

  • Best general online writing courses
  • How much each course costs
  • Best genre courses for writing sci-fi, children’s books , memoirs
  • What free , high-quality courses Kindlepreneur offers
  • Best free online classes (in case you're on a tight budget)

Links in this article may give me a small commission if you use them to purchase products. There’s NO extra cost to you, and it helps me continue to write handy articles like this one. This does not detract from the quality of the courses; there's a reason I affiliate myself with them. It's because they're awesome!

If you’re specifically interested in self-publishing courses, check out my article on the Best Self Publishing Courses .

MasterClass is a massive archive of online courses providing training in specific subjects by titans of that particular industry. MasterClass features the biggest names in writing, such as Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and Dan Brown. What course should I take to become a writer? MasterClass is the best use of your money as an online course to become a writer . Learn from the best. MasterClass courses are the best overall online writing courses because bestselling authors teach them. Plus, your monthly subscription fee gives you access to all of the fantastic MasterClass courses. The courses are self-paced, comprehensive, insightful, geared toward an “intermediate and above” student, and undeniably invaluable. How much does MasterClass cost? MasterClass costs $180/year ($15/month, billed annually). You can also pay $90 for a single class. They seldom offer discounts or coupon codes. MasterClasses features big-name authors, such as:

  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • James Patterson
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Margaret Atwood
  • David Sedaris
  • Shonda Rhimes
  • Aaron Sorkin (for screenwriting)

Which writing MasterClass is the best? I recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s writing MasterClass. It is the best course for finding the story you need to convey, instead of just telling the reader what to believe. Bonus: If you sign up for MasterClass, you not only gain access to incredible online writing courses, you can listen to all the MasterClass courses, like Gordon Ramsay talking about cooking, RuPaul talking about self-expression, and Hans Zimmer talking about film scoring. Check out my in-depth MasterClass review for more details.

The 100-Day Book Program by The Write Practice gives you a proven process to actually finish your books. Starting a book isn't all that tough. But finishing one — that's a different story. How many unfinished manuscripts are tucked away in desks and forgotten file folders? Although it’s easy to get distracted and difficult to get motivated, the 100-Day Book Program helps you stay on task and gives you the resources you need to finish that book. How much does the 100-Day Book Program cost?

  • $49/month for 12 months, OR
  • $490 as a one-time payment

It’s worth noting that you get a $100 incentive if you meet all your deadlines and finish your book by the end of the course, which (in 2023) runs from May to September. Utilizing over 100 daily lessons (video, audio, and written lessons), this course covers everything you'll need when putting together your story, including:

  • How to structure your novel or non-fiction book
  • Character development
  • World-building
  • Point of view
  • Tone and voice
  • Editing and revising

It's not just a technical course; it's also highly motivating. The Write Practice teaches you how to keep writing when writing gets hard, how to beat writer's block, and how to manage your time. If you've ever found yourself struggling to finish your book, you should try this course.

Writing With Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer is a perfect course for writers of all skill levels, but it's especially beginner-friendly. This course is taught by an ex-Wall Street Journal editor with one goal in mind: how to write with style, confidence, and impact. Over 240,000 students have enrolled in this course on Udemy by Shani Raja. He teaches you how to master 4 basic principles of writing:

  • Evocativeness

How much does Shani Raja’s Writing With Flair cost? This writing course costs $94.99, but Udemy often offers discounts, as you see in the screenshot above. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. Buying the course gains you lifetime access to the 7 hours of on-demand video training. His basics form what he calls his “secret sauce” of writing. As stated above, this course is for writers of all types and skill levels. Even those learning to write English as a second language can form great writing habits with this course. This isn't the only writing course on Udemy. Check out my in-depth Udemy review for more course info.

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Check out my full free video course that will teach you how to make effective Ads to increase your book sales

Children’s Book University by award-winning, bestselling author Eevi Jones takes a welcoming, comprehensive, and shrewd look at the children’s book self-publishing world. Not only does Jones guide you through the writing process for a children’s story, she even helps with the business side of things. I love reading with my kids, and that's only possible because of dedicated children's book authors like Eevi Jones. Writing a kid's book is more complicated than you would think. Often, books for kids are full of vibrant illustrations, creative fonts, and simple yet gripping storylines. Now imagine getting all of that ready to publish. It's a lot of work. There's a good chance beginners will get lost. That's why Jones’s course is so valuable. She carefully breaks down her process for you from start to finish. It's a critical resource for aspiring children's book writers. As an added bonus, you can go through her online writing classes at your own pace. According to Jones:

“I have interviewed more than 100 aspiring children’s book authors to ensure that this program covers and addresses every single burning question you may have.”

How much does Children’s Book University cost? This course costs $497, as long as you use Kindlepreneur’s link to enroll. This gains you immediate lifetime access. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Typically, Children’s Book University costs $997 — and it's worth every single penny. However, Eevi has given Kindlepreneur an amazing 50% discount on her program! This is a special deal that you can only get here. If you're looking to take your children's book writing to the next level, now's your best chance. Be sure to read Eevi Jones’s guest post on How To Write a Children’s Book , here on Kindlepreneur.

AMS Ads For Books is Kindlepreneur’s free course on how to sell more books with Amazon ads . (AMS stands for Amazon Marketing Services.) This robust course is free , on-demand, and easy to follow. Are you a writer wanting to sell more books on Amazon? Enroll today! Now, I'm not looking to boast here, but I honestly believe that my AMS Ads course is an absolute must if you plan to run ads on Amazon. AMS ads aren't very user-friendly. While they have the potential to send your book sales into the atmosphere, they can also eat up your advertising budget while you get them figured out. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use them. You just need to learn how to set up your ads, manage your campaigns, and make necessary adjustments. How much do Kindlepreneur’s courses for authors cost?

  • Kindlepreneur’s AMS Ads for Books course is free .
  • Kindlepreneur’s MailerLite for Authors Email course is free.
  • Kindlepreneur’s Mastering Keywords and Categories costs $49.99.

There’s no credit card required for either of the free courses and no hidden fees, ever. Check out my in-depth look at Amazon Ads for Authors if you’re still considering whether to take this free course. AMS campaigns aren't just set-it-and-forget-it. In my free course, I show you how using Publisher Rocket can help you construct your book’s best possible ad campaign. If you're looking to create an AMS ad campaign or even self-publish on Amazon, I highly recommend you head over and check out my course.

Memoirama is the brainchild of Marion Roach Smith — an author featured in The New York Times and on NPR and a professional memoir coach. Smith's approach to teaching memoirs has been likened to a precise mathematical formula. She literally teaches you her writing algorithm. Writing a memoir might seem like an easy undertaking at first. You lived through the facts. It can't be that difficult to write them down. Right? Wrong. Navigating these life events can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult to fully explain to a reader. That’s where Marion Roach Smith comes in to ease your mind, guide you through the process, and equip you with the necessary tools to write a memoir. Unlike other click-through courses, Marion teaches her course live. Seats for her class are limited to 30 people. That way, everybody gets to ask questions at the end. How much does Memoirama cost? Memoirama costs $59. It is taught live mostly on Fridays, with a few Tuesdays thrown in for good measure. This is the first of a 4-part series for learning how to write memoirs. It's highly recommended that you take the courses to get the maximum effect. These courses are broken down into easily digestible parts — with the first only 90 minutes long. Whether you're a beginner to memoirs, need a refresher, or looking to have some fun learning, this course is the one for you.

Western Colorado University’s Publishing MA Program is one of the only comprehensive master’s degree programs in the US that offers hands-on experience in the publishing industry, (mostly) from the comfort of your own home. Let me preface this course by stating that it is not entirely held online. You get to spend two weeks in the gorgeous Colorado mountains for summer orientation. After that, you can complete the rest of the course online. Or in the picturesque Rockies, if you decide to move there — your call. Seriously, this is the best course for indie publishers available today. For the first 2 in-residence weeks, you'll go through an intensive training regimen on the basics of publishing. Once that's done, you'll be put to work. Literally. You'll work for a small commercial publishing company, getting paid pro rates to:

  • Develop a concept for an anthology
  • Solicit submissions
  • Read the slush pile and choose what gets published
  • Issue contracts
  • Edit the piece
  • Design and produce the book and book cover
  • Publish the book
  • Market the book

How much is WCU’s tuition? WCU’s tuition for graduate students is $17,371/year. Like most master’s degree programs, WCU’s Publishing MA Program is a 2-year program. Of course, you may qualify for student aid. Also, great news for any of you Sci-Fi guys and gals out there looking to take this course — it's taught by Kevin J Anderson, a legend in the Science Fiction genre with over 56 national and international bestsellers. This includes his work on Dune , the Star Wars canon, the Seven Suns series, and so much more. Anderson’s personal publishing company, WordFire Press, has released over 350 titles from 95 different authors.

Freedom Machine is a great tool for bloggers who want to make a living by guest posting . If I had to pick just one online course for bloggers, it's this one. Created by one of the world's best bloggers, Jon Morrow, this course is the real deal. I make all of my new hires take this course as part of their on-boarding process. This course covers blogging from start to finish — from how to choose the right opening line to pitching a guest post idea. Morrow really drives home some extraordinary fundamentals of blog writing and guest posting. He also provides you with his “little black book” of websites for guest posting, sites that meet his criteria as great places to guest post. At the end of the course, you get a certificate of completion that carries some weight as a blogging qualification. Morrow makes it abundantly clear that if you don’t put the time and effort into his course, you won't go anywhere with it. You need to buckle down and get motivated, as well as do your daily assignments and homework. This is not a course for quitters or those looking to breeze through nonchalantly. How much does Freedom Machine cost?

  • $99.45/month for 12 months, OR
  • $999/one-time payment

Freedom Machine’s content and resources are valued at $10,000. For all the value it provides, the company even offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Free MailerLite Video Course

Learn how to setup and use your MailerLite account effectively to help sell more books.

Writers of the Future Online Workshop is an amazing course if you're a science-fiction writer or looking to become one. Mind you, this is an intermediate course, not necessarily for writers who are just starting out. How much Writers of the Future Online Workshop cost? This course is completely free. The course is 11 lessons long with 13 videos chock full of priceless information. You also gain access to personal essays from the workshop founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This online writing workshop features 3 top-notch teachers:

  • Orson Scott Card
  • David Farland

If you're a sci-fi fan, you've heard of at least one of those names, if not all 3. They're legends in the sci-fi community. This is like the ultimate masterclass for science fiction. One of the coolest parts of this course is its associated contest. The Writers of the Future contest is open to beginning writers only — meaning you can't have published more than 3 short stories or any novels or novellas. By the end of the course, you'll have already written your submission. And since this course is free (along with the contest entry), you may actually win $5,000 just by learning and participating.

A Fearless Way to Write Novels is taught by award-winning, 7-time New York Times bestselling author Alessandra Torre. She uses her experience to teach simple, step-by-step methods to write a great novel. Novel writing is a lot more than simply throwing a story on paper. There’s social media, equipment, software, idea generation, outlining, writing scenes, cliffhangers, copyrights, book blurbs, book descriptions, etc. It can get overwhelming if you don’t have an experienced guide. What I love about Torre’s course is the breadth of topics she covers. From generating story ideas to perfectly typing up a book’s conclusion, this course covers it all with over 75 video lessons. Besides step-by-step lessons, there are also practical writing assignments and bonus content interviews with other bestselling authors. Course lessons include:

  • Finding Your Story
  • Developing Your Idea
  • How to Actually Write
  • Your First Chapter
  • Rewrites and Final Steps

How much does A Fearless Way to Write Novels cost? This course costs $297, or 3 monthly payments of $100. You gain immediate, unlimited, lifetime access, including future updates, at no extra charge. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Sometimes the best things in life are free. When it comes to the best online writing courses, free does not have to mean bad. Here are a few free online writing courses you can consider:

  • Coursera : Founded by Stanford professors, Coursera offers many free creative writing classes, such as creative nonfiction, on top of many other subjects. These free video lectures and online assignments are on-demand at your leisure. Just search “free writing” at the link.
  • The Crafty Writer's Creative Writing Course : This course is for anyone interested in creative writing. Discover your personal writing style and how you can use it to build vivid worlds . This course even touches on the basics of publishing and marketing.
  • Brandon Sanderson’s lectures : Much revered in the writing community , Brandon Sanderson has made some of his lectures free-to-view on YouTube . They cover sci-fi writing, worldbuilding, and even a little bit of publishing.
  • The Non-Sexy Business of Writing Non-Fiction : Offered by Reedsy’s Azul Terronez, this 10-day email course gives you the lowdown on high-quality non-fiction writing. He teaches you how to avoid writer's block, hit word count goals, and stay focused while writing.
  • Start Writing Fiction : This free class teaches you everything you need to know about the basics of fiction writing, including journal keeping, plot development, and dialogue. Over 350,000 people have joined this 8-week course. Once 8 weeks pass, you lose access to the lecture materials. However, you can upgrade for $64 to keep the course material for future reference.
  • Arizona State University's Introduction to English Composition : Great for all skill levels, this class is about building the fundamentals of writing. Although this course is free, you can pay an extra $499 to get a verified certification. But the course alone is just fine for most.
  • Finally, check out my Book Marketing Show Podcast , mainly covering — you guessed it — book marketing . It’s free, fun, and informative (if I do say so myself!).

What’s your favorite online writing course?

Let me know what your favorite online writing courses are. Did I miss any excellent ones? Remember, these courses aren't just for those who don't know how to write. Don't be afraid to go out there and expand your knowledge base, no matter how much experience you have. I believe my breakdown of the best online writing courses will guide you to make the best decision for your individual situation. What's the best online writing course you've ever personally taken? Was it cheating to list all MasterClass courses under one umbrella? Let me know down in the comments below. I keep up with comments long after posts are published.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

Related Reviews

Autocrit review for 2024: read this before purchasing, the best writing apps (for mobile) every writer needs to use in 2024, plottr review [2024]: best plotting software, sell more books on amazon, how to title a book checklist.

Titling your book can be hard…really hard. As you go through choosing your book title, use this checklist as your guide and make sure you have a title that will sell!

6 thoughts on “ 16 Best Online Courses for Writers in 2024 [Free & Paid] ”

What about academic graduate writing courses online?

Haven’t come across one yet. But if you do, let me know.

Thanks Dave … the Marion Roach Smith Webinar was AMAZING. Packed full of information, tips, and advice about getting a memoir off the ground. Thanks for hosting .. and I hope all went well with getting your daughter from college …. crazy times indeed!

You bet…and no kidding!

Hi, I am going through Holly Lisle`s writing classes – in particular her How To Write A Novel class – at the moment and I am finding that she is one of the most thorough teachers in writing craft that I have found on-line. She is a published author with around 30 books and has moved from traditional publishing in the 1980`s/1990`s through to self-publishing today. She has many paid short courses for a small price and also much larger classes. She offers a short (3 week) flash fiction class for free called “How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck” so you can test out whether her teaching style suits you and learn new skills at the same time. As a satisfied student I highly recommend her courses to anyone wanting to learn writing craft. Cheers Fae

Yes, my sister took Holly`s class and said it was tremendous. If you get a chance to take a dialogue class from Kristen Higgans, that is all you need for dialogue.

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6 Free Online Writing Courses You Can Start Today

These free online writing courses will help you quickly build your skills as a writer, and have fun doing it.

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Endless Story Ideas

E-mail course. Students receive one lesson per day for three days.

There are three elements that a story needs: a character, a setting, and a conflict.

In this course, you'll learn about each of these elements, and how they fit together into a story plot.

You'll learn how to come up with ideas for characters, settings, and conflicts, and how to develop those into story ideas!

What you'll learn:

  • the essential elements of a story
  • how to come up with story ideas whenever you need them

Fill out the form below to take this course for free.

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Suspense Techniques

E-mail course. Students receive one lesson per day for two days.

By building suspense into your stories, you can make them more exciting and harder to put down.

You can create suspense just by developing a character readers care about and putting that character in trouble.

Other ways of creating suspense:

  • Slowing down a scene at dramatic moments.
  • Foreshadowing, when you hint at what's coming.
  • Raising questions in the reader's mind and delaying the answers.
  • Cliffhangers, where you end a chapter or a scene at crucial points... and the reader has to wait or turn the page to find out what happens.
  • Dramatic irony, where the reader knows something the character doesn't... so the reader waits for the other shoe to drop.
  • How to build suspense into your stories through character development, narrative point of view, and description.
  • How to control pacing to increase tension.
  • How to strategically delay information to build curiosity.

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Beginnings, Middles, Endings

The beginning of your story is where you capture reader's attention and make them decide to keep reading.

The middle of your story is where you develop your plot. It can be challenging to maintain energy and momentum throughout the middle of a story, but this course will show you how!

The ending of your story needs to seal readers' satisfaction with your story. A great ending will leave readers thinking and maybe talking about your story long after they've finished reading.

  • What to put in the beginning, middle, and end of your story.
  • How to pull readers into your story and keep their interest through the middle.
  • How to write an ending that leaves readers satisfied.

Fill out the form below to take this course for free.

two women embracing, illustrating character development writing course

Intro to Character Development

If readers care about your characters, they'll care about your story.

The key is to create interesting, three-dimensional characters, and then make readers feel like they actually know them.

Readers can get to know your characters the same way we get to know people in real life; based on:

  • what they do.
  • what they say and how they say it.
  • how other people react to them.
  • their habits, clothing, homes, possessions, et cetera.

If you're writing the story from a particular character's point of view, you can also show that character's thoughts.

  • How to develop characters.
  • Tricks for making your characters more interesting.
  • How to use "showing" instead of "telling" to bring your characters to life.

shadows, representing mystery writing course

Intro to Mystery Writing

Most mystery novels are about someone trying to solve a crime; i.e., they're trying to find out who did it.

The person trying to solve the crime might be a professional sleuth such as a police detective, or an amateur sleuth -- for example, a small-town librarian who discovers a dead body in the stacks and decides to find out whodunit!

A mystery can be a kind of puzzle or game where the reader "competes" against the sleuth to try to to figure out the answer before the sleuth does.

But it should also be a well-developed story, with three-dimensional characters and a vivid setting.

You can add interest to a mystery plot with red herrings, twists and turns. And you can suspense with techniques like foreshadowing and cliffhangers, and by raising the stakes for your sleuth.

A great ending to a mystery often manages to surprise the reader at the same time that the reader thinks, "I should have known!"

  • How to develop a story idea for a mystery.
  • How to come up with the character of your sleuth.
  • How to structure a mystery plot.

butterfly representing description writing course

Intro to Description Writing

Good description writing is the secret to vivid stories.

Instead of just reading words on the page, readers feel like they're inside the story's world, seeing and hearing and experiencing everything first-hand.

This course will show you a trick for imagining your story's details more vividly so that you can make them vivid for your reader.

Then it will show you how to choose details and words to bring your scenes to life in the reader's imagination.

  • How to invent and choose details for your story's descriptions.
  • How to write descriptions from your character's point of view.
  • How to choose the right words for your descriptions.

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"I am so enjoying the course. I have always wanted to write and have found, over the years, every excuse under the sun to not write. After reading through your material and the wonderful tips and suggestions I began on my three characters. I actually had to drag myself off to bed, reluctantly. I just couldn't stop." - Laura McCarthy

"There is so much to learn, and had I not done this course my writing would still be at the starting gate." - Josephine Webster

"Both courses I have taken have with Creative Writing Now have been amazing. Each time I have learned something new. The one thing I love, you take everything apart and give examples." - Katlen Skye

"I feel a weight has been lifted off my creative muscles." - Christine Laputka

I recently completed my first novel - 67,400 words. It derives from two separate assignments posted from two of your courses. I had turned both into short stories which I then combined and extended. Currently exploring publication offers - all thanks to Creative Writing Now! - John Butler

"As usual - I already love the course on Irresistible Fiction, rewriting a lot and improving greatly even after the first lesson. Thanks so much for the great courses." - Kitty Safken

"This course helped me to come out of my writer’s block." - Rachel Giordano

"I really have learned many things that have changed the way I think about writing. I've taken many college, even Masters level writing courses, and must tell you that I have learned much more from your courses than I have from any of those classroom courses." - Prue Prentice

“Essentials of Fiction proved that I could indeed write and I wrote every day, much to my boyfriend's dismay (waa sniff).” - Jill Gardner

"This course is amazing – definitely the most beneficial class that I have taken." - Kimberly Daroogar

"I'm enjoying the weekly email course, Essentials of Poetry Writing. Thank you for offering a basic, no nonsense basic poetry course at a reasonable price." - Michele

"This course has given me the courage and the confidence to finally start the book I have wanted to write for years!" - Patricia Birchfield

"Thank you for all the material in this course. I have learnt so much." - Jacqueline Tasik

"I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the lessons and feel they were very helpful in introducing new ideas and perspectives to my writing. I am sure I will go back frequently to review them for reference during many of my future writing projects. Thanks again!" - Jenny Jacks

"Thanks very much for this course. It's been really helpful and well-explained. I look forward to any more courses you run." - Robin Gott

"I'm learning so much. This course is amazing." - Karl Tobar

"Thank you so much!! You're always there... The course is great. You are always looking forward to the next lesson like a good novel!!!" - Nuria Alberti

"Thank you for a course that builds writing skills with direction to excellence. Everything was included, possibly more than college courses can offer." - Janett Lee Wawrzyniak

"This course has provided me with structure, creative thinking, and confidence. My writing has really blossomed and found its footing. " - Heatherly Kates

"It was a nice journey for me to be able to write in answer to your e-mail lessons. Being able to post the answers on WordPress is exciting. I had not done that before taking your writing class. I plan to take another of your e-mail class, either the 8-week descriptive or the new poetry class." - James Sciullo

"I thought my starting to write was just a hobby; it has definitely become more. Thank you Nancy for giving us all that great opportunity." - Caroline DiMatteo

"I am loving the course and the peer interaction on the blog is fantastic!!!" - Bill Lane

"Writing every day and the tips this course gave improved my writing 100%." - Gila Segelov

"The Irresistible Fiction course is going well. I see why it's a bestseller. I can't wait for the next email." - Kayode

"Thank you so much for putting together this writing course. It was of good value to me as it got me started thinking more deeply about my characters. I don't have a lot of time to write, working two jobs, but I am doing the ten-minute exercise with each lesson, and each evening, trying to get in the habit of sitting myself down to write... I would recommend the course to anyone." - Barrie Creamer

"I did enjoy every aspect of the course and did learned quite a lot. Thank you!… It has motivated me to further work on a novel that I left in the revision stage three years ago." - Nair del Vecchio

"This was an amazing experience. If you are having roadblocks with your dream of being a writer, take this class." - Michelle Denier

"Must say I'm SOO glad I opted into this class, it's been eye-opening on many levels." - Courtenay Schurman

"I will add the comment that I love this course, I have taken it several times. The first time I took it was after a time I had stopped writing for several years, and the course really re-ignited my writing spirit!" - Mary Ellen Hancock

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Start writing fiction

Start writing fiction

Course description

Course content, course reviews.

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 setting s. You will also be able to look at the different genre s for fiction.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify strengths and weaknesses as a writer of fiction
  • demonstrate a general awareness of fiction writing
  • discuss fiction using basic vocabulary.

First Published: 09/08/2012

Updated: 14/05/2018

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    Specialization - 5 course series. This Specialization covers elements of three major creative writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. You will master the techniques that good writers use to compose a bracing story, populated with memorable characters in an interesting setting, written in a fresh descriptive style.

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    7 free online creative writing courses that you can enrol in right now Quarantined and trying to be more productive? Tap into your creative mind and enhance your writing skills with these virtual courses By Megha Sharma 26 April 2020 Luis Monteiro

  14. The Online Novel Writing Course from Reedsy Learning

    Write your first draft in 3 months. With Tom's expert guidance and a supportive community around you, this course will help you write the first draft of your novel in just 3 months. It's designed for writers of all levels, backgrounds, and genres. Integration with our writing app, the Reedsy Book Editor. Track your wordcount and set writing ...

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    The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers free online writing lessons. Subjects include poetry and proofreading. These quick lessons can be downloaded and printed. Pattern and Variation in Poetry Proofreading Your Writing Yale University Yale University offers a free online course in modern poetry.

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  20. 6 Free Online Writing Courses You Can Start Today

    6 Free Online Writing Courses You Can Start Today These free online writing courses will help you quickly build your skills as a writer, and have fun doing it. Endless Story Ideas E-mail course. Students receive one lesson per day for three days. There are three elements that a story needs: a character, a setting, and a conflict.

  21. Start writing fiction

    This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into how authors create their characters and setting s. You will also be able to look at the different genre s for fiction. Course learning outcomes After studying this course, you should be able to: identify strengths and weaknesses as a writer of fiction

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