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The Best Creative Writing Courses to Help You Level Up

FEATURED IMAGE New York Book Editors 5 24 2021 The Best Creat

Are you looking for a way to level up your creative writing game?

Of course you are, and that’s a good thing! Because you are a passionate creative, you will never stop learning and evolving. Even after publishing a bookshelf full of books, there’s still more that you can learn about the craft of writing.

Even after publishing a bookshelf full of books, there’s still more that you can learn about the craft of writing.

I’ve been a creative writer for over 30 years and currently write 10,000+ words each week, but I’m constantly learning new things about the creative writing process (and what I learn, I share here with you). So, whether you’re a lifelong writer like me or you’re just getting started, you’ll find value in taking a creative course.

Below, I’ve created a list of online creative writing courses to improve your skills. While I can’t personally vouch for all of these courses, I will say that they all look promising. I’d love to try all of them when I get the chance.

If you’ve taken any of these courses, let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Now, without further ado, here’s a supersized list of creative writing courses:

Online Creative Writing Classes 2021

Best Creative Writing Classes

1. Accelerated Worldbuilding

If your genre depends on world-building, you need a course in how to do it quickly and thoroughly. In this course, taught by Randy Ellefson, you'll learn all about world-building, including the basics of creating life, whether you need to invent religions, draw a map, or come up with languages.


2. Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination

Amy Tan is one of my favorite writers, so adding her to this list is a no-brainer. In 14 video lessons, Tan teaches students how to use real-life events and emotions to write fiction that resonates with the reader.

Included as part of your MasterClass membership (annual membership is $180)

3. Anne Janzer Nonfiction Course

Need help planning and researching your nonfiction book? In this self-paced course by Anne Janzer, you'll learn how to refine your book, own your expertise, and identify the right audience for your message. Also included in this course is a 30-minute consultation about your book.

$80 (Pandemic pricing)

4. COMPLETE Creative Writing - All Genres - THE FULL COURSE!

In this complete creative writing course, you won't just learn fiction. You'll also learn how to write drama, poetry, and creative non-fiction. This 12-hour video-based course will help you discover your unique voice.


5. Creating Complex Character with David Corbett

In this 4-week writing workshop, taught by author David Corbett, you'll learn how to write compelling characters that move your story forward. Corbett teaches the five cornerstones of dramatic characterization and also delves into the character's psychological and sociological nature.


6. Creative Writing Specialization Offered by Wesleyan University

Offered through Wesleyan University via Coursera, this 6-month creative writing specialization covers short story, narrative essay, and memoir. It was created for beginners who want to understand all aspects of creative writing, from plot to character to style.

Included with a Coursera Plus membership at $59 per month or $399 per year

7. Gotham Writers

Gotham Writers is one of the most respected writing schools in New York and online. They offer on-demand workshops in various categories across fiction and nonfiction, including creative writing 101, the art of dialogue, and how to master plotting.

Prices vary based on class and instruction type

8. Joanna Penn's How to Write a Novel

This course by best-selling novelist Joanna Penn is a step-by-step guide to writing a novel. It's a thorough course that teaches you the essential elements of every novel and how to write and edit your manuscript. It also includes bonus interviews with industry experts, such as K.M. Weiland, C.J. Lyons, and Jen Blood.


9. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Margaret Atwood is one of the most respected authors of our time and has written thought-provoking stories that continue to shape and critique our world. In 23 video lessons, Atwood shares must-know tips on structuring a novel and bringing characters to life.

Included as part of your MasterClass membership (annual membership is $180)

10. Mark Dawson's Self Publishing Formula Classes

Mark Dawson, best-selling author of the John Milton series, has self-published over 20 books and has come up with a formula for success. Choose from multiple courses, including:

  • Self Publishing 101

  • Ads for Authors

  • How to Write a Bestseller

Many of these comprehensive courses also come with exclusive bonuses, such as access to a students-only Facebook group.

Prices vary.

11. Ninja Writers' The Plotting Workshop*

In this 4-week course, taught by traditionally published author Shaunta Grimes, you'll learn how to develop and test a story idea, how to map out the hero's journey, and how to create a plot board.


12. The Novelry

In this course, you get access to dedicated, one-to-one tutor sessions with best-selling authors such as Harriet Tyce, Kate Riordan, and Mike Gayle. Your tutor will help you complete a book, whether you sign up for "The Book in a Year Plan" or the Ninety Day Novel®.

Prices start at $170 or £120.

13. ProWritingAid University

When you join ProWritingAid University, your subscription includes access to several courses, including:

  • Outlining Your Novel: Five Methods for Plotters and Pantsers

  • Show, Don't Tell: A 30-Day Challenge to Increase the Emotional Impact of Your Writing

  • Editing Your Manuscript: Go From First Draft to Done

Monthly subscription $49 per month or $499 per year

14. Reedsy Learning: How to Write a Suspense Novel

In this free, 10-day course, taught by award-winning novelist, book editor, and author coach Christina Kaye, you'll learn the art of writing suspense, including:

  • The different suspense subgenres

  • How to create characters for suspense

  • How to nail the twist or surprise reveal


15. R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences

Award-winning novelist R.L. Stine (author of Goosebumps and other faves from your childhood) teaches a masterclass on writing for young audiences. In this class, you'll learn how to come up with ideas, how to turn ideas into immersive plots, and how to overcome the dreaded writer's block.

Included as part of your MasterClass membership (annual membership is $180)

Best Creative Writing Classes

16. Romance Road Map: How to Write a Romance Novel Step by Step On Demand Course

Would you like pointers to help you write an engaging romance novel? In this course, taught by veteran romance novelist Adrienne deWolfe, you'll learn the successful formula to writing a romance that your readers will love. This course will help you identify the proper narrative structure for your romance and develop intriguing characters.


17. Save the Cat! Online Novel Writing Course

This course, taught by traditionally published author Jessica Brody, makes a huge claim: Learn how to write a best-selling novel in 15 steps. While there's no guarantee that your novel will become a bestseller, this course will provide you with all of the components to a successful outcome. Discover the blueprint of good storytelling by analyzing real-life examples from books and movies. This course will help you craft an outline for your novel from scratch.

$12 per month or $125 per year

18. Start Writing Fiction

In this 8-week, self-paced course from The Open University, learn how established fiction writers approach writing. In this course, you'll successfully develop ideas and learn how to create characters.

Starting from $0

19. The Story Course by Sarah Selecky

In this inspiring course by writer, novelist, and creative writing mentor Sarah Selecky, you'll learn how to unlock the story that only you can tell. Even Margaret Atwood recommends it. It's a self-paced curriculum that offers exercises, assignments, and even an anthology to see lessons in action. The course also comes with an audiobook for those wanting to study on the go.


20. The Story Equation Mini-Course

In this mini-course, taught by prolific best-selling author Susan May Warren, you'll learn how to turn one question into the plot of your next novel. Use these tips to build a taut story with a satisfying character arc.


21. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Wired for Story: How to Become a Story Genius

In this popular class by Lisa Cron, you'll learn how to find your story and write a better first draft. This course is meant to boost your confidence as a writer by explaining the steps it takes to write a compelling story.

$99 or join CreativeLive and pay $11 per month

22. Worldbuilding NaNo Prep Course

In this brief but powerful course taught by Rebekah Loper, you'll receive three lessons a week over 9 weeks, taking you through the ABCs of world-building. Learn everything from architecture to zoology.

Free, available in September and October

23. Write a Book! Creative Writing Skills for Beginner Writers

In this best-selling course created by Brian Jackson, you'll spend 17+ hours learning to write a novel or non-fiction book. It goes over the fundamentals of English writing, and helps you tell the story that you're carrying.


24. Write Academy: How to Write Fiction Books

In this beginner-friendly writing course, you'll learn how to write successful novels. The course starts you off with a look at different fiction genres and then moves you from ideation to understanding character, setting, point of view, and story structure. The course also helps you carve out your author voice. By the end of this course, you'll feel empowered to start your career as a writer.

$199 for one-time payment (payment plan is available)

25. Writing Character & Plot with Hannah Kent and Rebecca Starford

Finally, a course about killing your darling characters. In this course, taught by Hannah Kent and Rebecca Starford, you'll learn how to create proper, three-dimensional characters. You'll also discover how to balance these characters with action to keep your story moving forward.


Final Thoughts

Which of the above classes are you most interested in taking? Let us know in the comments below!

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