An online creative writing class is a course you take remotely to learn how to become a better storyteller, produce completed manuscripts, and publish your work. Since the class takes place over the internet, you can study anywhere.
The best online creative writing classes offer a rich curriculum, provide a good value for the cost, and are taught by experienced professionals. We looked at a number courses before naming our top selections. Read on to learn which class may be best to help you achieve your creative writing goals.
Best Online Creative Writing Classes of 2021
- Best Overall: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- Best for Beginners: Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
- Best Free Class: Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
- Best Live Class: Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
- Best for Writing Critique: UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
- Best for Creative Nonfiction: Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
Best Overall : Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
Why We Chose It: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling took our top spot because the course has a robust curriculum and is taught by an award-winning author.
Short, engaging videos
Access content from your computer or smartphone
Easy-to-digest video lectures
No instructor feedback
Masterclass subscription required
We like this class because you learn many creative writing techniques from world-renowned fiction writer Neil Gaiman. The course is a series of 19 short video lectures which include:
- Truth in Fiction
- Sources of Inspiration
- Finding Your Voice
- Developing the Story
- Story Case Study
- Short Fiction
- Short Fiction Case Study
- Dialogue and Character
- Character Case Study
- Dealing with Writer's Block
- Rules for Writers
- The Writer's Responsibilities
As you watch the nearly five hours of content, you'll learn the fundamentals of writing stories, including how to make your story feel real; find unique angles to explore; develop your writing voice; create compelling plots, characters, settings, and dialogue; and edit and improve your work. You’ll also write short stories, understand different writing genres, and learn tips for getting unstuck when you have writer’s block.
This course of study is self-paced, so you won’t receive any feedback on your writing. You can access the videos on your smartphone or computer.
There are no requirements to enroll. However, you can only access the class if you have a Masterclass subscription, which currently costs $180 for the year. Once inside Masterclass, you can take any course offered. If you’re dissatisfied with the learning platform, you can email customer service within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.
Best for Beginners : Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
Why We Chose It: Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go gives new writers the foundational information they need to complete a piece of creative work.
Instructor and peer feedback
Course access ends after eight weeks
We like Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go because it’s designed to quickly turn a true beginner into a confident writer with a publication-worthy piece. When you finish the eight-week, 12-lesson course, you’ll know how to:
- Distinguish between and speak to the different writing genres and subgenres
- Use various literary techniques and devices like similes, metaphors, imagery, etc.
- Develop plots, characters, and other story elements
- Navigate the entire writing process to include pre-writing, drafting, editing, and finalizing a piece
- Peer-edit the creative work of others
- Combat writer’s block
- Go through the publishing process
The class includes 24 hours of instructional content. For the first six weeks, you’ll get access to two new self-paced lessons per week. The remaining two weeks of the course are there for you to catch up on any lessons you may have missed and take your final exam. Lectures include reading material and videos.
There’s also an online discussion board where you can post questions and talk about the lectures. Discussions only remain open for two weeks after a lesson is released. So, while you can study when it fits your schedule, you’ll want to keep up with the work.
The course is facilitated by Carmen Marquez, a journalist, writer, and teacher. They’ll reply to any inquiries you post on the discussion board within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll also have the opportunity to get feedback on your writing from the instructor and other students.
The class costs $149. A new round of the course begins every month, so you can get started when it’s convenient for you.
Best Free Class : Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
Why We Chose It: Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University is our choice for the best free class since you can access content from the school at no cost.
Access to free content from a well-regarded school
No feedback or interaction unless you subscribe to Coursera
We like the Creative Writing Specialization because you can learn the fundamentals of creative writing for free. The course is hosted by Coursera, an online learning platform, and Coursera gives you the option to “audit” the class at no charge, allowing you to view all of the included videos and reading materials without subscribing to the platform.
The specialization includes four classes you can audit:
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Character
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description
- Creative Writing: The Craft of Style
Each class features a few hours of content, and you can take them in any order and on your own time.
As you go through the lessons, you’ll learn how to:
- Develop a story with a beginning, middle, and end
- Bring the players in your tale to life
- Create a detailed world with your words
- Refine your piece via the editing process
The course of study has multiple instructors, all with backgrounds in English or creative writing.
If you want a more interactive experience that includes writing assignments, access to a discussion board, or feedback on your work, you’ll have to purchase a Coursera membership for $49 per month. The company offers a seven-day free trial, so you can test it out before buying.
Having full access will also allow you to obtain a certificate of completion once you’ve finished the specialization.
Best Live Class : Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
Why We Chose It: Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers won this category because it features weekly live lectures via Zoom.
Live, interactive meetings
Writing feedback available
Course is somewhat pricey
Registration fee assessed
We like this class since you can learn about creative writing in a fully interactive environment and get your questions answered in real time. The course is designed specifically for newer writers or experienced writers looking for a refresher.
The six-week class meets for three hours a week and features:
- An introduction to creative writing
- A discussion on fiction writing to include types of fiction, components of the genre—such as plot, characters, and point of view—and how to write it
- A discussion on the different types of nonfiction, including narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays
- Guidance on how to find story ideas, cultivate good writing habits, and get past writer’s block
Between lectures, you’ll also complete writing assignments and get feedback on your work. The course has multiple instructors, all with education and experience in writing.
You must be 18 or older to take the course. The class is offered on various days and times, so you’ll have to look online to see which option fits your schedule.
Creative Writing 101 costs $309 for the online or Zoom classes. The company also charges a $25 registration fee per term, but you might be able to find discounts or promotions to reduce the cost.
Best for Writing Critique : UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
Why We Chose It: UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing is our choice for best for writing critique because the class features small, weekly breakout sessions to workshop student writing.
Small group workshops for detailed feedback
UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing allows you to learn from and work closely with instructors, writing experts, and other students. The course is limited to 12 students and is designed to help learners explore creative writing.
The Introduction to Creative Writing course runs for six weeks and meets live over Zoom for three hours weekly. In each class meeting, you’ll start in a breakout session to discuss the writing assignment and how you’re feeling as a writer. Then, you’ll transition into a lecture with a guest expert about topics like fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.
Throughout the class, you’ll:
- Experiment with writing in different styles
- Learn how to critique the work of other writers
- Network with other creatives
- Be inspired to write and learn more about the craft
The course has several different instructors who are all accomplished writers. You must be 18 or older to enroll unless you have the approval of an instructor.
Since this is a beginner course, you won’t get graded on the writing you produce. Instead, you’ll be evaluated based on assignment completion, the feedback you provide to your peers, and overall participation.
The course costs $455, and if you need to withdraw, you must do so within two weeks of the start date to receive a refund.
Best for Creative Nonfiction : Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
Why We Chose It: Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing won this category because it specifically focuses on creative nonfiction.
Specific focus on creative nonfiction
Certificate of completion given
No writing feedback available
If you’re interested in writing true stories rather than fiction but still want that creative element, you might want to consider creative nonfiction, like personal essays and memoirs. We like this class because it helps you dive into the world of creative nonfiction at a budget-conscious price.
The $19.99 course is self-paced and includes nine modules and 26 video lectures. The nine modules include:
- What is Creative Nonfiction?
- Writing the Vignette
- Using Sensory Language
- Writing in Scenes
- Using a Plot Diagram
- Making the Personal Universal
- Personal Storytelling
- Course Wrap-up
During the nearly two hours of lectures, you’ll learn the skills required to write creative nonfiction pieces, such as memoirs and essays; the basic building blocks of storytelling, such as plots, characters, and scenes; and several writing techniques and literary devices. You’ll also learn:
- How to find your writer’s voice and be more confident
- How to turn your personal experience into a compelling story that will appeal to the masses
- The revision process
Although you won’t get any feedback from your instructor, the class includes writing projects you can complete independently and quizzes to review your learning. To supplement the lectures, you’ll also have access to downloadable resources like templates and graphics.
Your instructor is the creator of the class, Trace Crawford. Crawford has more than 20 years of writing and teaching experience.
You don’t have to meet any particular requirements to take this course. It’s designed for any curious writer.
In case you’re unhappy with the class, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. When you finish the last lecture, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. You’ll also have lifetime access to the content.
There are countless online creative writing classes available. Due to the volume of options, it may be hard to choose the best course for you. Before you enroll in any online creative writing class, be sure to review it thoroughly. That way, you select the course that can help you finish and publish your creative masterpiece.
However, Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling is an excellent place to start your search. The content comes from an award-winning author and is designed to inspire you, help you develop your voice, and teach you new creative writing techniques.
Compare the Best Online Creative Writing Classes
|Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
|$180 for annual Masterclass membership||Approximately 5 hours|
|Beginning Writer’s Workshop by ed2go
Best for Beginners
|Coursera's Creative Writing Specialization by Wesleyan University
Best Free Class
|$0 or $49 per month to unlock more features||Approximately 11 hours|
|Creative Writing 101 by Gotham Writers
Best Live Class
|$309 + $25 registration fee||18 hours|
|UCLA Extension’s Introduction to Creative Writing
Best for Writing Critique
|Udemy’s Creative Non-Fiction Writing - You Can't Make This Stuff Up!
Best for Creative Nonfiction
|$19.99||Approximately 2 hours|
What Do You Learn in an Online Creative Writing Class?
Although it varies by course, an online creative writing class will generally teach you about things like:
- Different genres and subgenres of writing
- Organizing and outlining your ideas
- Storytelling to include plot, setting, and character development
- Using literary devices such as imagery, metaphors, similes, etc.
- Refining and editing your work
- Overcoming writer’s block
- Establishing productive writing habits
The class may also include a peer-critique component where you get better at editing by reviewing other writers' work.
Should New Writers Take an Online Creative Writing Class?
New writers can and should take an online creative writing class. Some classes are designed especially for beginners so that learners can get the foundational information that they need. Taking an entry-level class can help you decide if creative writing is right for you and what direction to take as a writer.
How Can an Online Creative Writing Class Help Me Improve My Writing?
An online creative writing class can help you improve your writing in several ways, such as by:
- Reacquainting you with writing basics
- Introducing you to new literary techniques
- Guiding you to find and develop your unique voice
- Helping you to overcome writer’s block and establish good writing habits
- Teaching you how to edit and refine your work
An online creative writing class may also include personalized feedback from the instructor to hone your skills further.
How Much Do Online Creative Writing Classes Cost?
Online creative writing classes vary in cost. You can access some courses for free while others are priced at several hundred dollars or more.
Are Online Creative Writing Classes Worth It?
Depending on your goals, online creative writing classes can be worth your time, effort, and money. If you’re a hobbyist writer, it probably makes sense to stick with short, budget-friendly courses. But if you’re a writer by trade or would like to become a professional writer, it may be worth investing a more substantial amount of hours and dollars into your development.
We closely evaluated 10 online creative writing classes before making our selections. We considered the course curriculum, instructor credibility, and value. We also accounted for any unique features.
All of our choices offer a rigorous course of study for a fair price and are designed to help creative writers hone their craft and get ready for publication.