10 best creative writing courses online

If you're looking to get into writing, online creative writing courses are a good place to begin. Find the right course to suit you…

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Best online creative writing courses

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a novel or want to master the art of crafting a short story, an online creative writing course or video tutorial could help you to achieve your goals.

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Online creative writing courses are a great option if you struggle to find time to fit a normal evening class into your schedule. You can log in at a time that suits you and progress at your own speed.

Creative writing can provide you with endless entertainment and is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild. Find out why creative writing can help you escape into other worlds. If you want to have a go at creative writing without committing to a full course, read our feature on how to beat writer’s block with our creative writing prompts. If you’re taking part in National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) this November, then signing up for a creative writing course could give you the motivation you need to finish your novel.

We’ve gathered together a variety of brilliant creative writing courses to spark your imagination – there are a mixture of free and paid-for courses in this collection, so you’re bound to find something to suit your needs. Some of the courses are aimed at beginners, while others will help more experienced writers to take their skills to the next level.

Read on to check out our list of the best creative writing courses online to help you start your new hobby…

Best online creative writing courses to inspire you

1. Start writing fiction course from the Open University (FutureLearn)

If you’re looking for a great introduction to creative writing, you can’t go wrong with this course from the Open University. This course covers how to develop your ideas, tips for writing and editing, and how to start building your plot.

You’ll hear expert advice from well-known writers including Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker, Alex Garland, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tim Pears, Michèle Roberts and Monique Roffey.

This course runs about four times a year, so check their website to find out which dates are available. Many of FutureLearn’s courses require a subscription to sign up, but at the moment this course is free to access.

2. Margaret Atwood teaches creative writing course (Masterclass)

Can you imagine learning how to write from the legendary Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale? Masterclass.com gives you the chance to do just that with this incredible online creative writing course. Margaret will guide you through how to get started as a writer, how to structure your novel, bringing characters to life and much more. There are 23 video classes in total for this course.

Masterclass costs £14.17 per month, which is billed annually. As this course is made up of video classes, you can start the course at any time of the year. Masterclass has lots of other courses from well-known writers including James Patterson, Dan Brown, Judy Bloom and RL Stine to try too.

3. An introduction to screenwriting course from the University of East Anglia (FutureLearn)

Ever fancied writing a movie or a TV drama? This online screenwriting course covers all of the basics of screenwriting for beginners and will help more experienced writers to sharpen their skills. You’ll learn through a mixture of basic theory, script analysis and practical exercises.

Again, this course is free from FutureLearn at the moment. Check the calendar on the website to find out when the next course is running.

4. The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit course (Skillshare)

If you want to be a writer but find it hard to set aside regular writing time, then this is the course for you. Author and screenwriter Simon Van Booy will show you how to make writing a habit and create a routine that you’ll actually stick to. In this course, you’ll learn how to make space in your life for writing and how to stay motivated.

A Skillshare premium subscription is £7 per month (billed annually) or £13 per month (billed monthly).

5. Neil Gaiman teaches the art of storytelling course (Masterclass)

Neil Gaiman is an award-winning author who has created magical (often eerie) books such as Coraline, Stardust, American Gods and Neverwhere. In this online creative writing class, he teaches his imaginative approach to storytelling and will help you to develop your writing abilities. Topics include finding your voice, dialogue and character and how to develop your story.

A subscription to Masterclass is £14.17 per month which is billed annually.

6. Guardian writing masterclasses

The Guardian runs a variety of creative writing masterclasses throughout the year and many of these are now available online. Its classes are often run by famous writers and cover a variety of themes from life writing to a novel writing bootcamp.

Prices start from around £45 for the shorter masterclasses, going up to £150 for a novel writing bootcamp (prices may vary).

7. Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting course (Masterclass)

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is the man behind The West Wing, The Social Network and A Few Good Men. In this masterclass, you’ll learn his secrets for writing compelling screenplays including storytelling, dialogue and how to write a script that will actually sell. This course includes eight hours of video, so it’s really in-depth.

Masterclass subscriptions are £14.17 per month, which is billed annually.

Best creative writing courses online
Unsplash/Gift Habeshaw

8. How to write poetry: now is the time to write your poem course (Udemy)

Discover your inner poet by signing up for this great course from Udemy. Serena Greenslade will teach you the art of writing poetry from sonnets to free verse. You’ll also have access to a private Facebook group where you can share your work with other budding poets.

Unlike many online learning websites, Udemy doesn’t need a subscription – you can buy any course using a one-off payment and retain access to it forever, so you don’t end up paying more than you intended. Courses start from £13.99.

9. Storytelling 101: Character, conflict, context and craft (Skillshare)

New York Times bestselling author Daniel José Older breaks down the art of storytelling to give you the tools you need to create great works of fiction, whether you’re planning on writing a short story, screenplay or a full-length novel. These storytelling skills are the building blocks of creative writing and will help you to become a better writer.

Sign up to Skillshare to access this course and many more. Pay £7 per month (billed annually) or £13 per month.

10. Creative non-fiction writing – you can’t make this stuff up! course (Udemy)

Not sure if fiction is for you? Non-fiction writing can also be highly creative and it’s great fun to learn. In this course created by Trace Crawford, you’ll learn the skills you need to write great true crime articles, memoirs, features, blogs, essays and more.

Like all Udemy courses, you’ll be able to get lifetime access to the course by paying a one-off fee. It’s currently priced £13.99.

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Featured image Pexels/Ivan Samkov.