22 Best creative writing classes online to write fiction and non-fiction
Have you ever read a good book and thought about writing your own? Whether a novel, a self-help book, or even a viral tweet, we have all witnessed the benefit of creative writing. And as you’ll see in this article, the benefits of learning creative writing go beyond just being an author. Here we’ll give you an overview of the best creative writing classes online.
Creative Writing Classes Online – Overview
Creative writing is a form of expression where writers use their creativity and imagination to craft a narrative. Genres that fall under creative writing include novels, comic books, creative nonfiction, memoirs, biographies, plays, and movie scripts. And elements used in creative writing include characters, setting, plot, conflict, point of view, and theme.
Beyond just being an author, the ability to craft a convincing and compelling narrative can be useful in many industries. Whether you are writing a marketing campaign or you’re a lawyer crafting your closing statements, creative writing skills can make a difference.
In fact, in almost any possible career, or social situation, you will benefit by understanding how to craft a narrative. When choosing a creative writing class, it’s important to find one suited to your goals and needs.
Some creative writing classes might offer practical exercises and others might focus on inspiration. Whatever path you choose, learning the art of creative writing comes with many personal and professional benefits. For general writing courses, please look here.
Best Creative Writing Classes Online 2023 – Top Picks
|Various Genres||Various Genres||Creative Writing||Creative Writing|
|from $15/month||from $14.99/class||from $11.99/class||from $13/month|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website|
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.
Note: This review lists the best creative writing classes online. We cannot claim comprehensiveness as there are many other creative writing courses available.
1. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing – MasterClass
Margaret Atwood’s popular MasterClass (visit website) is all about learning to craft vivid prose, timeless storytelling and to get readers hooked. According to Atwood, a good story makes the reader believe in it even though they know it’s fiction. And in her creative writing class, Atwood shares her creative process for developing ideas into finished novels.
Topics in the class include getting started as a writer, plot, novel structure, point of view, creating characters, dialogue, and more. Also included in the class are case studies from Atwood’s works to give practical examples of what she’s teaching.
And if you struggle with the business aspect of creative writing, there is a section on that as well. It gives practical tips on finding an agent, getting published, and even dealing with negative reviews. The annual membership provides access to all online classes that include 22+ writing courses and many of them are creative writing classes. Have a look.
2. Udemy Online Creative Writing Classes
Udemy (visit website) offers a wide range of creative writing classes online for different purposes, skills and projects. Classes cover poetry, creative thinking, novels, creative nonfiction, memoirs, and more. And you can filter through options by categories such as ratings, video duration, topic, subcategory, and price range.
Three of the best creative writing classes include “How to Write a Novel – The Full Course”, “Creative Exercises for New Writing Ideas”, and “How to Write Poetry”.
In “How to Write a Novel” the focus is on creating engaging characters, using a 3-act narrative structure, and writing smart dialogue. The second example class covers 30 creative writing exercises. Interesting features here include starting a creativity journal and steps to build a daily writing habit. There’s also a Q&A section with a responsive instructor.
Finally, in the third class, you’ll learn how to write sonnets, narrative poetry, blank verse, free verse, and more. You’ll also focus on poetic form, rhyme, and practical writing exercises. If you are starting out, Udemy has some of the best creative writing classes online for beginners at a decent price range.
Classes: 500+ | Rating: 4.4-4.8 ★★★★☆
Info: Browse category Creative Writing Classes on Udemy.
Pricing: Classes start from $11.99. Up to 95% off.
3. Creative Writing Specialization – Coursera
Coursera’s Creative Writing specialization (visit website) covers topics from three different genres: short stories, narrative essays, and memoirs. Besides short story and fiction writing skills, you’ll also develop your copy-editing skills.
The specialization is authorized by Wesleyan University and includes a few different creative writing classes that you’ll have to complete individually. These classes focus on different elements of creative writing such as plot, character, setting, description, and style. After doing each of the courses, you’ll complete a hands-on project.
This capstone project involves drafting, rewriting, and finishing an original story of the genre you choose. You will practice everything you have learned. Students will also practice revision skills as they edit their work and do peer reading of other students’ works.
Upon completing the specialization, you will walk away with a certificate that you can share with potential employers. This is one of the best creative writing classes online if you are looking for a well-structured learning path delivered by an academic institution.
Provider: Wesleyan University, Coursera | Type: Specialization
Pricing: Free trial. $59/month Coursera Plus. | Review: 4.8 ★★★★★
Info: View course. Browse: Search all creative writing classes on Coursera.
4. Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling – MasterClass
In his online masterclass, Neil Gaiman (visit website) goes over his approach to storytelling. He shares tips, exercises, and his own philosophy on writing to help teach and inspire students to write. Video lessons cover topics such as finding your voice, developing the story, world-building, humor, dialogue, character, descriptions, and more.
Case studies are also included. Gaiman uses his own works to give in-depth insight into how he applies different elements of storytelling. Some unique benefits of this class are Gaiman’s lessons on sources of inspiration, writer’s block, editing, and rules for writers.
In the rules for writers section, Gaiman gives important tips on confidence, staying organized, and being devoted to daily work. Finally, for people interested in writing comic books there is a section covering that genre as well. This is one of the best creative writing classes online to learn storytelling. It is included in MasterClass’s all-access membership.
5. The Complete Creative Writing Course – All Genres – Udemy
The “Complete Creative Writing Course – All Genres” (visit website) is one of the best creative writing classes on Udemy recommended for beginners. Poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and playwriting are the four genres that you’ll become familiar with here.
Throughout this popular creative writing class, you will focus on developing and perfecting your own writing voice. To accomplish this, you will explore a variety of writing styles and examine a range of concepts to relate to your own writing. You’ll also learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of writing projects.
Each lesson is broken down into multiple video lectures, daily writing assignments, review quizzes, and a practical application project. Lessons cover the different writing techniques, literary devices, and specialized skills related to the four genres.
As a student, you will also learn about publishing opportunities and have access to podcasts and information on creating a professional portfolio.
6. CreativeLive Online Creative Writing Classes
Popular eLearning platform CreativeLive (visit website) offers some of the best online creative writing classes for beginners and intermediates alike. There is an interesting range of topics that include specific classes like “The Anatomy of a Scene” and “How to Get Emotion Onto the Page”. You can enjoy all classes with the all-access membership pass.
If you like more general classes, you may want to try “Write a Story” or “Wired for Story: How to Become a Story Genius”. Practical classes on publishing an eBook and selling books are available as well. Let’s take a brief look at two popular creative writing classes.
In “Write Your Book: Start Strong and Get It Done” you’ll create a strategic plan to write your book. You will also learn how to design the protagonist, plot, and story structure, and define your narrator’s voice. And in “Starving to Successful: How to Become a Full-Time Writer” students learn strategies to make their writing profitable. With help identifying what kind of writer you want to be, earn strategies to follow a path and start making money.
Provider: CreativeLive | Rating: 95% ★★★★★ | Level: All levels
Plans: Access to all classes, including 45+ creative writing classes.
Info: Visit website. $149/year or 39/month. View pricing plans on CreativeLive.
7. Creative Writing for Beginners – Domestika
“Creative Writing for Beginners” (visit website) is a best-rated online class on the popular Domestika platform class. The goal is to help you develop a complete written piece. To do this, lessons include practical exercises that help sharpen your writing voice.
Class content covers topics like how to start writing immediately, how to create impact, and how to shape a story. Within these different sections, you will learn techniques for approaching subjects and sketching with words.
There is also a class on what to do when you get stuck. Other lessons go into the process of storytelling, editing, rewriting, and sharing your work. One of the benefits of this class is that it has a final project where you will develop, write, and complete your own story.
If you’ve never actually tried writing a story before, this could be among the best creative writing classes online to get started. No previous writing experience is necessary.
8. Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers – MasterClass
If you like suspense stories, Dan Brown’s creative writing class (visit website) will teach you to write thrillers. According to Brown, writing a novel is all about the process and doesn’t rely on inspiration. Based on this philosophy, the class provides practical tools and a roadmap to help develop an idea into a story.
Interestingly, Dan Brown believes that all ideas have already been done. So the trick isn’t about creating some big idea but about executing big “hows” as the story unfolds. Thus, lesson topics focus on the anatomy of a thriller, finding an idea, universal character tools, and doing decent research. It is an exciting learning process.
Other practical topics are on building a story from the ground up and creating suspense. Sections on editing, point of view, writing scenes, and life as a writer are also included. Overall, perhaps the main benefit of Brown’s creative writing class is its practicality. It aims to remove the mystery of writing and turn it into a replicable process. MasterClass’s annual membership provides access to all their online classes, including 22+ writing classes.
Skillshare (visit website) offers students a broad choice of online creative writing classes. There are courses on topics such as starting a story, writing essays, editing, writing for video games, or eBook formatting. You can narrow your search by choosing related skills like screenwriting, publishing, novel writing, creative nonfiction, and storytelling.
Let’s take a brief look at some of their best creative writing classes online. In “The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit” the goal is to create a daily writing routine that’s approachable and fun. Topics include optimizing your writing space as well as gathering and acting on inspiration.
In the “Editing and Proofreading Masterclass”, the focus is on taking your editing and proofreading skills to the next level. You’ll learn how to use keyboard shortcuts for writing and editing, as well as how to use the best autocorrect software. Beyond this, you’ll also learn how to enhance your publishing, writing, and editing skills.
And finally, in “Writing Fiction: How to Build a Believable Character” you will focus on creating authentic characters. Through exercises, prompts, and techniques you’ll learn all about character development. A membership pass gives you access to all their classes.
Platform: Skillshare | Level: Beginners to advanced | Review: 4.6 ★★★★☆
Info: Visit website. Browse all creative writing classes. Free trial.
Price: $15/month. Get 30% Off Premium to try all online courses.
10. Creative Writing Classes with Publishing Professionals – The Novelry
The Novelry has a range of online creative writing classes for anyone from beginners to experienced writers. In the “Classic Course”, you’ll study bestselling novels and get comprehensive writing tasks to develop your story and outline your novel.
“Ninety-day Novel” comes with over 100 online lessons covering all aspects of creative writing. You’ll have lectures and coaching on topics such as plot structure, character development, and the like. At the end of the class, students will have gone from an outline to a finished first draft of their novel.
In “The Big Edit”, professional publishing editors will review your storyline and give you a revision plan. As a student, you will also have access to lessons and feedback from other writers. Finally, you’ll have a pre-submission session with The Novelry’s editorial team to prepare the work for presentation to literary agents.
“Ultimate Manuscript Assessment” delivers a more in-depth assessment of your novel from professional publishing editors. All these online creative writing classes can be taken individually or as packages depending on where you need help. For experienced writers, there’s also “The Advanced Writing Course” that offers advanced insider lessons, writing exercises, and coaching from bestselling authors.
Platform: The Novelry | Style: Creative Writing – Novels, Editing, Publishing
Level: Beginners, Intermediates | Price: Various packages.
Popular platforms: Browse our lists of the best Coursera courses or Domestika courses or MasterClass classes or GetSmarter courses or edX courses or CreativeLive classes to improve your skills further.
11. Wired for Story – How To Become a Story Genius – CreativeLive
“Wired for Story” with Lisa Cron (visit website) shows you how to make the book that may already exist within you a reality. She does this by addressing writing myths that hold people back and giving you a step-by-step method to find your story.
Lessons aren’t filled with general, random creative writing exercises. Instead, the online lessons are designed to build on previous lessons. Topics include learning about what readers crave in stories and why writing a novel isn’t about talent but something learnable.
Students will also learn how to write a polished first draft to minimize the rewriting process. Essentially the class is focused on the process of finding your story. According to Cron, the important work is developing the story idea, and from that, the writing will naturally flow.
12. Creative Writing Class 101 – Writer’s Digest University WDU
Writer’s Digest University’s “Creative Writing Class 101” is for anyone who wants to write but doesn’t know where to start. While some of the creative writing classes mentioned try to teach you a specific method for writing, the goal of this class is to find a method of writing that works best for you.
Topics covered in the class include developing a vibrant protagonist and defining them, their goal, and their problem. Other lessons cover point of view, dialogue, how to be more visual, and how to create a hook. You will also learn to determine the right order to tell your story and how to find discipline while writing.
While this online creative writing class is great for beginners, it’s also suitable for more experienced writers. With a focus on character development, imagery, and dialogue, it’s a good refresher class for any fiction writer.
Platform: Writer’s Digest University | Style: Story and Character Development
Level: Beginners | Price: Various classes. From $579
13. How to Write a Novel with Johanna Penn
Johanna Penn’s “How to Write a Novel” will help you learn how to finish a novel. She teaches from experience as someone who once wanted to write but didn’t know where to start. Her class aims to cut through excess information focusing on what you need to write and finish your book. Topics include principles like story structure, genre, and mindset.
There’s a section as well on ideas, research, and planning. After the idea phase, the class covers the essential aspects of a novel. Aspects include character, plot, setting, dialogue, point of view, theme, and more. Once the key features of a novel have been covered, the focus turns to writing and editing.
In those lectures, you will learn about outlining, writing, how to use Scrivener software, and editing. Finally, you will explore the options for publishing and planning to finish your novel. Students also get access to bonus interviews with industry experts. Topics in the bonus interviews cover writer’s block, outlining, dialogue, writing voice, and more.
Instructor: Johanna Penn | Style: Manuscript development. Publishing.
Level: Beginners | Price: $355. Or $59.50/month for 6 months installments.
14. The AI Assisted Author – AI for Creative Wiring – The Creative Penn
In this second class by Johanna Penn, the focus differs from most creative writing classes online. Without using technical jargon, the class gives insight into the current information on the potential of AI tools for authors. If you’re interested in AI writing or open to its possibilities, this class may equip you with a bunch of fresh ideas and projects.
Topics covered in the class include AI and its relation to writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as editing. There are also lessons on AI analysis of plot and structure and AI-assisted book marketing.
This class is also suitable for people interested in areas beyond creative writing. With lessons on AI for video, content creation, marketing, and AI in creative industries, it takes on a wide scope. It also covers AI narration of audiobooks and AI-assisted translation.
Platform: The Creative Penn | Style: AI-assisted writing.
Level: All | Price: Approx. $237
15. Bestseller Bootcamp with Ania Ahlborn – LitReactor
Ania Ahlborn’s “Bestseller Bootcamp” aims to help you develop a writing plan. Lasting four weeks, the goal is to finish the class with a fully realized synopsis of a novel. The creative writing classes are entirely online and consist of weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
During the first week, the goal is to take the seed of a story idea and expand it into a short synopsis. In the second week, the focus is on the characters of the story. Character development continues and intensifies in the third week. By focusing on the character details, the aim is for the story to reveal itself.
Finally, the fourth week covers putting everything together into a full book synopsis. This synopsis is meant to be the detailed road map for the future process of writing the novel. There are also other online creative writing classes from LitReactor. Those include classes on writing about vampires, short stories, writing your way out of a rut, and more.
Platform: LitReactor | Style: Bootcamp, Novel writing, Publishing
Level: Beginners | Info: 12 students/class. $399.
Other Best Online Creative Writing Classes
16. Online Creative Writing Classes – Stanford
Stanford University’s online creative writing classes are open to anyone with any writing experience. Available classes cover writing novels, personal essays, creative nonfiction, travel writing, short fiction, and more. There are also classes on topics like writing relationships, finding an idea, writing scenes, and establishing a writing habit.
17. How to Write a Novel – Structure – edX
In this edX class, the focus is on developing the outline of a novel. Composed of hands-on weekly exercises and insights from accomplished authors, the class covers the core elements of fiction writing. You will learn about character development, world-building, and storytelling architecture as you develop an outline of your own creative project.
18. How to Write a Novel – The Draft – edX
If you have a finished outline, this edX class will focus on facing the draft writing process confidently. You’ll develop new skills through writing exercises, examples from published novels, and feedback from fellow writers. Topics covered include character creation, scene design, tactics for managing plots, and writing dialogue.
19. Creative Writing Certificate – Emory University
In Emory University’s creative writing certificate program, you will take a series of required and elective classes. As you explore many writing categories, the goal is to gain practical, professional knowledge. With this gained expertise, the aim is to be able to grow your platform and evaluate the commercial potential of your work.
20 Catapult Online Creative Writing Classes
Catapult is a platform that hosts different online creative writing workshops created by writers, for writers. There are a variety of workshops available on topics such as poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and more. Learning methods include written and video lectures, reading assignments, and writing prompts, with access to feedback from other writers.
21. Free Creative Writing Classes – Reedsy
Reedsy gives you access to several free 10-day online creative writing classes. Available topics include writing novels or short stories, how to show and not tell, children’s books, using dialogue, building a writing routine, and more. There are also online classes on things like how to write romance or how to write young adult works that sell.
22. Creative Writing Online Classes – Writers.com
Writers.com has a range of online creative writing classes that offer regular instructor feedback and ongoing collaboration with other writers. In the creative nonfiction category, you can find all types of courses. Example topics include memoir writing, building a successful blog, writing lyric essays, writing for health and happiness, and more.
How to Choose the Best Creative Writing Classes Online
With so many options, it can be a headache trying to choose the best creative writing classes online. But when choosing, try to think about:
- How much money are you willing to spend?
- What kind of writing do you want to do?
- How long do you want the course to last?
- What weak points do you want the class to address?
In the end, any class that you complete with dedication can only take you further along your path. Perhaps you just need an idea, motivation, or to build a habit to start writing. Or maybe you need someone experienced to push you, give you feedback, and guide you along the way.
Either way, think about where you are in your writing journey and what’s holding you back from being where you want to be. There’s certainly a great class out there waiting for you.
Best Creative Writing Classes Online 2023 – Verdict
Wrapping up our review of the best creative writing classes online in 2023.
As we’ve seen, developing creative writing skills can be highly beneficial. However, we all know that creative writing can seem complicated and frustrating. There are so many courses on many different areas of creative writing. And any creative writing class can be helpful, depending on your needs.
But if you’re serious about becoming a published author, I would recommend the class from The Novelry in combination with one of Masterclass’s creative writing classes. There you’ll find a comprehensive and structured class designed to take you from an idea to a published work. it also provides you with the mindset of successful and published authors.
Best Creative Writing Classes Online 2023
- Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
- Udemy Creative Writing Classes Online
- The Complete Creative Writing Course – All Genres
- Creative Writing Specialization – Coursera
- Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- CreativeLive Creative Writing Classes Online
- Creative Writing for Beginners – Domestika
- Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
- Skillshare Online Creative Writing Classes
- Creative Writing with Publishing Professionals – The Novelry
- Wired for Story – How To Become a Story Genius – CreativeLive
- Creative Writing 101 – Writer’s Digest University WDU
- How to Write a Novel with Johanna Penn
- The AI Assisted Author – AI for Creative Wiring – The Creative Penn
- Bestseller Bootcamp – LitReactor
Other Online Creative Writing Classes
- Creative Writing Introduction – Purdue University
- English Major Creative Writing Track – Lawrence University
- Creative Writing – Department of English Tufts University
- Creative Writing BA (Hons) – University of Gloucestershire
- How to write descriptively – Nalo Hopkinson, YouTube. View.
- Joe Bunting and Liz Bureman – The Write Practice – View
What are the best creative writing classes online for 2023, in your opinion? Which creative writing courses have you taken? What have you learned? Please let us know in the comments below, or contact us via email for questions.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to some providers of creative writing classes online. courselounge may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. It does not add any extra costs. All reviews, opinions, descriptions and comparisons expressed here are our own.