Creative writing classes have some pretty ardent critics. Skepticism of these courses is varied: from “They teach to write sentences, not stories” to “writing ability comes from writing, not taking a class“. While these gripes may be true, when reading for tone, a lot of the criticizm seems to come from an image of writers who take classes as somehow not “real”. That is, of course, not true at all. Any other skill that’s learned in a class takes practice, and no one says you’ll suddenly become extraordinary after completing a few courses and doing a couple exercises. However, there is clear value in learning from someone else’s experience, as well as their mistakes. With that in mind, let’s see what kind of free online writing courses the internet has to offer.
Intro to Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writing from Brandon Sanderson
“Writing is not about ideas, inspiration or luck. It’s about skill, and you only get skillful if you practice.”
— Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson is a science fiction writer and New York Times bestselling author. In this popular series of lectures, he gives practical advice and lessons to aspiring writers. Here, you will learn that it’s not ideas or inspiration or whatever other myth makes a writer good — it’s all in the hard work and the skill you get due to it.
What is the difference in the text of a comic and a literary work? Surely, it’s more than the inclusion of pictures.
In this comparative literature course, you’ll find out how comics as a pop culture product came from literary text, went to evolve into something of its own, capable of influencing the literary text it was born from. Crucial for all pop culture enthusiasts as well as those wanting to write comic books.
This course is all about the genre du jour, the essay. This form of writing, malleable and nonstatic, has a history that goes way back to the sixteenth century.
In this course, you will learn about the history of the essay, read those that are considered classic (old and new), and learn everything you need to know about how to write a successful essay of your own.
Essays are some of the most highly sought forms of writing today, and knowing how to write one will put you on the path to being published.
Creative Writing and Narrative Crash Course — Reddit University
From the course description: “If you think learning about “epistemology,” “hermeneutics,” or “defamiliarization” will harm your writing because it’s too academic, too cerebral, then this is not the class for you.”
This course is the most broad and formally academic on the list. If that scares you, better choose something else. If you’re not intimidated, however, the course promises to introduce you to a new skillset you can use in writing and editing your work. The “classes” are comprised of a lecture, reading material, and a writing assignment.