Top 5 Creative Writing Courses Online With Placements
The art of creative writing is a craft that is as in demand now as it was centuries ago. Regardless of the influence of artificial intelligence, and the relative decline in the study of literature and language, both students and society in general still require contemporary training in a timeless skill. During many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, creative writing courses are indispensable add-ons that give students the best chance of expressing their full potential. This article will inform the reader about the subject and also discuss some of the best creative writing courses online today.
What Is Creative Writing?
Like many fields of excellence, creative writing may be a subject that some people enjoy, at least to a certain extent. However, it is also a teachable skill, and certainly, one that must be developed with constant practice. The analogy of learning to play a musical instrument has been offered. The natural gift may be there, but it is of little use without guidance and development.
A person who is skilled in creative writing has a potential solution to a growing societal problem that has emerged in the “social media age”—the increasing inability of the average reader to concentrate for anything except a short period of time.
This trend is, unfortunately, only likely to continue as many people accustom their brains to search for constant dopamine hits throughout the day, consuming short videos and unconsciously teaching themselves to avoid mental effort. The advantages for a person who takes one of the recommended creative writing courses online are twofold.
Firstly, the writer vigorously exercises and develops their own mental faculties, spending their time preventing the decline of their own brainpower, and reinforcing positive habits that will pay cognitive dividends in all aspects of their lives. Secondly, they will increase their long-term employability as writers who have the ability to inform, entertain, and—perhaps most importantly—hold the attention of readers and become increasingly sought after.
Starting Off With Creative Writing
One of the most significant obstacles that any novice writer will first encounter is the natural tendency to doubt themselves—they will lack confidence in their ability to write and fear embarrassment. While this is understandable, natural insecurity must not be allowed to become procrastination, and a constructive response is to simply pick up a pencil and begin to write something on a page, freely and privately.
Exercise: Take your pencil, pen, or keyboard, either set a timer for five minutes or write on three pages, choose a familiar topic, such as your favorite film, book, or a beautiful memory, then, just generate some content, writing freely without analyzing or correcting yourself.
Do not stop to think until the exercise is finished. Finally, look back at what you have written and read it—you may be pleasantly surprised. It’s vitally important to reconnect with your childhood creativity and not be affected by any unhelpful comments that you experienced during your school days (that may have knocked some of the creativity out of you!) or negative life experiences.
The value of exercises like the above is endorsed by numerous experienced writers, productivity coaches, and even wellness teachers. Apart from allowing you to start creative writing, they are also useful to clear your mind and reduce reactivity first thing in the morning, and readers interested in a deeper dive into the benefits can investigate Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” or some of the many online articles that discuss the power of morning journaling.
If you are still stuck, you could open the window and write about the sounds that you hear or try a “word sketch” of the objects in your room. Just make a start. Once you’ve done that, keep doing a little every day and observe how your skills develop and your body of work grows. You must exercise and develop your creative writing muscles to turn an aspiration into a reality, which you will do if you put the work in. Once you have made your start, or if you are the type of person who applies themselves better if they have invested financially in something, you can also benefit from some formal training by undertaking one of the available creative writing courses online.
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Developing Your Creativity Further
Just as a young scientist or academic must develop unbiased, critical thinking that may conflict with some of their assumptions about the world, the new creative writer should train their mind to pay attention to the subtle nuances in the world around them that will fuel their inspiration and help their creative juices flow.
Develop your powers of observation and precision by paying attention to what is going on in both your immediate environment and the wider world, being as precise and accurate as possible. Perhaps the best example of an author who profited from this strategy was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world’s most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Consider what motivates the everyday actions and contradictions of the people around you: The woman on the bus that seems to be reading the headlines on her phone might be covertly videoing the person opposite. Why? Is it something innocent like an interest in the brand of another woman’s expensive and fashionable handbag?
Could you change the story into a drama about a woman being targeted by a handbag thief or even that she has some kind of valuable document inside? Let your surroundings and the information that you consume every day provide inspiration for your writing.
Read your favorite books again and pay greater attention to how the author kept you turning the pages. Find the parts where the most powerful visual images were created just by the written word. How does the author use context and parts of speech effectively?
How are nouns, adjectives, and adverbs combined to make the text come alive? Develop your eye to see where a particular combination of words is truly magical and memorable, rather than the blander efforts that are so commonplace in lazy writing: lack of attention to this will have your reader dozing off!
Here is a Beginners Guide to Creative Writing
Creating the Structure of the Story
The previous section touched on a vital part of creative writing: the characters in your story. Characterization is one of the most important aspects of your writing. Readers need to find interesting characters that they can identify or empathize with; sometimes, they also enjoy reading about a character that they are conflicted with.
Attention paid to the development of the main characters in your writing will pay dividends later as you develop the original character sketches into as much detail as possible: The more complex they are, the more options and scope you will have to continue their relationships in different settings or change direction when required.
Maintaining the option to surprise the reader at any point is a vital tool in your box of tricks. The choice of setting and context is also important. Choosing the time and place (or times and places) that your story evolves through will be an anchor point for the reader, providing a useful backdrop for all the action that is taking place in the forefront.
In many cases, readers actively choose what to read based only partly on the characters, but also because they wish to be educated about a certain time or place in human history, such as England during the time of Charles Dickens. Also, readers may make their choice because they want to escape conventional human history altogether, a prime example of this being the very successful “Lord of the Rings” saga.
Another consideration to decide is the perspective: Exactly who is going to tell the reader your story? Telling a story in the first person has the advantage of making the scene vivid and informal, bringing the reader directly into the world that the narrator is describing.
Returning to the example of Sherlock Holmes, the way Conan Doyle was able to use the character of Doctor Watson to narrate the series of stories is arguably a major factor in its incredible success. Writing in the second person is rare but has its usefulness. I can recall reading a “Choose your own Adventure!”
Series as a child where the second person was skillfully used to keep a young reader guessing as he made various choices in the books that would lead to either the triumph or the tragedy of the character.
The third-person narration gives an author a range of options where the narrator is “all-knowing” and understands everything about each character; or limited, as J.K. Rowling used in the Harry Potter books; or objective, where the narrator is unable to reveal the secrets of the characters until they choose to do so themselves.
Developing the Plot
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end—how skillfully you chart that course will have a major role in deciding how many readers start your journey, and how many will finish with you. Planning a plot is challenging, and like many aspects of life, perhaps it’s best, to begin with, a general idea rather than restricting yourself to a fixed, predetermined one.
As the characters in your story interact with each other and the settings they encounter, they will offer you continual possibilities to enhance the journey and develop as you go. A plot can, however, fit favorably into a particular genre, such as horror, fantasy, crime, or romance.
In such cases, the particular audience may actually appreciate a degree of predictability between the plot of your story and others that they have read. For a third time, we can return to the example of Sherlock Holmes!
While there were always clever twists and turns in each individual adventure, the audience always read Conan Doyle’s detective stories in full anticipation that their hero would triumph in the end, and indeed, when the author finally killed his greatest creation, the resulting popular outrage was sufficient to resurrect Holmes from the icy grasp of the Reichenbach Falls for a spectacular escape and a new series.
Other well-known plots include journeys (Journey to the West), quests (Jane Eyre), and courtroom dramas (12 Angry Men); their different plots all seek to explain what is happening in the story, how it’s happening, and why. How well you can answer these questions with excitement, suspense, or interest will enhance how much your characters come alive in your story.
Finishing the Work
The final review of your own story is both an opportunity to step back and take a final overview of what you have written and a chance to add any last-minute details that spring to mind. However, some authors, after completing their work, prefer to put it to one side for days, weeks, or even months before they return to this final task refreshed and with a new perspective.
The time away from the story also gives the author some idea of what one of their readers will feel when he or she returns to the story. The key is to read with enough detail and accuracy to make good corrections and add the new and inspired details that have come to you without losing your way and becoming bogged down unnecessarily. The work will never be of any use unless it is published, so perform the final reading, and after making the alterations that you require, get that done.
Have a look at the tips and tricks for Creative Writing for Social Media
Creative Writing Workshops
While some people (particularly beginners) are worried by the prospect of having their writing scrutinized and critiqued by a group of peers and teachers, the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone to participate are significant—and a reluctance to embrace other opinions is a step closer to stagnation rather than creativity.
Once you have completed the initial confidence-building exercises mentioned at the beginning of this article and feel that you are starting to hit your stride, there is very little reason not to interact with a group of like-minded peers, chop things up, and exchange ideas in a supportive environment. At the very least, participation in the workshop will develop your own critical thinking.
Creative Writing Courses Online
When choosing one of the better creative writing courses online, it’s a good idea for an aspiring creative writer to choose a course that will continue to build on the existing self-confidence that they have developed through their own practice, rather than undergoing a course that is influenced by standard academic conventions and increases self-conscious habits and nervousness in writing.
There is always a fine line between the amount of formal structure and the amount of freedom in a writing course; the best creative writing courses online are the ones that most successfully achieve this balance. It’s constructive to avoid any kind of training that will stifle the originality and creativity of your ongoing development as a writer.
Options for Creative Writing Courses Online Training
1. IIM SKILLS
IIM Skills is a well-established and professional training provider for aspiring and developing writers. Their Content Writing Master Course includes a module on creative writing, and after completion of the course itself, the following three-month internship includes coaching on writing and then publishing your first book on Kindle.
The IIM Skills Content Writing Course allows aspiring learners to enroll and take the benefit of their excellent training sitting in any corner of the world. IIM Skills courses are highly rewarded by their students who have graduated from the institute and are fulfilling their lives with careers of joy. If you are looking for assistance to turn your writing into creativity that will create a whole new imaginative world for the reader then IIM Skills should be on your wishlist.
2. The Open University
With a reputation for excellence that is accepted globally, the Open University provides online training for writers at certificate, diploma, or degree levels; with both part- and full-time options available that more than 50,000 students have successfully completed since 2003.
One of the strongest aspects of an Open University course is the quality of the materials and workbooks—to the extent that they are sold worldwide and used by other colleges on their own courses.
Another particular advantage of Open University creative writing courses online is that they will all result in valuable university points; these can be combined with other points from different courses (in virtually any combination) by a student who is customizing their education across different fields and result in the “Open Degree.”
Conveniently, the opposite is also true, and most OU modules can be studied independently as stand-alone courses.
The Different Modules Include the Following Topics:
- Arts and Humanities
- Reading and Studying Literature
- Travel Writing
3. Stanford University
The online creative writing program from Stanford University is another course run by an organization with a very good reputation and includes training in a very wide variety of creative writing techniques. Writing novels, nonfiction, memoirs, and essay writing are all taught as distinct courses; and along with these conventional writing courses, students have the option to go deeper into particular genres, such as film and TV, mysteries and thrillers, and young adult novels.
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4. National Center for Writing, UK
This is an organization based in Norwich, the UK that offers students from all over the world the option to take one of their creative writing courses online. Usefully, the website offers a lot of free resources in the form of new writer resource packs, a blog, and a podcast; as well as numerous free writing courses.
For students who wish to take things further and pay for more detailed training, there are the options of tutored online writing courses in partnership with the University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing. Students can choose either 12- or 24-week long courses, where they will have direct contact with their tutor and the option of engaging with each other on the discussion forums.
5. Coursera and Udemy
As both organizations are very general training providers that give people a chance to try out a new skill for a reasonable price, we will discuss both together. For those who would like a reasonable overview of creative writing courses online, Coursera can offer a range of options, some run in partnership with various universities, that includes writing and editing, writing for young readers, novels and poetry, and building a plot.
For those interested in gaining a very basic overview and introduction to creative writing at an affordable price, Udemy is a readily available choice that is accessible worldwide. Many of the options are available for less than 20 USD, and the various courses give a glimpse into everything from basic punctuation for creative writing to narrative design.
Here are the Effective Creative Writing Tips for Beginners
Career Options for Graduates of Creative Writing Courses Online
As discussed at the beginning of this article, creative writing is a timeless skill. Depending on the level of the particular course, for writers who complete one of the available creative writing courses online, there are increased opportunities in a variety of related careers:
Frequently Asked Questions- FAQS
Q1. What kind of equipment do I need to complete the creative writing courses online discussed in this article?
The equipment will include a personal computer in reasonable condition, normally with Zoom ready to go. It’s worth checking what browsers are supported on your course, as well as keeping everything up to date and prepared—meaning a supported, in-date browser, java enabled, and relevant cookies enabled.
Q2. Will I need to purchase course materials before undertaking the creative writing courses online discussed above?
That depends on the particular training provider and the length of the course. If you are attempting a full degree in creative writing, then the materials will need to be paid for and will be part of the course fees.
Q3. Where can I go for further information on creative writing courses online?
Approach the training provider that you feel best matches your requirements as a writer. For a general overview, and one that specializes in training for the Indian market, you could try IIM Skills.
Certainly more of an art than a science, but yet still a disciple that can and must be developed with some formal training and many hours of practice, the craft of creative writing is both incredibly rewarding on a personal level, and also opens new doors for the professional writer interested in branching out into other niches of their chosen profession. I hope that whether the reader makes the decision to invest in a writing course, or simply open a book on the subject, they will continue to grow and enrich their creative skills, moving on to greater success in their lives.