A Survey of Online Writing Courses for Any Budget

July 6, 2015


Writing courses can be a great way to improve your skills and jump-start your writing process. But not everyone lives somewhere that offers quality courses that fit their time schedule. Luckily, there are lots of courses available online that let you fit the classes in when they work for you. These courses vary significantly in price and how much feedback you get, so pay close attention before signing up. Finding the right class can be time consuming, so I’ve done some of the legwork for you. I’ve only taken classes from one of these providers, so this isn’t an endorsement so much as a stepping stone to help you take the next step.


FREE COURSES: These courses are self-directed and offer no feedback of your writing, but they are free! If you are looking for general skills improvement that you can do on your own time, these classes might be right for you.




Example Classes: Start Writing Fiction (12 hours)




Creative Writing Now:


Example Classes: How to Write a Story That Comes Alive, Essentials of Fiction Writing, Mastering Dialogue




BUDGET COURSES: These courses cost a little money but are still pretty affordable. Some of them provide teacher feedback on writing assignments.


MasterClass ($90):


Example Classes: James Patterson teaches writing


Other Features: 22 video lessons; self-paced; no teacher feedback




AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop ($150):


Example Classes: Solving the Mystery, Beginning Fiction, Creative Nonfiction


Other Features: all classes 12 weeks; teacher feedback provided; real-time chat room




PREMIUM COURSES ($150–$800):


The Loft Literary Center ($150–$400, many around $250):


Example Classes: What is Voice?, Character in Fiction, Crafting Plots and Endings; Structuring the  Memoir


Other Features: length of courses varies; teacher feedback provided; real-time chat room




Be Your Own Book Doctor (Jennifer Lawler) ($379):


Example Classes: Write Your Book Proposal


Other Features: classes typically four weeks; teacher feedback provided; classes on your own time, but must keep up with assignments. I have taken several classes from Jennifer and highly recommend her.




Gotham Writers Workshop ($400):


Example Classes: Novel Writing, Children’s Book Writing, Memoir Writing


Other Features: offer classes in fiction and nonfiction; all classes 10 weeks; classes on your own time, but must keep up with assignments; teacher feedback provided; optional real-time chats




Writer’s Digest University ($149-$800):


Examples Classes: Character Development, Description and Setting, Fundamentals of Fiction


Other Features: all classes 8 weeks; teacher feedback provided; classes on your own time, but must keep up with assignments




An online writing course could be just what you need to take your writing to the next level. If you have taken classes from any of these providers, share your experience in the comments below. If you know of other course providers that do a good job, let us know!

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