Where Can I Find Free Courses in Creative Writing?

You can find free creative writing courses online through several accredited colleges and universities. Keep reading to learn about courses offered by MIT and Purdue University. Schools offering Creative Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Creative writers must know how to create realistic characters, describe detailed locations, develop plot twists and direct the events of the story. You can learn about these writing techniques, examine the creative process and complete sample assignments through free, online courses. A PDF reader generally is required to access materials for these noncredit courses, and you'll need a word processing program to complete sample assignments.


1. Writing and Reading Short Stories from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Assignments and lecture notes for this OpenCourseWare (OCW) class are presented in PDF files.

What Topics Are Included?

You can learn how to create stories by using the course's writing exercises, required readings and workshops. Methods for analyzing stories, discovering narrative techniques and developing your thought process are included. You can also learn how to build story plots, create characters, describe places and determine themes.

What Assignments Can I Complete?

You can write two fictional short stories during the course. Examples are provided on the website's assignments section. Textbook readings are also outlined. Other writing exercises are provided in the course lecture notes.

What Materials Will I Need?

The course syllabus lists one required textbook. You will also need a PDF reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, to access the lecture notes and assignments.

2. The Creative Spark from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This non-credit OCW class illustrates writing techniques by using writing projects, readings and study materials. The course materials are available individually in PDF format or together as a single zip file.

What Topics Are Included?

During this course you will learn about the creative writing process, develop writing skills and customize your writing based on your audience and purpose as a writer. You can also learn to critique your own writing as well as the work of others.

What Assignments Can I Complete?

The course has 25 assignments, which include reviewing portfolio creation steps and reading materials. You can also complete ten journal entries on the writing process, in addition to composing three individual essays.

What Materials Will I Need?

To access the assignments and study materials, you'll need a PDF reader. You'll also need a word processing program or notepad to record journal entries and essays. A college dictionary is strongly recommended.

3. Fiction Writing Basics from Purdue University

This free tutorial's writing tips, sample assignments and recommended reading materials are presented on a series of Web pages.

What Topics Are Included?

The tutorial has sections on character development, plot, perspective and theme. Tips on realistic conflict, crisis and resolution can help you construct believable interactions between protagonists and antagonists. The differences between first, second, and third person perspectives are also illustrated.

What Assignments Can I Complete?

The tutorial's third section has multiple creative writing exercises. You can expand on a specific idea, write a short story, narrate using active verbs and convert a boring situation into an interesting one. Exercises for writing descriptions, character outlines and a self-portrait are also included.

What Materials Will I Need?

An Internet connection and updated browser are required to view the website, but the option to print the materials enables offline access. A computer program for writing, such as Microsoft Word, or a notepad and pencil is necessary for completing the sample assignments. Section two of the tutorial lists recommended reading materials.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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