Creative Writing Workshop


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  • 13
    Lessons
  • 28
    Exams &
    Assignments
  • 14
    Hours
    average time
  • 1.4
    CEUs
  • 4,538
    Students
    have taken this course
 
 
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Course Description

Do you dream of writing poetry, short stories, or novels? Have you ever watched a movie or a play and felt the desire to write a script of your own? Or have you already done some writing but want to find ways to bring more creativity, more originality, to your writing? Have you ever read a so-so novel or seen a lousy movie and told yourself, "I bet I could do better?" Do you find yourself excited and intrigued by words, and by their sounds and meanings?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then this course is for you. A creative writer makes art just as a painter or sculptor does, but with different tools. Instead of brushes, canvas, and pigments, the writer uses words. While the painter produces a painting we can see in front of us, the writer makes magic of a different sort. With a simple palette of letters and punctuation - just lines and symbols scratched on paper or scattered on a computer screen - the writer can create pictures and even entire worlds within a reader's mind.

There are many forms of creative writing, from fiction, to poetry, to stage play and screenplay. Within each form there are countless genres and flavors. As a writer, you can (and should) try your hand at as many forms as you like, or you can specialize in one. There are techniques and practices that are common to all forms of creative writing, and we will discuss those here. We will also touch on the challenges and techniques that make writing in the different forms unique. Throughout this course, you will find numerous exercises designed to get your brain - and your hand - moving.
Decide where your words will go. Will you write longhand, with pen and paper, or will you type your words on a keyboard?

Unless you are an accomplished typist, I recommend writing longhand for now. As you work on your writing, you want to let the words flow out of you and onto the page, unhampered by your limited typing speed. If you create a piece you really like and want to work on further, you can always type it into a computer document and revise it on the screen. As you type up work you like, your typing speed and skill will improve. Eventually you will be able to create the same flow with a keyboard that you now can with your writing hand. 

For now, though, choose simple paper and pen. Use a fancy journal or composition book if you like, or just a simple spiral-bound notebook. Buy a sexy fountain pen or just grab a lowly ballpoint from that mug by the phone. Any working pen and paper will do. After all, they are just tools. It is what you do with them that counts.

Daily Practice 

The best way to improve your writing is to write every day. Think of your creativity as a system of muscles that you want to tone up and condition. Tennis players, runners, and other athletes practice their sports nearly every day, with perhaps one day off a week to rest and heal their muscles. If a long distance runner never ran except on race days, he might not even be able complete a race, never mind win one.

Many would-be writers make the mistake of waiting for inspiration. I'll write a story, they say, when I get a good idea for one. But just as the sprinter whose long hours of physical conditioning give him the burst of speed at race time, the writer who conditions herself with regular writing finds her ideas coming more easily. Inspiration will come more readily to you as you hone your writing skills.

There will be days when you sit down to write but feel you have absolutely nothing to say. On these days it is important to say something anyway. The runner gets up and runs when the weather is gloomy and his muscles are sore, and he'd rather be doing anything else but running. He knows that his discipline and conditioning will pay off later. Working your writing muscles gets you in shape for the day when the big inspiration does come.

Read, Read, Read!
 

All successful writers are avid readers. Immerse yourself in the world of words. If you do not already do so, commit not only to writing, but also to reading every day. If you have a specific form in mind, read widely in that form, but don't limit yourself. The poet learns things from reading novels. The playwright learns from reading short stories. Don't feel the need to actively absorb and learn from your reading. Don't stress yourself out, thinking, "I have to pay attention to how this writer constructs her paragraphs." Just read, and enjoy yourself. The learning happens unconsciously and naturally. There is a place for actively studying the work of writers you admire, but don't worry about that now.

Your reading may inspire you to write stories or poems of your own, but at times, reading great literature may also intimidate or discourage you. You may ask yourself, how could I possibly ever write this well? Remember that the work you are reading may have been re-written a dozen times before it was published. Some writers do twenty drafts of a work before showing it to the world. Don't make the mistake of comparing published work to your first draft. And even if you aren't the likes of Ernest Hemingway (yet), there's still plenty of joy to be found in creative writing. 

You Have to Start Somewhere
 

If you haven't written much before, it's hard to know where to start. How does one even come up with the thousands of words necessary to complete a short story, let alone ten times that number to write a novel? In this course, we will go over many first steps you can take shortly, but for now it is important to remember that you don't have to take on a huge project now. You may know you have a novel in you, but wait a bit before you try to bring it out. Do smaller exercises. Limber up your writing muscles. Write something short. If you can fill a page or five with words, you are closer to making that novel happen, than if you can't.

Next, take yourself someplace you've never been. Try your favorite movie star's home, or an igloo in the Arctic Circle. Describe it in the same detail as you did the real location above. This time, of course, you have to make everything up. Don't worry about getting it right; just do your best to imagine the sights and sounds around you. What would the inside of an igloo look like? What would the people in it be doing? What sort of decorating does your movie star's home feature? How many rooms does it have, and is the place empty, or full of staff and hangers-on? What do they talk about when the star isn't listening? Try for two or three pages or more on this place, as well.

Creative writing is a form of  telepathy. When you see a place in your mind and describe it on paper, someone can read your writing and see the same place in his mind. Though no reader will imagine the scene exactly as you imagined it, there will still be similarities. Thus, your picture and story of a place travels from your mind to someone else's.

All Work is Play

Creative writing may sound like hard work. You need the discipline to show up and write regularly. Once you've written, you need to revise and polish. A longer work will take countless hours to complete. If you see writing as drudgery, you will avoid it. The key is to have fun. Play around with words. As a writer, you have the power to create and change universes.

A key to achieving this is to remember that what you write is private. While you may wish to share your writing with others, do so only when you choose to. You may imagine others looking over your shoulder, disapproving of what you write. We all have a critic inside ourselves who tells us what we are doing is no good. We will talk about gently nudging this critic out of our writing space. For now, remember that you can write anything you want, and no one will see it until you are ready for them to look. 

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider
 
 

Course Lessons

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Lesson 1: Small Steps

As a student of this course, and as a creative writer, you will be writing. Decide where your words will go. Will you write longhand, with pen and paper, or will you type your words on a keyboard? 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 1: Starting Small
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: Small Steps

Lesson 2: Getting Out of Your Own Way

If you long to write creatively, but you've had a hard time getting started, you are not alone. There are far more people in the world who wish they were writers, than those who actually write. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Combatting Fear
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Getting Out of Your Own Way

Lesson 3: Diving In

The path to inspired writing,is to write whether you feel inspired or not. Get up every day, and go jogging with your pen and your mind. Work your writing muscles and your writer's mind. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 3: Freewriting
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: Diving In

Lesson 4: Gear

If you have begun writing along with the exercises, rather than reading all the way through first, you have already made some decisions about the tools you will use as a writer. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Evaluating Tools
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: Gear

Lesson 5: Words on a Page

When asked how to write well, the Poet Dylan Thomas was said to have answered simply, "Love the words." As a writer, words are your primary tool. Fall in love with them. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 5: Show Don't Tell
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Words on a Page

Lesson 6 : On the Shoulders of Giants: Learning by Imitation

You can learn so much by reading and emulating the work of writers you admire. Learning from the work of those who came before us, is a time-honored and essential practice in all of the creative arts. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 6: Choosing Mentors
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6 : On the Shoulders of Giants: Learning by Imitation

Lesson 7: Finding Your Voice

No one has ever been exactly like you, and no one ever will be. You have a unique perspective on the world, a unique set of ideas, of values, of passions. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 7: Your Passions
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Finding your Voice

Lesson 8: Poetic Devices

More than any other kind of writer, poets play with words, combining them in ways they have not been combined before. One of many techniques poets use to communicate with readers is through figurative language. 30 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 8: Using Metaphors
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Poetic Devices

Lesson 9: Poetic Forms

Poetry can be written using any number of set forms, structures which govern the number of lines, the number of syllables per line, how rhymes (if any) are organized, and where breaks between lines occur. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review Article: Slam Poetry
  • Complete: Assignment 9: Sonnets and Haikus
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Poetic Forms

Lesson 10: Short Story

The short story is fiction in its most compressed form, and is often the place where the fiction writer begins. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Review Article: Rules and Tools
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Narrative Practice
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: Short Story

Lesson 11: The Long Haul: Writing a Novel

A short story is generally about a single event. A character is faced with a single situation, a single goal to achieve. When the character succeeds or fails at achieving this goal, the story ends. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 11: Creating Characters
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: The Long Haul: Writing a Novel

Lesson 12: Upstage, Downstage: Writing Drama

Have you ever gone to a play, or watched a movie, and gone home with the urge to write your own? Why not give a play or a screenplay a try? 33 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 12: Dialog Creation
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 12: Upstage, Downstage: Writing Drama

Lesson 13 : Conclusion

Creative writing is about making a leap into the unknown. It is about banishing your doubts and fears about your own talent and creativity, and plunging ahead. 196 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Take Poll: Your Opinion Matters: Course Rating
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment 13: Revising
  • Complete: The Final Creative Writing Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 13 : Conclusion
  • Complete: The Final Exam
590
Total Course Points
 

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know the steps to take before attempting to write.
  • Demonstrate writing from inspiration.
  • Demonstrate writing without inspiration.
  • Demonstrate writing through imitation.
  • Demonstrate writing in your own voice.
  • Know the processes involved in generating poetic forms.
  • Demonstrate writing a short story, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
 
Course Title: Creative Writing Workshop
Course Number: 9770551
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Category:
Course Type: College Level (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 1.4 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dana Kristan
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $90.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "Over all was very pleased and enjoyed the experience." -- Holly I.
  • "Everything was great! The instructor was thorough in each lesson and made points I never even thought about. She was very helpful." -- Ashley B.
  • "Great job. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and try some writing experiences I'd never thought I might like." -- Dot S.
  • "I found everything in this course extremely helpful! Some of the things I loved were... the writing exercises, the helpful websites BUT most of all the thing I appreciated most was the instructor's ability to champion me! Exceptional! Ms. Merritt is by far the BEST creative writing instructor I have ever come across ... UniversalClass is lucky to have her." -- Sangeetha P.
  • "I really appreciated the warm and understanding tone of the lessons." -- Kathleen R.
  • "Excellent learning environment." -- Donna N.
  • "The writing assignments and the instructor feedback were most helpful. I have taken two classes from this instructor, and I learned a great deal in both." -- Karen R.
  • View More Testimonials...

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