Course Syllabus


Course Description

'Creative Writing 101' is an attempt to capture what cannot be held in hand or thought--the elusive riddle of human creativity as we find it in our writing. Here we look at various forms and genres (books, dramas and plays, poetry, essays, film-writing, stories in general, etc.) as they relate to the creative impulse.

We also talk about the Writer's Voice and personality, writing as therapy, illusions about writing, legend and mythos, and other areas where a creative writer may find inspiration, advice or enlightening conjecture. This self-paced course is offered to writers everywhere with hat-in-hand, for what it may be worth. Test and review questions, and also lesson exercises are included at the end of each lesson to build mastery.

What is that something? Anyone who knew would be the world's greatest living author. The search, though, is half the fun, and that is really what we are presenting here. Your artistic capacities are not illusions or mere ego. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, your artistic talent is a gift of your human nature, just like your smile, the way you walk, and things like your ability with math or your knack for a musical instrument. Our passage on Earth is short. To seek and find that something within yourself that we call "creativity" is to link with the Divine, the ultimate Creator if you are religious. So maybe there is something there.

Creativity is important in so many areas of life. Sometimes, when we are creative outside of the norm, such as making the choice to rob a bank, our inventive ways are disastrous. A child might mix some household chemicals just to see what happens, and right before the kitchen explodes, the child's mother snatches the dangerous combination away with a sigh of relief. On the other hand, it also is true that throughout the long story of humankind, our curiosity, our necessity and innate ability to dream, and our vision of things unformed and shapeless has saved us from many troubles and improved the quality of life for billions. That is creativity, too.

What do you need to know about creativity in your writing? Certainly, most writers will not even begin to write their first story without a gentle inner urging of some kind. We read, and we enjoy reading; so we already have ideas about the written works we love: the characteristics that make them superior, that give us a thrill, that we see as creative.
A phone book can be a creative endeavor. The people who put these books together have dozens of choices to make, each a creative selection for the way the phone book is laid out. For example, they must choose the font style and size of print, what names will be included, and whether to put the business section ahead of or behind the residential section. Then there are all those glorious and colorful advertisements. An actor like Al Pacino can pick up the same phone book and read through it with as much passion and elocution as though he were reading a great Shakespearean theatrical work. That is creative.
What you need to know about your own creative process in your creative writing you probably already know and may never be able to learn from a course like this one.

So we nurture this precious flame. We hold it dear, we coddle and cajole, we muse. We protect our creativity, give it health, and encourage ourselves as we choose. Encouragement is something writers need perhaps more than other artists because, unlike a dance, song, or sculpture, written works require time and effort to be read. They have to be printed or published in some way, and your artistic feedback loop is considerably different from that of Al Pacino, who gets his warm fuzzies from a full-house audience applauding wildly when he performs on stage. It can take years of work before anyone, anywhere, even acknowledges that you are, in fact, a writer of some kind. But that flame, so bright and urgent in compassionate love, creates an urge to put words to paper that you just cannot resist.

How do we nurture creativity? Knocking yourself on the head is one way that works for a majority of serious writers. Seriously, however, we are talking about a mental process, something even the Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, admits he does not understand. Great mystics of the past, including Saint Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, and various yogis, gurus, and Brahmans, do not understand it, either. It is much more like nurturing your whole person, your entire being, your whole view of life or way of participating in things going on. It is not pulling creativity itself out of a secret place, taking a quick look at it, analyzing it to death, and then expecting it to still function in the way we want. It really cannot be known, and in a sense it really does not even belong to you. Nurturing creativity in writing is nurturing yourself and your own sacred inner life.

Thus we see that striving to be creative has value. It makes you feel good to be creative; it makes other people feel good. It improves your health. It makes you smile. Maybe it makes you rich, who knows? It can make you popular and great in romantic relationships, or, like the kid in the kitchen with the chemicals, it can blow up in your face.
Take heed as you link your feeble mind to that of the Divine: It is a long way down from some of those creative highs, and more than one author has found his or her way to the local mental hospital by way of that same innate, passionate creativity. Maybe you just want to drive your readers crazy or your spouse crazy with all that keyboard pecking. It makes such an awful sound, hour after hour. Click-clickity-clack, on and on.

Here is a creative description of that: It is funny that they call it typing when in fact it is mostly writing that is happening. One could call it highly organized, alphabet peck-work. Twenty-six letters to infinity; you have to be pretty creative to get an art form out of that. In the realm of ideas, though, innovation is not a fraud. It is the flow of life and movement and "beingness" happening constantly to every one of us alive. It is thesis, antithesis, synthesis, and recombining reality with words into something new for yourself and others.

What is creative writing? In a word: fun!

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

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define ways to develop personal creativity in writing.
  • Describe various written forms and define the creative flow.
  • Demonstrate creativity through easy essays.
  • Describe dramatic forms.
  • Demonstrate your personality in your writing.
  • Compare and contrast writing a novel versus writing a short story.
  • Describe how writing can be therapeutic.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
Introductions 1 points
Lesson 1 Creativity in Writing 20 points
Lesson 1 Exam 7 points
Lesson 2 Creative Forms of Writing 20 points
Lesson 2 Exam 7 points
Lesson 3 Assignment A 30 points
Lesson 3 Assignment B 20 points
Lesson 3 Assignment C 20 points
Lesson 3 Exam 75 points
Lesson 4 Assignment A 30 points
Lesson 4 Assignment B 10 points
Lesson 4 50 points
Lesson 5 Stories and Fictions 50 points
Assignment 5A 20 points
Lesson 5 Exam 9 points
Lesson 6 Assignment A 30 points
Lesson 6 Assignment B 30 points
Lesson 6 44 points
Lesson 7 Assignment A 30 points
Lesson 7 Assignment B 25 points
Lesson 7 54 points
Lesson 8 Assignment A 20 points
Lesson 8 Assignment B 30 points
Lesson 8 Exam 42 points
Lesson 9 Exam 8 points
Lesson 10 Assignment A 30 points
Lesson 10 Assignment B 10 points
Lesson 10 Assignment C 25 points
Lesson 10 9 points
Lesson 11 False Ideas About Writing 35 points
Lesson 11 Exam 6 points
Lesson 12 Assignment A 25 points
Lesson 12 52 points
Lesson 13 Assignment A 15 points
Lesson 13 Assignment B 15 points
Lesson 13 Assignment C 25 points
Lesson 13 7 points
Lesson 14 Assignment 35 points
Lesson 14 Exam 4 points
Lesson 15 Assignment A 15 points
Lesson 15 Assignment B 25 points
Lesson 15 Assignment C: Final Assignment 25 points
Lesson 15 Final Exam 4 points
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