Fire up your Fiction! 9 Powerful Online Fiction Writing Courses

Fire up your Fiction! 9 Powerful Online Fiction Writing Courses

Online Fiction Writing Courses

There are now many great creative writing and online fiction writing courses. You could probably write a short story or outline a novel in the time it will take you to research and compare what’s out there. So, without any more time wasting, we’ve put together a few top courses that will get you back to writing…

Writing Tools

Scrivener Full Course on How to Write a Book in Scrivener

This course taught by Karen Prince will help you to master all the major features of your Scrivener writing software to write ebooks and paperback books. The course consists of 44 video lessons that will teach you all of Scrivener’s basics from setting things up, writing, sorting and editing to compiling your book for export.

Scrivener Simplified: How To Compile Your eBook for Export

This course taught by James Burchill is perfect for self-published authors. Includes BONUS a “BestSeller” Mindmap. The course contains 31 video lessons to cut right to the chase of exporting your ebook in MOBI, EPUB, PDF & more.

Outlining

Fiction Writing: A Complete Novel Outline Chapter by Chapter

In this course taught by Mike Dickson, learn the Hollywood secret to completing a comprehensive novel outline in as little as 2 weeks. After 42 video lessons, you will understand what a comprehensive novel outline should look like to give you the best chance at writing a complete first draft.

Writing

Write Your Best Fiction and Get It Published

This course is taught by Jeff Gerke, a five-time Writer’s Digest author. It has 45 video lessons from getting your best story idea to constructing your fiction proposal. Some of Jeff’s Writer Digest’s books include The Irresistible Novel, Plot Versus Character, The First 50 Pages, Write Your Novel in a Month, and The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction.

Novel Writing Workshop

This course taught by Steve Alcorn will help you turn your idea into a published novel, step by step. with 27 video lessons. Whether you’re a first-time novelist still planning your story or an experienced author looking for ways to bring your fiction to life Novel Writing Workshop will help you from your story structure all the way to getting published.

The Disobedient Writer: Break the Rules and Free Your Story

This course taught by Anya Achtenberg is a guide to taking your fiction writing and memoir writing beyond the same old formula and telling unforgettable stories. It consists of 39 video lessons that aim to free you from the tyranny of the rules and offer a solid foundation of techniques, or roads into writing, that expand your understanding of the workings of creativity, language, and story, and help you discover and bring forward your own best work.

Writing for Online Engagement: Fiction in a Digital World

This course taught by Rebecca Sky will introduce you to online fiction writing and you will learn the frameworks, techniques, and strategies for establishing, engaging, and growing a community around your work. 11 video lessons cover today’s writing landscape, tips for serialized fiction, merchandising individual stories, and marketing your work to build your personal brand — all to help you find success.

Revising

Revise and Edit Your Own Novel

This course taught by Ellen Brock will help you learn how to edit your own novel for traditional or self-publication with the help of a professional editor. In 29 video lessons, she walks you through examining your story structure and pacing, point of view, chapters and scenes, dialogue, and punctuation.

Publishing

Sell Your Novel to a Major Publisher (Writing Mastery)

This course taught by Jessica Brody is a comprehensive, step-by-step insider’s guide to selling your book and becoming a paid, published author. With 61 video lesson, she takes you from understanding the types of publishing, the entire publishing process, working with agents, creating your pitch and query letter, selling your novel, and navigating your book contract.

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Please let us know if you’ve tried any of these online fiction writing courses and what you think, or if you have others to recommend.

Please share your current fiction writing project!

Letter to a young creative writer — How do I start?

Letter to a young creative writer — How do I start?

Letter to a young creative writer

Read and write as much as possible

This is to discover what kind of creative writing you would like to do. Most people will tell you to write the kind of things you like to read.

Some of the choices would be:

  • Fiction: short stories, novels, short-shorts
  • Nonfiction: Personal essays, magazine features, memoir, journaling, blogging, travel essays, nature writing
  • Poetry: Prose poems, haiku, sonnets, verse, and many more types

It might take many years and lots of writing before you know what you enjoy writing the most. You don’t have to pick one kind or genre…many people write fiction, articles, and poetry, or some combination, but you might discover that your writing “voice” is best suited to one genre or type.

Don’t worry too much about finding your writing “voice” at this point. You will discover that over the course of your being a creative writer.

Spark your Imagination

Creative writer

Unsplash.com — Riley Mccullough

No matter what kind of creative writing you decide you enjoy, finding ways to connect to your imagination is key.

Some writers use their dreams as a starting point, like Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.

Other writers may start with photographs like Ranson Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Many writers like Henry David Thoreau, Annie Dillard, and Edward Abbey use nature to spark their imagination.

Still, others have started writing from artwork. This practice is called, exphrasis. Homer, Keats, and Ruskin are known for this type of writing.

Take some time to explore each of these sources of creativity. Also, don’t be afraid to start with a line of existing poetry or other writing and use this as your jumping off point. Sometimes we need to have some words on the page to get the creative writing juices flowing.

Learning from the Masters

creative writer

Unsplash.com — Lia Leslie

And speaking of the blank page, some writers suggest that you write out poems and fiction to learn how each sentence or phrase is constructed. Not too many people have patience for this, but if you want to understand how great writers write, there is no substitute for learning how to write a masterful sentence.

Indeed, many poetry creative writing classes still require that students memorize whole poems and then recite them. It is standard practice for students learning to paint to try to duplicate a masterpiece. Why should it be different for the creative writer?

The Disobedient Writer: Break the Rules and Free Your Story
An unconventional guide to taking your fiction writing beyond the same old formula and telling unforgettable stories

Seize the day!

When you get older, you will discover that a large part of being a creative writer is finding the time for it. Now is the best time for you to build in good writing habits — write every day! — because before you know it, you will have a job, school, kids, and all kinds of other distractions that will compete for your energy and focus.

Inspiration

“And then there is inspiration. Where does it come from? Mostly from the excitement of living. I get it from the diversity of a tree or the ripple of the sea, a bit of poetry, the sighting of a dolphin breaking the still water and moving toward me, anything that quickens you to the instant. And whether one would call this inspiration or necessity, I really do not know.” –Martha Graham, Blood Memories

What has inspired you to write? Brainstorm and write down as many of these things as you can. Pick one of these and write from the emotion it invokes in you. It is okay to write from anger or sadness. Any strong emotion is a great starting point for your creative writing. And don’t forget that you have a body! Write how it feels in your body and what your senses are experiencing in that moment.

The best writing is in the details.

Dare to be yourself.

What is a memoir  —  the ultimate memoir writer’s toolkit

What is a memoir  —  the ultimate memoir writer’s toolkit

What is a memoir?

How to be a memoir Rockstar — the ultimate memoir writer’s toolkit

what is a memoir?

Unsplash.com

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
— Dr. Seuss

“Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, “We *told* you not to tell.” But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on.”
— Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Perhaps you thought it would be easy…writing your life’s story, or just one small part…

After all, you know all the characters so well. Hey, you even get to be the protagonist!

You don’t even need to dream up a plot; you have already lived the vivid details. You just need to write it all down, right?

But when you start writing your memoir, you find it is, well, hard. REALLY hard.

You wrestle with:

What is a memoir, exactly?

Which point of view to use?

Do I start in the past or present?

Why does my narrator sound: snarky | whiny | apathetic?

How do I keep from hurting the ones I love?

How do I remember what was really said?

So many unanswered questions!

Sorry, I don’t have all the answers but I have rounded up this ultimate list* of those who do.

For the most part, this list consists of what is a memoir and “how to” write a memoir, not actual memoirs.

Please comment below if you see one that I have missed! And, please comment on your favorite memoir writing book on the list!

*Thanks to Maureen Murdock and Jennifer Selig for their list contributions.

“Harry Bernstein was a total failure when he wrote his bestselling memoir, The Invisible Wall. His prior forty (forty!) novels had been rejected by publishers. When his memoir came out, he was ninety-three years old. A quote from him: “If I had not lived until I was 90, I would not have been able to write this book, God knows what other potentials lurk in other people, if we could only keep them alive well into their 90s.”
— James Altucher (Choose Yourself)

what is a memoir?

Unsplash.com

The ultimate what is a memoir “how to” list:

If reading a few from this list doesn’t help you learn what is a memoir, or how to start, well, I’m guessing you need to turn to fiction!

Speaking of fiction, don’t miss out on our Signed Outlander Easton Press giveaway!

How to write & train your brain to be a kick-ass writer every day – Tip #498

How to write & train your brain to be a kick-ass writer every day – Tip #498

How to write by training your brain

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
― Neil Gaiman

Are you wondering how to write? I mean, you know how to write, but maybe you are wondering how to write consistently and more, much more.

Are you staring at the screen or page with no clue, or are you jumping out of bed because you urgently need to get your ideas written?

Which writer do you want to be?

There are those writers who wait for inspiration to come and those that write every day no matter the circumstances or their mood.

There are those writers who wait for inspiration to come and those that write every day no… Click To Tweet

It no accident or happy quirk of birth that allows some writers to pour forth a steady stream of words at a decent pace and to do so almost every day.

If you are reading this post, I’m guessing that you too would like the secret to the magic writing formula. And yes, there is one.

The “how to write” more formula is to train your brain.

Warning. The training is some work. It takes discipline. If you are not serious about becoming a writing machine leave now and go watch some cat videos.

via GIPHY

Okay, now that it is just us serious people, here are the basics (details follow the list):

  1. Before you go to bed, think about what you might write the next day
  2. Set your alarm for at least 30 minutes early
  3. Sit down to write every day at the same time
  4. Rinse and repeat

Yup, that’s it. But wait; let’s break these points down a bit. (I can hear some of you thinking, this is stupid common sense, why waste my time reading on. Read that Stephen King quote again. It works for him – ’nuff said?)

Before you go to bed, think about what you might write the next day

Perhaps you don’t know if you want to write fiction, articles, memoirs or some other genre. That is okay. You will figure out what you are best suited to write over time. But that will only happen if you write enough to figure that out. So, for this exercise, let’s assume you want to write a blog post every day.

To train your brain, it is helpful to have a framework or a theme. This cuts down on the work of weeding through the entire universe. If you have a narrow focus, your brain can magnify the details. Writing is about the details.

For example, my current theme is helping writers by giving them 500 writing tips and prompts. When I go to bed, I know that I only have to write one tip the next day. This small focus lets my brain get busy. It doesn’t have to think about all the other things I could be writing. It knows it just needs to find that one needle by the time I sit down to write the next morning. Easy.

Sometimes, I already know what I want to write about the next day because it came to me during the day. But many times, I let my unconscious work on it through my dreams, which leads to step 2.

Set your alarm for at least 30 minutes early

I do my best creative thinking in the hypnagogic state between sleep and wakefulness. I set my alarm for 30 minutes early so I can linger in this state before I actually need to get up.

In this state, sometimes a fragment of a dream becomes an idea. But usually, I get a full idea for my writing that appears from the mist of this hypnogogic state. By thinking about my writing before I go to sleep and allowing it to work through the dream states, my unconscious rewards this steeping with an answer when I wake.

It may not happen for you the first few times you try this, but with time, it will. Read Naomi Epel’s book, Writers Dreaming: 25 Writers Talk about Their Dreams and the Creative Process to see how this process has worked for many writers.

Write Your Best Fiction and Get It Published
Learn the 10 essentials of fiction-writing mastery from a world-class teacher and Writer’s Digest fiction expert

Sit down to write every day at the same time

This step is perhaps the most important. It doesn’t matter what time a day it is, but make sure it is free from distractions. For most writers, this usually means getting up before the rest of the household. If you are single with no needy toddlers about, then you may not need to set your alarm extra early, but chances are you still have a job to get to. If not a commute and somewhere you have to be, then you have other distractions such as email and phone calls which with to contend. For some a lunch hour works well. And for some, you must write late at night. You probably already know when you have the least distractions and the most energy. This is the sweet spot for writing consistently.

But the point is, to train your brain to be a writing warrior; you need to get it accustomed to a steady practice. This is difficult to quantify and prove, but so many writers have testified to the fact that they write more consistently if they write at the same time every day.

This consistency seems to make the brain ready. It is in a waiting and prepared state for you to begin. Perhaps a poor analogy, but think of your dog waiting for his morning treat. He knows full well that once you’ve gotten your tea and toast, it is coming. He waits patiently in his snack-getting-spot because he knows this is what happens every morning without fail. You don’t have to think about it, and neither does he. It is routine. This is how you want your writing habit to be. A routine removes the distractions, greases the wheels, and lets the writing flow.

how to write

Rinse and repeat

Of course, a routine and habit comes only with repetition. None of this is glamorous or surprising. But I will hold out that if you commit to these training steps, you will discover its magic.

  • You will have more ideas than you can write about in a lifetime.
  • You will wake excited to get to your computer or pen.
  • You won’t have to struggle for a word count.
  • You will have more pages than time to revise.

how to write

Writing prompt – No fairy dust required

Brainstorm several themes or a writing project that you’d like to write about over time. Pick one of these and break it down into ten smaller topics. If you already have a theme or project, come up with ten new topics that you can write about in one writing session, one per session. The trick is to make each topic small enough that you can cover most of it in an hour or two. If writing fiction, these topics would be one scene per session. You would not need to complete each in a session but it would get you going each day.

Now, you have a topic or scene to muse on before going to bed (Step 1). You will be surprised what happens overnight. If nothing happens the first or second time, you do have a starting point for your writing session. Start with a title or a first sentence and keep going. In this case, more is more. The more you write consistently, the more writing will come without effort.

Equipped with this idea, you don’t need to be in the mood to write or need to wait for inspiration. You now know how to write, now go.

Scrivener

If you dare, please share your results from the writing prompt in the comments below or something about your writing process.

Please join the #500WordsClub and let us know what you’re working on!

Carla Paton, Ph.D.-c is a writer, marketer, and Depth Psychologist. She loves helping writers with quick and easy marketing tips so they can get back to writing. Grab your free Power Words Cheat Sheet for Busy Writers, and then make those words shine!

500 writing tips and prompts #499 first draft & the enemy of the people

500 writing tips and prompts #499 first draft & the enemy of the people

Shitty first draft

“The first draft of anything is shit.”
— Ernest Hemingway

 

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

— Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

How many times have you started some writing but ran out of time because you were editing yourself over and over?

Or perhaps you got 1,000 words done, but were exhausted by self-doubt?

Stop the madness!

first draftI can think of no better writing tip to start off my 500 series of writing tips and prompts, than the shitty first draft mantra.

When first starting a project, repeat, I only need to write a shitty first draft. Frame it; stick it on your monitor.

When first starting a project, repeat, I only need to write a shitty first draft. Click To Tweet

Be forgiving of yourself, and remember, you only need to get words on paper for a first draft. Do not edit as you go. Turn off your Grammarly (and maybe remove the backspace key). You will need to revise, but the first draft is not the time.

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft — you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft — you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it’s loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.

— Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Stop the editing and self-doubt; no one cares about your first draft and neither should you.

Now, let those fingers fly!

Writing prompt

Write a shitty first draft of a secret you’ve never told anyone (or hey make one up!). Write for 15 minutes, write, don’t think, do not stop.

Write Your Best Fiction and Get It Published
Learn the 10 essentials of fiction-writing mastery from a world-class teacher and Writer’s Digest fiction expert

If you’re brave, please share your results in the comments below or your writing process.

Please join the #500WordsClub and let us know what you’re working on!

About the author. Carla Paton, Ph.D.-c is a writer, marketer, and Depth Psychologist. She loves helping writers with quick and easy marketing tips so they can get back to writing. Grab your free Power Words Cheat Sheet for Busy Writers, and then make those words shine!

Write 500 Words a Day Club Challenge #500WordsClub

Write 500 Words a Day Club Challenge #500WordsClub

Be Awesome – Write 500 Words a Day Club Challenge

You think you’ll never finish any writing project. Ever.

I’ve been there, and have tried all the tricks.

Set my alarm early. Check.

Beautiful sunrise. Check.

No checking of email. Check.

Disconnect from the Internet. Check.

Set my writing timer for 45 minutes. Check.

Blank page. Check.

Squirrel.

Write 500 words a day

2 hours later…Commute…email, problems, more email, problems, kids, dog escape, husband, kids, problems, snacks. Commute, laundry, dishes,
treadmill, shower, exhaustion. Rinse, repeat.

Be Great – How to Write 500 Words a Day

Yes, all the tricks we do to write are necessary. And I will write more
about them in the days to come, but above all, it is accountability that will help us to keep the squirrels in their rightful trees and not scurrying across our writing desks.

I am proposing that you join me in my quest and commitment to writing 500 words a day, no excuses.

Join me in my quest and commitment to writing 500 words a day, no excuses. Click To Tweet

Well, that’s fine for me, you say, but how do I know that you’ve done your writing for the day?

Write 500 Words a day

Easy! You are going to tell me about your writing victories, by commenting below, or by tweeting your awesome daily accomplishments with the hashtag #500wordsclub.

When I see your comment or tweet, I will give you a shout out on my DailyMuseBooks Twitter feed.

By participating daily in this FREE epic writing adventure you get:

  • 500 words written a day (reward enough, no?)
  • Kudos & more encouragement
  • Exposure of your writing project (if you want)
  • Inspirational tips and ideas to keep you motivated

Be Awesome – How to Write 500 Words a Day- Every Day

In the #500wordsclub you will get more kudos and support from the others in the same battle to get words on the page. You are going to tweet and share this right?!

Likewise, support your fellow clubbers by giving them a twitter or comment high five.

Write 500 Words a Day

Accountability is the golden writing key.

If you can’t afford a personal writing coach to kick your butt, then use the free writing #500wordsclub to support your efforts. Also get daily inspirational tips to keep you motivated.

Conclusion

The world is asleep.

You have your comfy, steaming mug of tea.

You have closed the door to intrusions and future-cares.

You have primed the writing well the night before.

You hit the blank screen running. Before you know it, an hour has passed and wah-lah! 500 words have made their way onto your page.

You can do this. And you can do it every day.

Join the #500WordsClub and get the support you need to write 500 words a day, get your writing finished, and out in the world.

About the Author

Carla Paton, Ph.D.-c is a writer, marketer, and Depth Psychologist. She
loves helping writers with quick and easy marketing tips so they can get
back to writing. Grab your free Power Words Cheat Sheet for Busy Writers, and then make those words shine!