If You Want to Be a Writer,
This is the Place to Start.

Online Creative Writing Course: Essentials of Fiction

This 7-week e-mail course will show you the essential techniques that every fiction writer NEEDS to know.

You have stories inside you, waiting to come out. Express your unique imagination and write fiction that people will care about.

The best fiction can create intense experiences for the reader. It makes people cry and laugh out loud, stay up all night reading. It lets them escape their daily routine and live other lives. It changes the way they see the world and becomes a part of their memories.

You can learn how to write fiction that does all this. Essentials of Fiction puts the tools in your hands.

"I have to say that this course has been really inspiring and it's given my writing a new lease on life.”
     - Robin Gott


  • Week 1: The Daydream Technique
    You know that wonderful "lost in the book" feeling, as if you're living the story instead of just reading it? Discover an easy shortcut to create this feeling for your reader!

  • Week 2: Character Development
    Have you ever read a book with characters who felt like real people to you -- characters who keep you company, become your friends or enemies or even become part of yourself? Learn how to create characters who come alive.

  • Week 3: Plot Structure Find out how to give a story its shape -- and what keeps readers turning pages. In this lesson, you'll go step-by-step through the process of outlining a story plot.

  • Week 4: Showing and Telling
    "Show, don't tell" is common advice in creative writing classrooms. Find out what this advice REALLY means (hint: it DOESN'T mean add more description!). Learn how to write scenes that make readers feel like they're experiencing your story first-hand.

  • Week 5: Point of View
    Learn how to choose the right "camera angle" for your story and use it to pull readers into your scenes.

  • Week 6: Dialogue
    Give each of your characters a unique voice that the reader can "hear" on the page.

  • Week 7: Setting and Description
    Build a three-dimensional environment where your characters can live and where the events of your story can happen. Control your readers' imaginations so that they'll picture the story the way you want them to.

Your teacher
Essentials of Fiction Writing is taught by Nancy Strauss, the Online Courses Director at Creative Writing Now. Nancy has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where she has also taught creative and expository writing.

What you get in the course

Essentials of Fiction Writing includes:

  • seven e-mail lessons (one lesson a week for seven weeks. The first lesson will normally be sent to you within an hour after you confirm your course registration.)
  • weekly exercises included in the lessons
  • the chance to e-mail any questions about the lessons to a writing teacher.*
  • the chance to publish your writing on the class blog.

*Please note that feedback on your writing assignments is not included in this course, which has been designed for self-study. While teachers will be available to answer general questions, they will not be able to read or comment on your creative writing.

We guarantee the value of this course. If you change your mind any time during the first 20 days, you can ask for a refund.

Comments from Our Students

“Wow! I loved this first lesson. I loved every minute of writing writing writing. I really look forward to my 2nd lesson.”
     - Sarah

“I received lesson 2. Thanks! It's a great exercise! I enjoyed this so much!”
     - Amie Agcanas

“I have really enjoyed lesson 2... what I have written isn't fantastic, probably not good at all, but it made me think, and made me use the imagination that I haven't used for a long time... in this way anyway. Loving the course.”
     - Wendy

“I liked the analogy of thinking in terms of Plot A to Plot B as I struggled with conflict development in this lesson. I see this as a great organizational tool to outline a story.”
     - Martha

“This was a great lesson and at just the right time! I have two different stories in the works. Lesson #3 has given me a place to start to develop the events, issues, timing, and questions that my characters can ask.”
     - William B.

“I find Lesson 4 very interesting, so much so that all the distractions facing me at the moment of writing were not able to actually distract me.”
     - Linda

“Writing opposite points of view in a blind date scene was fun. And revealing. I think that I might play with different points of view in stories that I'm writing and can't seem to move along.”
     - Robbie

“Thanks for this lesson. I used it for one of the characters in my newest WIP and I got a very interesting scene out of it!”
     - Carolyn

“Innovative and stimulating.”
     - Charles Hartik

"Thanks for this awesome learning opportunity."
     - Claire

Sign up now

Essentials of Fiction Writing- Includes 7 e-mail lessons, weekly assignments, the chance to publish on the course blog, and the chance to ask a teacher general questions. Feedback on assignments is currently not available for this course.
Total price - $15.87

Buy Now

“Essentials of Fiction proved that I could indeed write and I wrote every day, much to my boyfriend's dismay (waa sniff).”
     - Jill Gairdner

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions you may have about the course:

Q: How/when will I get my lessons?

A: Your answers will be sent to you by e-mail, once a week for eight weeks. Here's how it works: when you purchase the course, you will be asked for an e-mail address. After your purchase is complete, you will normally receive the first lesson within one hour.

Q: How much time will I need to complete the assignments?

A: The lessons are specially designed so that you can read and absorb them quickly. And the writing assignments can also be completed fast. But as with most things, what you get out of this course depends on what you put into it. So we suggest making time to revise your weekly assignments and do some additional writing. Ideally, try to schedule a regular time for your writing at least five days a week -- even if it is only ten minutes per day.

Q: Will I have to buy any books or additional materials?

A: There are no additional materials required for the course. The online format will also save you money versus an offline course, where you would have logistical expenses such as transportation, parking, childcare, and so on.

Q: Is the course just for fiction writing, or will it help me write essays, articles, poetry, etc.?

A: The course is focused on fiction-writing (short stories or novels). If you are mainly interested in writing essays, articles, poetry, or another genre, this course may not be right for you.

Q: What if I don't understand something in one of the lessons?

A: No worries. You can e-mail us, and a teacher will answer your questions about the course.

Q: How do I get feedback on my writing assignments?

A: We currently do not offer a teacher feedback option for this course. However, you will have the chance to publish your fiction on the course blog, where other students might leave comments.

Q: How soon do I have to decide?

A: If you're really interested in taking this course, it is safer to sign up now while it's still open.

Q: What if I change my mind after I purchase the course?

A: No problem! If you change your mind, just ask us for a refund. You can send us an e-mail any time during the first 20 days, and just tell us you've changed your mind, then we'll refund 100% of your payment. No hassle; no hard feelings. So you actually have nothing to lose by signing up for the course now.

Q: What if my question was not answered here?

A: Please just send us an e-mail, and we'll be delighted to answer all your questions.

“I have enjoyed fresh ideas and having my thoughts challenged.”
     - Lisa Vandiver

“It's absolutely perfect! I want more!”
     - Amanda

Sign up now

Essentials of Fiction Writing- Includes 7 e-mail lessons, weekly assignments, the chance to publish on the course blog, and the chance to ask a teacher general questions. Feedback on assignments is currently not available for this course.
Total price - $15.87

Buy Now

P.S. Still not sure? Give the course a try and see what you think. You have 20 days to decide if it's for you or ask for a refund.

Questions? Please contact us


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