Five Sources of Online Writing Classes, Tips and Support
When I decided to try writing my first novel I had zero experience in writing novel length fiction. In fact, although I had a degree in journalism, I hadn't taken a class in creative writing since high school. But I also didn't have the time or money to enroll in most in-person classes I saw advertised.
So, I looked to the Internet and I was shocked at the quality and affordability of the classes and advice I found.
Here are a few sources of online classes and information on writing that have benefited me and that I think may benefit you too.
Romance Writers of America/RWA. The Romance Writers of America is an incredibly business and craft oriented group. The RWA is made up of many smaller chapters and many of those chapters offer online writing classes. Some require you to be a member, but many don't. And no, the classes aren't just for those interested in writing romance. One group in particular whose classes I found to be of good quality is the Kiss of Death chapter. This is an online group whose members write romantic suspense and romantic mysteries. As you might expect, they have many classes that focus on those areas, but they also offer classes of general interest. Check out their classes here.
Romance Divas is a free forum that also offers free classes. I taught a class myself there.
This next place is actually associated with the University of Wisconsin. The Department of Continuing Studies at University Wisconsin-Madison offers online and in person writing classes. As a beginning writer, I took their dialogue workshop and loved it. The format is flexible and you can choose whether to pay extra for feedback or not.
The How to Write Shop is a fairly new site that offers online writing classes in a variety of formats. They also offer paid critiques and a free database of articles on the craft and business of writing. In addition there is a "shop" with links to products just for writers. Even if you aren't interested in taking a class, you should stop by and read some of the articles.
Another thing writers need is support. You need a place to talk to other writers who are in the same place you are. When I was first getting started I was lucky to find such groups as RWA and Sisters in Crime. These groups use email loops and bulletin boards to communicate and it really is amazing the number of writing friends you can make this way. I was also thrilled to discover that the Guppies of Sisters in Crime and the Sisters in Crime Internet chapter both offered critique groups. I learned a ton just posting to those groups before I was ready to actually put down cash for a class.
With the beauty of the Internet so much is available to you and so much of it is free or at least affordable. You owe it to yourself to not be an island...check out a few of these links, make friends and improve your craft.