Check out some books by your tutor Fiona Veitch Smith … (click on the book covers to find out more)

fiona-veitch-smith-the-jazz-files fiona-veitch-smith-the-peace-garden fiona-veitch-smith-david-and-the-hairy-beast fiona-veitch-smith-david-and-the-giant

free creative writing courseAre you a beginner writer? Do you know you want to put pen to paper but not know where to start? This eight-session online creative writing course will give you an introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, from prose fiction to poetry. The course is entirely free and you can work through it at your own pace. The exercises are designed to help you start writing and self-analyse your work. Feedback from a tutor will not be provided. However, you may ask questions along the way if there is something you don’t understand about how the course is put together. Post them in the comments box.  If you have any questions about how the course operates before contacting me please check out the FAQ list on the menu above which covers pretty much everything – and that includes how to get started and whether or not it’s really free!

Please note: This is a free course but that does not mean you will receive free critiques of your writing. The critiquing service mentioned in the FAQ is separate to this course. I do not give feedback on the exercises. If you would like me to give my professional opinion on your creative writing beyond this course please contact me for a quote. There is a link to these rates on the FAQ page.

And now, back to the fun (and free!) stuff. The creative writing course will cover:

  1. Releasing your Creativity
    Explore how to tap into your creativity, and whether you are naturally more inclined towards writing poetry or prose.
  2. How to write a short story
    A look at how writing a short story differs from writing a novel, and some tips on short story structure.
  3. Writing from a point of view (POV)
    How your choice of first, second or third person POV can have a dramatic effect on how readers engage with your story.
  4. Bringing your writing to life
    How to activate your writing and transform it into a sensual experience.
  5. Writing characters
    Writing complex, believable characters to inhabit your literary world.
  6. Writing dialogue
    Your voice as an author, writing dialogue between characters, use of dialect, and some tips on the mechanics of laying out your text.
  7. Poetry: how to write poems
    The basics of writing poetry – lyric versus narrative, structured versus free verse, rhythm and meter.
  8. Markets, competitions and opportunities
    How to further develop your writing by joining a writer’s group and entering competitions, and some tips on getting published.

the-creative-writing-coursebookI’ll mention helpful books and other useful resources as we go, which you can buy or borrow from your library – how you get hold of them is up to you, but try to get a look at them. If you click on the book cover it will take you to the book on Amazon. A very useful book on creative writing in general is The Creative Writing Coursebook. Please note however, this is not a ‘text book’ for this course – it’s just a book I have personally found useful. You do not need to get this book, or for that matter any book to do the course. But of course, it will help deepen your learning if you do.

Any questions? Then check out the Frequently Asked Questions page. Otherwise…

>> Click here to get started.

Happy writing!

276 comments on “Contents

  1. Lee Jordaan on said:

    Brilliant this free course is BRILLIANT!

    Thank you for sharing this for free.
    Would be nice if we could get some critical feedback
    on exercises. But all in all thank you for this blog
    and the work you put into it. Much appreciated.

    Lee Jordaan South Africa JHB

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hi Lee, I used to charge £5 an exercise for critical feedback but I’ve had to put that on hold due to an overloaded work schedule. If things ease up in a few months I might bring it back in again. In the meantime, enjoy the course! The exercises were originally designed to help writers self-evauluate.

      All the best
      Fiona

  2. Paul Gregory on said:

    Looks quite interesting…

  3. Jessiexxx on said:

    If I wanted to send my work off to a publisher where would I begin and how would I be able to make sure that I am in contact with the right people that would be bothered about my work? I am only 14 and so far my novel is about 62 pages long, I think that your website has told me how I can help improve and finish my novel! I know I need to improve my novel but I wasn’t sure how untill I found this website so thank you so much x And could you suggest any career options that I would be able to take in the future? If you could reply I would be deeply grateful x

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hi Jessie, I would not advise sending your work off to publishers too soon. It can be very disappointing when you are rejected and you could give up writing. I suggest that you join a group for young writers. Here is an online one http://www.youngwritersonline.net/ They will be able to give you lots of advice and encouragement. If you want to be a writer I suggest you study creative writing and English literature at university. Or you could study journalism.

      Good luck with the novel!

      Fiona

  4. I am Asror young writer. I want to practice for my career.

  5. K.Nicole Hayes on said:

    Hi, I have a few novels that i want to send to get published but i’m not sure how to do that..i have been researching it and it says to find an agent and publisher. How do i find a GOOD agent and pulisher? thank you soo much!

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hello Nicole. There are thousands of agents and publishers listed on the internet. However, some of them may not be reputable. Make sure the agents are members of some kind of professional body such as The Association of Authors’ Representatives. Also do a general search – if authors have been burnt by an unreputable agent they will write about it! For publishers, there are also professional associations. Alternatively if they are listed on the Writers’ and Authors’ Yearbook or Writers’ Market websites they should be ok. As a rule of thumb: if an agent asks for a reading fee they are not above board. If a publisher asks you do buy a number of copies in advance or contribute to the cost of publishing their reputation is questionable.

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hello Nicole. There are thousands of agents and publishers listed on the internet. However, some of them may not be reputable. Make sure the agents are members of some kind of professional body such as The Association of Authors’ Representatives. Also do a general search – if authors have been burnt by an unreputable agent they will write about it! For publishers, there are also professional associations. Alternatively if they are listed on the Writers’ and Authors’ Yearbook or Writers’ Market websites they should be ok. As a rule of thumb: if an agent asks for a reading fee they are not above board. If a publisher asks you do buy a number of copies in advance or contribute to the cost of publishing their reputation is questionable.

  6. Cadeleine James on said:

    Is The Creative Writing Coursebook really necessary? I haven’t got the time to purchase one and life has been hectic as of late.

    Cheers!

    Respectfully yours,
    Cadeleine James

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      No it’s not necessary. Some people just like to have something to page through. Everything you really need is online. Happy writing!

  7. Mandy on said:

    Hi,I am new to this website and would just like to take a minute to introduce myself.My name is Mandy,I am 34 years old and I live in Nottingham (UK) with my fiance Chris.I am a qualified nursey nurse;I got permanently signed off work in 2000 due to being diagnosed with several conditions which resulted in me having to register myself disabled.My love of reading and writing devloped during my English lessons at school and I enjoy reading a wide range of material from keeping up with the news and what is happening in the world around me to magazines and books,especially true crime and crime fiction.Most of my writing to date has been poetry and short stories,but my dream is to write a book and get it published so this course is going to be my first step on my journey to becoming a published writer.Whatever your dreams and ambitions both in your personal life and your journey as a writer I hope that you all achieve them.Good Luck to you all.Mandy.

  8. Denise Grant on said:

    Used your idea of the Blue Ball as my very first attempt at writing. Loved where my imagination took me and am now writing short stories for my grandchildren (they are included in some of them).
    Also writing my memoirs! Having so much fun. Thank you Fiona for your inspiration.
    Kind regards Denise.

  9. Bill Pearce on said:

    Fiona
    I found your very helpful creative writing course some weeks ago and worked my way through it. I learned a great deal, so much so that I have now signed up to do a creative writing course with the Open University that starts 1st October.
    As an existing student of the OU, this course will go toward the degree that I have been working toward for some time.
    With best wishes and thanks for helping me start on what I hope will be a great experience.
    Bill

  10. D. Smith on said:

    Fiona,

    I would like to know if this is a current writing course. Last time I tried to take the course it was no longer being given because you were working on something else at the time. Thanks.

    Donna

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hello Donna, it has been ‘current’ since it first went up nearly five years ago. It has never been offline and has always been available for anyone who wants to do it. What has changed is that I am no longer giving feedback on the exercises. Maybe that is what you are referring to. That is still the case. So yes, the course is current (as you can see by the dozens of comments below from people who are doing it). Happy writing.

  11. Hi fiona, thank you so much for this free course! I was wondering – what are your opinions on the open universities english language and literature degree? I am seriously considering starting it next year (with a creative writing module as well). Thanks! All the best. Peter

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hi Peter, glad you’re enjoying the course. Re The Open University course, I’ve heard it’s excellent. I know a couple of people who have done it and some people who tutor on it. A few years ago I even considered applying to be a tutor on the creative writing component but had too much on. So yes, I would recommend you do it.

      Good luck!
      Fiona

  12. Thanks for your help – I have just enrolled :) the world needs more people like you!

  13. Your site and your topics were most helpful. Thank you very much!

  14. Thomas A. Marino on said:

    Hi! I am a very very much beginner. I haven’t written a thing since collage papers. I am willing to give it a go. I love reading and maybe I can write something.

  15. gerald stapleton on said:

    hi i am interesting in your program and i will know more.

  16. Thomas Marino on said:

    Thank you Fiona.

  17. Cristina V on said:

    Hello,

    I am much like Thomas, in that I haven’t written anything since college. However, I am interested in writing children’s books. It looks like this online course will help get the creative juices flowing with guidance. Is this course a “move at your own pace” situation or are we all moving together to the first step? Looking forward to learning, thank you in advance for sharing.

    Cristina

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hi Cristina. Good to have you on board. If you’re interested in children’s books you might like to take a look at some of my blog posts and advice on writing children’s books over at The Crafty Writer blog. http://www.thecraftywriter.com/2011/11/29/how-to-choose-a-childrens-book-for-christmas/

  18. Cristina V on said:

    Sorry, before posting my previous question I should have reread the first paragraph. Looking forward anyway. Ha. Thanks

  19. pinkey on said:

    hi i want to write for magazines..would you be able to help me?

    • Fiona Veitch Smith on said:

      Hello Pinkey. You’re on the wrong course. The non-fiction writing course covers writing for magazines http://non-fiction-writing-course.thecraftywriter.com/

  20. tricia davis on said:

    Thank you for wonderful simplified way writing first websie I’ve come to where there’s actual free makes sense writing without having to buy buy first.

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