A guest post by H. C. Gildfind

There are infinite online articles debating the ‘merit’ of creative writing courses. This is evidenced, for example, by the many articles responding to Hanif Kureishi’s apparent declaration that creative writing courses are (despite the fact he teaches one) a ‘waste of time’ because most students are talentless and simply can’t tell a good story. Kureishi’s claim kicked off an entirely predictable debate where professional writers, writer-teachers, students and nobodies-in-particular argued whether writers are ‘born’ or ‘made.’

The following article is not going to engage in this debate because, as Nell Stevens notes, the debate has been ‘done…to death.’ What follows is simply a description of how formal writing courses are taught, and what they have done for me as a writer. View Post


Learn about character, conflict, context and craft with a New York Times Bestselling Author

Daniel José Older is a very busy person. Since he stopped being a full-time paramedic in New York City in 2014, Older has published five novellas, three books in his Bone Street Rumba series, the first two books in his Shadowshaper series and in April of this year he released his first Star Wars novel, Last Shot, which serves as a tie-in to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Thankfully for us, he has also made time in his jam-packed schedule to launch a new eight-part short course with online learning community Skillshare. Creative Writing Essentials: Writing Stand-Out Opening Scenes utilises the first and last drafts of the opening scene of Older’s urban fantasy novel Shadowshaper as a case study. He uses this to break down the anatomy of a scene and provide useful exercises to help you analyse character, movement and structure. Students who complete the course will learn about the tools needed to build gripping opening scenes and write cohesive stories.

We have fifty FREE passes for this class to giveaway.
Update: All free places have now been claimed but you can still participate in the course by signing-up for a free two-month premium Skillshare membership. Other writing classes available on the site include Older’s first Skillshare class on Character, Conflict, Context, and CraftWriting from Memory with Ashley C. Ford and Creative Nonfiction with Susan Orlean.

To find out more about Daniel José Older visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

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A guest post by Kristyn M. Levis

I have never met my publishers. I have been signed with them for three years now and we have never been in the same room together. As I am based in Sydney, Australia, it is virtually impossible for me to pop into their office in Manila, Philippines, for a meeting. Strangely enough, the arrangement still works thanks to the power of technology. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. View Post


Study Fiction and Inclusion with Iowa’s International Writing Program

Iowa’s acclaimed International Writing Program is offering a new free online course focusing on fiction and inclusion.

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is a “unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe”,  Its principal program is its Fall Residency; since 1967 over fourteen hundred writers from more than 150 countries have participated.

In 2014 the International Writing Program offered its first MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These courses, funded by the University of Iowa and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, welcome all participants; no application is required and there is no charge for enrollment. In its first year alone, 15,789 readers and writers from around the world participated in these online courses.

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A guest post by Vera Tobin, Case Western Reserve University

Recently I did something that many people would consider unthinkable, or at least perverse. Before going to see “Avengers: Infinity War,” I deliberately read a review that revealed all of the major plot points, from start to finish.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to share any of those spoilers here. Though I do think the aversion to spoilers – what The New York Times’ A.O. Scott recently lamented as “a phobic, hypersensitive taboo against public discussion of anything that happens onscreen” – is a bit overblown. View Post