best paid online writing courses

In our last post in this series, we introduced you to some of the best free writing classes on the internet.

Now, let’s check out some of the top writing courses out there that require a small fee.

Why Take a Paid Online Writing Class

Why pay for a writing class when there are great classes out there for free?

Because you’re investing in your career!

The absolute best writing classes out there charge a fee because they pay amazing instructors with years of industry experience to teach them.

They also offer personalized feedback, opportunities to connect with fellow writers, and other skill-building exercises that free self-paced courses often can’t match.

If you’re serious about becoming a successful author, you need to always be learning, growing, and improving your skills. Each book you write should be your best book yet…until the next one!

Taking paid online writing classes with top authors, editors, and instructors can help you do that.

Here are some of the best creative writing classes to help move your writing to the next level.

Creative Writing Courses

Want to improve your writing skills, try out some new techniques, or maybe even branch into a whole new genre?

Taking a paid creative writing class online can give you the boost you need!

Creative Writing 101

About the Course

An essential online course offered by the renowned Gotham Writers Workshop, Creative Writing 101 walks you through all the basics you’ll need to start writing like a professional.

This six-week class can be done completely on your own, at your own pace, but you’ll benefit most if you join in the optional weekly chat session to ask questions and interact with your classmates. Be sure you do the assignments each week—this really is like being in school again!

This is an ideal course for anyone who wants to be a writer, but isn’t quite sure what they want to write.

In this course, you’ll explore what it means to be a professional creative writer, whether that’s fiction or creative nonfiction prose. You’ll get basic strategies and tools to help you put your thoughts down on the page, and you’ll get to try out different writing styles and techniques to see what works best for you.


You may have a different instructor depending on which class session you sign up for, but all the Gotham Writers Workshop authors are accomplished writers with significant credits and teaching experience.

Two regular instructors of Creative Writing 101 include:

  • Tamara Guirado, who has published fiction in StoryQuarterlyBest New American VoicesRainbow CurveComet Magazine, and 580 Split. She has taught at Kansas State University, University of Wisconsin, and the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She holds a BS from Southern Oregon State University and an MFA from Mills College, and she was a Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellow at Stanford University.
  • Betsey Odell, the author of the novel Deep Water and the essay “Naked in Bohemia” in the anthology Travelers Tales Prague and the Czech Republic. She has published nonfiction in Preserving Your Memory, of which she was editor-in-chief, and Yellow Rat Bastard. She has taught at Randolph-Macon College. She holds a BA from Randolph-Macon College.


$299, plus a $25 registration fee.

writing classes at stanford

Stanford Continuing Studies Creative Writing Track

About the Course

Most people know the name Stanford—it’s one of the most respected universities in the world.

And to support its mission of education and enlightenment, Stanford offers continuing education classes online, open to anyone who wants to attend—no application required!

Taking classes from the Stanford Creative Writing Track is a great way to improve your skills as a writer, diving deep into particular aspects of craft. While it offers some classes targeted at beginners, more of the offerings focus on getting really engaged with developing specific skills.

For instance, you can take classes that focus on:

  • Scene-by-scene plotting
  • Writing memoirs
  • Travel writing
  • Nature writing
  • Short stories
  • How to revise your work
  • How to write poetry

Check out the full course catalog here and see what catches your eye, then look at the detailed descriptions. You’ll notice that this really does seem like a tough university degree—Stanford isn’t kidding around when they set out to turn you into a top-quality professional writer! There are individual assignments, group projects, feedback workshops, and more.

Classes are offered on a term basis, which means you register during a school semester and take the class then, alongside other online learners. Terms are Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer; many classes fill up early, so be sure to check in regularly to get the ones you want!

Some classes run for 5 weeks, but more intense or in-depth courses take 10 weeks. Be sure to check the description of the class you’re interested in so that you know you can make the time and work commitment involved!


Stanford’s instructors vary depending on the course and the term, but all are accomplished professional writers with shining credentials.

For instance, an upcoming class on nature writing will be taught by Brendan Jones, an Oxford-educated novelist and nature writer whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Ploughshares, Narrative, Popular Woodworking, The Huffington Post, and Saveur, and on NPR.

Another class on personal essays will be taught by Rachel Howard, the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night; she’s also written personal essays that have appeared in Gulf Coast, Waxwing, The Arroyo Literary Review, O, The Oprah Magazine, Berfrois, Canteen, The New York Times “Draft” series, and elsewhere. She has extensive teaching experience in creative writing at both the undergraduate and MFA levels.

A full bio of the instructor is included in the course description, so be sure to scroll down when you’re looking at classes.


$330 and up, depending on the course you choose. Some classes can cost as much as $880 for those that run 10 weeks instead of 5. Many classes have required textbooks that you’ll want to purchase or get from the library.

Fiction Writing Courses

If you’re dreaming of taking your fiction career to new heights, hooking readers on your characters and plots and creating “un-put-downable” stories, then it might be time to consider taking a paid fiction writing course online.

These classes can help you dive deep into the essential skills you’ll need to craft worlds and characters that your readers never forget.

online class on how to write fiction

Write Fiction Like a Pro

About the Course

If you’re looking to get a jump-start on writing a great novel or story, a class that walks you through every step of the process successful professional writers use might be the best option!

Write Fiction Like a Pro is an intense six-week course with two lessons per week, each diving into some essential area of fiction writing.

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • Story structure and dramatic elements
  • Characterization
  • Strategies for creating a hook
  • Ways to develop a rich backstory
  • How to write a thrilling climactic scene
  • How to outline and plan your story
  • What it takes to publish

The class combines lectures, readings, personal practice and individual assignments, and group discussion and feedback to make a dynamic experience a lot like being in a classroom or particularly engaged writers’ group.


Author Steve Alcorn has experience across a huge variety of topics and genres; he’s published mystery novels, historical fiction, and picture storybooks, as well as nonfiction works on writing, editing, and theme park design. He’s helped more than 30,000 students turn their story ideas into reality, and many who have taken his classes have gone on to become published authors themselves.



online fiction writing classes gotham writers workshop

Gotham Writers Workshop Fiction Track

About the Course

Gotham Writers Workshop offers novelists the chance to basically make their own MFA program online, progressing from the basics through to genre-specific work, drafting, critique sessions, and deep dives into areas like creating compelling characters or writing great dialogue.

You’ll start with the introductory Fiction Writing class, where you’ll learn the art of the short story and how it differs from writing a novel. You’ll also get to explore different genres and learn some basic marketing techniques for when you finish your first stories.

Next, if you want to learn more, you’ll move on to either a Novel Writing class or a course designed specifically for your area of interest, such as Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Romance, Video Game Writing, and more.

You can also take a deep dive into areas of fiction craft like Dialogue Writing and Character Development. These shorter, intensive classes take only three weeks and can help you level up your writing skills no matter what your timeline and budget.

Most classes involve a combination of lectures and readings, individual work assignments, group sessions or feedback groups, and daily practice meant to help you integrate writing into your life as a habit.


Instructors with Gotham Writers Workshop vary by session, class, and level, but all are highly skilled professional writers with amazing credentials.

For instance, one regular online instructor is Chip Livingston, a prolific short story author and poet who has several standalone collections and who’s been published in journals including PloughsharesCincinnati Review, Potomac Review, Court Green, Subtropics, and Crazyhorse. He has taught writing at the University of the Virgin Islands, the University of Colorado, and Brooklyn College. He holds a BS and a BA in English from the University of Florida, an MA in Fiction Writing from the University of Colorado, and an MFA in Poetry Writing from Brooklyn College.

Check out the bios of all the faculty here:


Full six-week courses cost $399 each ($369 for returning students). Three-week intensive online courses cost $150.

All classes require a $25 registration fee once per term.

litreactor online fiction classes


About the Course

Formerly a workshop run by author Chuck Palahniuk’s The Cult site, LitReactor now offers a diverse array of classes tackling every area of fiction writing.

If you’ve already mastered the basics, this is where you’ll be able to start refining your skills and getting into the nitty-gritty of your craft.

Classes start on a cycling schedule, so be sure to check in on the website to see what workshops and specialty areas are coming up soon.

Each of these classes tackles a different area, but all are similar in that they bring together amazing instructors, hands-on work, insightful lectures, and small communities of dedicated writers to work together and polish their skills.

You can take classes on subjects including:

  • Basic grammar and writing mechanics
  • Writing violence and thriller scenes
  • Tackling diversity and identity issues in your writing
  • Selling short stories to literary magazines
  • How to plot and plan your novel effectively
  • How to improve your science fiction and fantasy writing

Although the basic grammar class is an introductory-style course, many of the others expect you to already be proficient with writing fiction; they’re not meant to give you a taste of the writing life, but rather to help you level up your skills or move into a new area that you want to explore.

Be prepared to be challenged!


Instructors vary from course to course, but all are experienced teachers and published authors with great credentials.

For example, an upcoming course on writing action scenes is taught by John Skipp, a New York Times-bestselling author, editor, and filmmaker. A class on selling short stories is taught by Tobias Carroll, the managing editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn and a prolific fiction and nonfiction author whose works have appeared in Tin House, The Collagist, Necessary Fiction, Bookforum, and Joyland.


Cost varies by class, typically based on how long and/or intensive the class is. Expect prices ranging from $79 for a 10-day intensive grammar bootcamp to $325 for a four-week master class in planning your novel. Many courses are in the $199 range for two-week intensive workshops.

online fiction courses from writers digest university

Writer’s Digest University Fiction Classes

About the Course

Another series of online courses where you can go as in-depth as you desire is the Writer’s Digest University.

Created by Writer’s Digest, the respected resource for professional writers looking to sell their work, this comprehensive series of courses offers lectures, workshops, online conference opportunities, targeted assignments, and discussion opportunities to both new and established authors.

There’s a range of classes for every skill level, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to tune up some specific aspect of your writing.

Depending on your goals and the classes you choose, you can learn:

  • How to write great comedy
  • How to improve your grammar and mechanics
  • How to craft terrifying horror novels
  • How to publish an illustrated children’s book on Kindle
  • How to do market research and sell more books
  • How to efficiently draft your novel

There are many more classes, so be sure to check out the full list of offerings!


As with most online writing schools, there are a number of instructors teaching different classes at Writer’s Digest University. Some frequent instructors include:

  • William Bernhardt, the bestselling author of more than forty books, including the blockbuster Ben Kincaid series of novels, the historical novel Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness, currently being adapted into an NBC miniseries, a book of poetry, and a series of books on fiction writing.
  • Philip Athans, founding partner of Athans & Associates Creative Consulting, former senior managing editor for TSR/Wizards of the Coast, and the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other fantasy and horror books.
  • Carolyn Walker, who has been a published journalist, columnist, and author for more than 25 years, and has worked independently as an editor. She also received her Master of Fine Arts in Writing in 2004 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.


Prices vary by class, but range from $199 for a relatively short intensive course to $799 for a comprehensive workshop on advanced novel-writing techniques.

Nonfiction Writing Courses

Are you ready to take your nonfiction writing career to a whole new level?

Maybe you want to try out a new field, like travel writing or food writing. Maybe it’s time you finally sat down and finally wrote your memoir. Maybe you just want to find new ways to market your nonfiction to your audience.

These amazing paid nonfiction writing courses can help you do all that and more!

How to Write Nonfiction Like a Pro

About the Course

How to Write Nonfiction Like a Pro is a detailed writing course that focuses on the fundamental skills you must master in order to become a highly paid nonfiction writer. The course covers advice on writing craft, maintaining a consistent creative schedule, market research, and marketing advice.

In the course, you’ll learn:

  • How to write faster and more consistently by creating a powerful writing habit that fulfills you and sustains your career
  • How to do thorough market research so you know who your audience is and who will be paying for your work
  • How to write more efficiently so you can write more in less time
  • How to ensure your writing is high quality and valuable for your audience so that your work stands out from everyone else
  • How to build your audience and fan base one happy reader at a time, and the key marketing tools you must have to succeed as a nonfiction writer in 2017
  • And much more!


Tom Corson-Knowles is the international bestselling author of 27 books including The Kindle Publishing Bible, founder of TCK Publishing, an independent publishing company specializing in digital marketing, and host of The Publishing Profits Podcast show.

Tom has taught more than 70,000 authors how to write, publish, and market their books like professionals through his online training courses, including Ebook Publishing School, a free training program that shows authors how to publish and launch their first book.


$97, but there’s a special discounted offer at just $27 after you apply for the free course.

online creative nonfiction boot camp

Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp

About the Course

Having trouble getting in gear and starting your nonfiction project? Sign up for the Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp and put your fears and delays behind you!

You can choose from either a 5-week basic class or a 10-week intensive class with twice the assignments and even more interactive feedback opportunities, depending on what you want to get out of the class.

In both courses, you’ll get daily writing prompts, regular assignments, useful lectures, targeted individual feedback, and the opportunity to engage with your fellow learners to develop your craft.

You’ll do a lot of writing, coming out at the end with either a well-developed 5,000-plus word essay or a series of shorter articles targeted to specific audiences or needs. Plus, you’ll be required to write 300 words a day to share with the class, helping you build the discipline you need to develop a regular writing practice. No more excuses—you’ll be well on your way to being a professional nonfiction author after you do the work in this class!

Along the way, you’ll learn:

  • How to generate and keep track of ideas
  • How to overcome writer’s block
  • How to develop and maintain a daily writing habit
  • How to push your limits as a writer
  • How to edit and revise your work (both on your own and with an editor)
  • How to give and receive feedback
  • How to publish your work


Bridgette Shade has extensive experience with writing and editing both fiction and nonfiction. She’s written for newspapers and nonprofits, and her short story collection was a Finalist for the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction. Since 2004, she has been teaching writing with an emphasis on social justice in classrooms at Carlow University, Point Park University, Waynesburg University, and The University of Pittsburgh.


$300 for a five-week session, $475 for the 10-week session. Discounts are offered for early signups, so be sure to check the website for when the next session is starting and enroll early!

online fiction writing classes gotham writers workshop

Gotham Writers Workshop Nonfiction Track

About the Course

Gotham Writers Workshop is a go-to resource for serious writers for a reason: they put a lot of time and effort into developing online courses that are just as good as anything in the real world.

Their Nonfiction Track offers a huge array of options for aspiring professional nonfiction writers…and for writers who are already established, but want to try a new field or improve their skills.

Start out with Creative Nonfiction 101 to dive into the different areas that make up this field, from memoirs to essays to creative articles.

Once you’ve honed your skills at the basic level, you can start exploring targeted subject areas in more depth. Whether you want to write about food, create the best blog possible, pen opinion essays, or learn the skills needed to be a serious journalist, you’ll find both full six-week courses and intensive skills sessions tailored to your goals.

The Nonfiction Track also has in-depth, shorter specialty classes on essential nonfiction writing skills like how to write a winning book proposal that can help you make the most of your professional writing career.


Instructors with Gotham Writers Workshop vary by session, class, and level, but all are highly skilled professional writers with amazing credentials.

Some of the regular instructors for Creative Nonfiction 101, for instance, include:

  • Patty Lamberti, who has served as an editor with Playboy, Latina, and Lifetime  She has written nonfiction for Maxim, New York Metro, the New York Post,the Chicago Tribune, and Satisfaction. She is the Professional-in-Residence at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication. She has taught at the University of Illinois. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in Writing from the University of Illinois.
  • Ashley Shelby, the author of the nonfiction book Red River Rising: The Anatomy of a Flood and the Survival of an American City and the novel South Pole Station. Her short fiction, journalism, and essays have appeared in J Journal: New Writings on Social Justice, the Los Angeles Review, The Nation, Post Road, Seattle ReviewSonora Review, Southeast Review,and Third Coast, among many others. As an editor at Penguin Group (USA), she acquired and edited both narrative nonfiction and memoir. She holds a BA from Indiana University and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University.

Check out the bios of all the faculty here:


Full six-week courses cost $299 for the introductory Creative Nonfiction 101 class, then $399 each for more advanced courses ($369 for returning students). Three-week intensive online courses cost $150 and four-week intensives cost $165.

All classes require a $25 registration fee once per term.

class on writing better nonfiction

Next-Level Creative Nonfiction

About the Course

Part of the network of courses, Next-Level Creative Nonfiction teaches you the skills you’ll need to make your mark as a nonfiction author.

Whether you write memoirs, essays, travel pieces, or other creative nonfiction, you’ll learn new techniques and strategies to advance your writing career through the lectures and classwork offered in this 10-week course.

Topics covered include:

  • Choosing a topic
  • Conducting research
  • Structuring your story
  • Developing narrators and characters
  • Drafting and revising your work
  • Scenes and pacing

Each week involves a writing assignment and gives you opportunities to give and receive feedback with your peers and your instructor. By the end of the class, you’ll not only have developed a better sense of what it takes to be a successful nonfiction author, you’ll also have created a portfolio of work you can use to start getting paid writing assignments!

Be sure to also check out the other courses at; they can build your skills in a variety of areas, calling on the expertise of noted authors and industry experts to give you a leg up on everything from poetry to picture books to monetizing your blog. is one of the oldest online writing schools (they’ve been around since 1995), and they know a thing or two about teaching literary skills in a flexible format!


Wendy Call co-edited the popular guide to writing nonfiction Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide and wrote No Word for Welcome, winner of Grub Street’s 2011 National Book Prize for Nonfiction. She has served as writer in residence at 20 institutions, including Acadia and Everglades National Parks, Harborview Medical Center, New College of Florida, and Seattle University.



online fiction courses from writers digest university

Writer’s Digest University Nonfiction Classes

About the Course

Writer’s Digest University doesn’t just help fiction authors; they have amazing resources for nonfiction writers, memoirists, and freelance writers, too!

You’ll get detailed lectures, course assignments, networking opportunities with published authors and fellow students, and more in these focused courses.

Be prepared for an intense workload and a lot of hard work as you develop your skills!

Some of Writer’s Digest University’s nonfiction classes include:

  • Writing the Memoir
  • Writing Nonfiction for Children
  • Writing the Personal Essay
  • Fundamentals of Nonfiction Writing
  • Classes in blogging, copyediting, business writing, marketing, getting published, and more

You can pick and choose whatever focus or level appeals to you to create your own personalized plan to improve your writing and advance your career.


Some of Writer’s Digest University’s nonfiction instructors include:

  • Kelly Boyer Sagert, a member of the prestigious American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), who has sold thousands of pieces of her writing to magazines, newspapers, online sites, encyclopedias and literary journals. Sagert has written 11 books and contributed material to more than one dozen other books.
  • Jack Adler, a freelance writer specializing in travel, health, recreation and leisure articles. After working as the features editor of Travel Weekly, he became a columnist for the travel section of the Los Angeles Times for 15 years.


Prices vary by class, but range from $149 for a class on writing nonfiction for children up to $649 for an intensive advanced seminar on writing memoirs.

What To Do Next

Now that you’ve made a commitment to advancing your writing skills, it’s time to put all that learning and practice to use!

Make time to write every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, and keep practicing the techniques you learned in your writing classes. Keep in touch with other students from the class and develop a community that you can call on for support and feedback.

Most importantly, finish your book! Draft it, edit it, revise it, and publish it.

Then do it again!

Keep learning, writing, and developing and you’ll see the results as your author career thrives.

Want to learn more about honing your craft as a writer? Check out these great resources: