Free Creative Writing Courses

03.jpg Free creative writing course Join us today for our amazing free creative writing courses available for successful creative writers. This free membership plan lets you take our online Creative Writing Course taught by Professor Jim Musgrave, best-selling author of the Detective Pat O'Malley Mysteries.  

Basic Creative Writing: Finding Your Inner Writer
This is a course where you will discover the inner creativity that you may have lost during your high school and college years. Most creative writers have a natural talent to create, but this course leads you into your inner abilities that you may have lost during your professional life--even as a writer. We will explore where creativity and metaphorical thinking come from, how to utilize your "sign mind" and "design mind," and how to implement a variety of natural creative writing techniques into your writing. This is a general course for people who want to see if they can develop their innate abilities to be successful creative writers.
Module 1 Why do people fear creative writing or even writing in general?
This module will teach you why most people fear writing--especially creative writing. It will also explain how to get in touch with the creative side of your mind without fearing the experience. I want to teach you how to break-down the barriers to your "inner writer" so you can understand how your mind works. You can then use your mind for creative endeavors and the Holy Grail: Storytelling.
Unit 1 Releasing Your Inner Writer
Unit 2 What skills do I need to learn to write creatively?
Unit 3 How Childhood and Creative Thinking are Linked
Module 2 Clustering: How to Get into Your Design Mind
There are a variety of techniques for you to access your design mind. This is one of the most successful. I will show you how to create clusters that you can use to create interesting topics for stories and even novels.
Unit 1 Clustering: Kicking it "Old School"
Unit 2 Clustering Exercise: Digital Creator
Unit 3 Clustering Leading to the Trial-Web Shift Moment
Module 3 The Sign Mind and Design Mind
This module teaches you what the sign mind does and what skills it has for you to utilize in your writing. It also covers the design mind, which is the other side of your brain (right). Think of the two sides working together in order to process information from your conscious and subconscious mental processes.
Unit 1 Right and Left Hemispheres of the Brain
Unit 2 Using the Sign Mind Properly
Unit 3 Using the Design Mind Properly
Module 4 The Trial Web Phenomenon
Just as clustering represents the first critical step toward natural writing, so the trial-web shift represents the second. A trial web is your first awareness of a tentative vision, an idea of what you want to say. It happens when the seemingly random associations of your clustering suddenly take on coherence. The trial-web shift is a tentative pattern only in the sense that it is a global Design mind vision which gains solidity, form, and detail as you begin to write by calling on your Sign mind sequencing skills. The trial web itself shows little concern with particular features. But when you begin to write, the broad vista of the trial web takes on substance as you work down into details and then back up toward a modified and richly expanded whole. Once you become aware of it, this primitive whole has the potential for generating a more complex structure.
Unit 1 The Trial-Web Shift Moves from Vague Idea to Focused Image
Unit 2 Zooming in for a Closer Look
Unit 3 Trial Webs from Poems
Module 5 How to Unify with Recurrence
Like the Trial-Web Shift, Recurrence is a natural phenomenon. Listen to the waves at the beach. Focus on the wind in the trees. There are repeating sounds, and yet there are different variations as well. Pattern recognition is accomplished by the Design mind. In natural writing, recurring words, sounds, images, and feelings have the same powerful effect that a recurring melody has in music, recurring foliage in a landscape, recurring colors in a painting: we react to them emotionally and they intensify the unity of the whole. In language, we are more likely to remember recurring patterns--for example, "of the people, for the people" from the Gettysburg Address--because of their powerful effect on the right brain. For this reason, much persuasive writing, and especially speeches, contains recurrences, as do poetry and other writings with a strong emotional content. Learning to use recurrences--the meaningful repetition words, images, ideas, phrases, sounds, objects, or actions throughout a piece of writing to unify and empower it--constitutes the third basic step you must learn to achieve a natural style in your writing.
Unit 1 Childhood Source of Recurrence
Unit 2 Coming Full Circle with Recurrence
Unit 3 Recurrence of Key Ideas and Images
Module 6 Rhythms in Language
The music (rhythm) in words is Design-mind territory. In this module, we will focus on cadence, the rhythmic flow of language that provides the sense of continuity and wholeness in writing. Through the exercises you will learn to recognize and use language rhythms as expressive patterns. Such practice will continue to attune the inner ear of your Design mind to the music in the language patterns you began to recognize with recurrences in the previous module, and it will prepare the way for sharpening your Design mind's inner eye for images, to be discussed in the following module.
Unit 1 Finding Your Authentic Voice in Writing
Unit 2 Sentences are Rhythmic "Mini-Wholes"
Unit 3 Poems as Rhythmic Wholes
Module 7 Creating Images with the Inner Eye
Ask a child what her or she remembers of a particular event and chances are it will be a vivid image that encapsulates the experience. Remember an emotionally powerful moment in your life and you will probably see it as vividly as if it had happened yesterday. That the the Design mind's special ability--the power to bring forth complex internal wholes in the absence of sensory stimuli. One of my favorite authors, Franz Kafka, said, "You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." An image is an internal whole in the mind's eye, complete with all the sensations surrounding it, full of meaning for the writer. Images have strong visual significance, but they also evoke the feel or sound or smell or taste of things. Images are the constant in all natural writing, for they heighten or intensify the implicit, often becoming interlocking patterns of related images resonant with meaning. This module with teach you how to tap into this tapestry of emotional pictures to use in your writing. You will also see where this power comes from in your childhood and why it's important to cultivate an attitude of "play" with your work.
Unit 1 Childhood: The Origins of Imagery
Unit 2 The Real World of Everyday Images
Unit 3 Archetypes and Dreams as Images
Module 8 Creating Word Images with Metaphor
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," Gatsby referring to the wealthy Daisy, tells the narrator: "Her voice is full of money." That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money--that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it . . . Fitzgerald could have written "Daisy gives the impression of being very rich," but the author's metaphor goes far beyond the givens of literal language to resonate and suggest, creating shock waves of deeper meaning. Metaphor consists of images connected to something they literally cannot be. Literally speaking, a voice cannot be full of money, yet the fusing of these dissimilar entities into one new image tells us something about Daisy's personality that is inexpressible in denotative language. Metaphors create tension and excitement by producing new connections, and in so doing reveal a truth about the world we had not previously recognized. In my award-winning mystery novel, "Forevermore," the cat is a metaphor that fits both the detective and the murdered author, Edgar Allan Poe. For example, in this exchange between O'Malley and his girlfriend, Becky Charming, I cover the metaphorical meaning of this "black cat": We both sat down on the divan. I wanted to discuss my black cat theory. “Becky, remember when you told me I needed to use my feminine intuition? You were correct, my lady. I have had a recurring dream about a black cat, and I do believe it may have something to do with Poe’s death. In fact, when I questioned Longfellow the other day, he accused Poe of stealing the plot of his story ‘The Black Cat’ from a French author. What do you make of that?” I asked. Becky became very animated at that point. Her hands gesticulated and she had a mysterious smile as she spoke, as if she were revealing a secret doctrine of the ages to me. “I have been studying Emerson, Thoreau and the philosophy of the Transcendentalists. I know, it’s been out of favor since the war, but I still believe in its basic precepts. I especially believe in the concept of the Oversoul. In other words, each manifestation in Nature is a direct communication from God. There is no good or evil attached until we act upon it. It is simply the meaning we can gather from the specific object or being and how we can make it relate to our lives in a dynamic way. For example, if you have this image of the black cat recurring in your subconscious, then it can become a key to anything you want it to solve in your life. Don’t you see, dear Patrick? It is your logical connection with the black cat that makes it work. How do you think it can work in this instance?” she asked, her green eyes gleaming with insightful candor. “I want to use this image as a ploy to perhaps get a reaction from the guilty party. If it is indeed an object that links me to an answer as to whom killed Edgar Allan Poe, then it is a gift from the gods. Shall I just allow my instincts to manipulate the logic of the image?” I was serious. I had no idea about this philosophy, whether it was out of favor or not. “No. Don’t manipulate anything. Just let your mind concentrate on the image of the black cat, and then, when you are confronting the person, the answer will appear from out of the recesses of your subconscious mind. This so-called ‘sub-conscious,’ by the way, was what the Transcendentalists believed to be the direct connection to the Oversoul. It is where we get our myths and our religious ideas,” she said. “Goodness. This is becoming quite a mysterious conversation. However, I will try anything at this point. I only have one legitimate suspect, and he is one of the most famous poets of our age. I want to find out where each of these men were during the time period of Poe’s demise. After that I should be able to narrow my list down somewhat. I thank you once again for your superb assistance, Miss Charming,” I said, and I stood up to leave. I took both of her ivory hands into mine and kissed them both at once. In this module, you will learn how to access your brain to create metaphors that imply deeper levels of meaning and give your reader a lot of satisfaction that cannot ever be created by a computer.
Unit 1 Childhood Beginnings of Metaphor
Unit 2 Metaphor Transformations
Unit 3 Show Your True Feelings with Metaphor
Module 9 Divine Opposites: Building Creative Tension
This module will explore various ways to generate the simultaneous push and pull of creative tension in writing through the use of polarity, paradox, contraries, similar word pairs, and dialogue. Polarity, the father of creative tension, is a philosophical concept that literature, religion, art, and science have been obsessed with for centuries. Paradox, the child of polarity, is a linguistic construct by which we give expression to our polarized human existence. Through the exercises in this module, you will extend your awareness of life's polarities and learn to generate the creative tension that gives vitality to natural writing.
Unit 1 Childhood Origins of Creative Tension
Unit 2 Creative Tension by Using Contraries
Unit 3 Creative Tension through Dialogue
Module 10 Re-Vision as Seeing Again
This module will teach you that re-vision for the cultivated writer is a process that should become as natural as all the other methods you've learned in this short course. This is true because you are not simply editing your work for grammar, punctuation and spelling, you are seeing everything again in order to craft it so that it matches your original vision.
Unit 1 Re-Vision as Focus
Unit 2 Word Painting: Evocative Versus Explanatory
Unit 3 Modeling Evocative Writing
Module 11 The Circle is Complete
The secret of sustained longer writing (short stories, novels, screenplays, etc.) lies precisely in vignette writing, since longer writing is merely a series of mini-wholes woven together, like a beautiful tapestry, by a larger vision. An inner writer intent on creating an essay, a short story, a business proposal, a book proposal, an academic dissertation, a novel or a play first generates a the larger vision that will guide him throughout the long process of writing. Then, as he begins writing, he generates a mini-whole, which generates another mini-whole, which in turn suggests the next, until the larger vision is realized. All coherent writing is structured in this fashion whether the writer is award of it or not, and regardless of what it is called. In an essay, a vignette might be a paragraph; in a novel, a chapter or an episode; in a poem, a stanza; in a play, a scene or an act. You have now seen and experienced all the skills necessary to expand your vignettes into a more sustained a developed piece of writing. This module will allow you to see how the bigger picture can come out of all this.
Unit 1 A Closing Family Portrait
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