online writing courses

Guest Editor Vonna Carter re: Choosing Online Writing Courses


Dear Editor…

I’ve been following you for the past few years. I fell off the wagon with my children’s writing and am thinking an online class might get me running again. Can you suggest a good class with regular assignments and instructor feedback. Doesn’t matter where the class is located since I’m thinking in terms of online.

Thanks very much,

Vonna CarterVonna Carter—Middle Grade writer and Keeper-of-the-Lists—rounds up info on editors, art directors and agents attending conferences, retreats and workshops, plus online classes and where to get that elusive MFA in writing for young readers.

Dear Cheryl…

This is a question many people are asking. We are fortunate these days to have abundant options for online classes and workshops, but they are not one-size-fits-all. I maintain a list of them on my website at Online Workshops. Before signing up for a course, analyze your criteria for the class. Here are some points to consider:

Level: Are you new to writing for children? Have you completed manuscripts but need help revising? Are you an experienced writer looking for a master class?

Budget: Are you looking to spend $300 or $3000?

Time: Do you want a two-hour workshop, a four- or six-week course, or an ongoing class? How much time can you spend on homework assignments?

Genre and Age Group: Do you write picture books? MG? Romantic YA? Adult thrillers?

Topic: Do you need an in-depth course on voice, plot, pacing or other focus area?

Interaction: Do you enjoy engaging with other students or do you prefer working alone?

Format: Are you open to video conferencing? Are you comfortable posting on forums or engaging in conference calls? Do you prefer one-on-one emails with your instructor?

References: An important consideration is the class’s reputation. Some wonderful teachers use their websites or newsletters to shine a spotlight on their former students who are now published authors, but not all classes make it this easy to see references. Can you contact writers who have taken this course?

Taking an online class can be a great experience. I hope this checklist helps you find classes that are best for you.

-Vonna Carter