Hone your Writing Skills – Take a Free Class!

When I was going to college, online courses were not really accessible to me as a student. The channel I could go through to “try before I decide” was either the local technical college or places like the UW-Extension office, both of which you have to pay for.

One of the great debates about building a career in writing, is the question of whether or not an author, editor, or freelancer needs a formal education in the craft. I have a BA, and several of my colleagues have Master’s degrees in the field. This whole idea of “formal education” may not work for everyone (universities are not very tolerant nor kind to “genre” authors), but at the very least it’s a good idea to hone your craft and “try” things out.

Free Writing Courses through 10 Universities is a feature-length article pointing out what’s available online. The last time I checked, UW-Madison did not have something out there “for free,” but I’m planning on throwing an inquiry (or two) their way.

Of all the ones on the list, there were two that stood out to me:

UCLA’s Free Intro to Screenwriting Class

MIT’s Free Short Story Writing and Reading Class

I can’t stress enough how important it is to get “real-time” experience in screen or scriptwriting if you want to write TV shows, movies or video games. The short story class would be a great addition to any writer’s repertoire of resources, even if you’re interesting in game writing, because not everyone can write and contain a short story well.

There may be others as well; be sure to contact your local university and see if they have any community outreach programs.



Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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