Discover the Best Creative Writing Classes in Los Angeles
You probably spend more time than you want writing, although, for most people, that involves writing emails and reports for your job. Yet there are people who write willingly, even some who go home from the office and write into the wee hours of the morning. More often than not, they’re indulging in creative writing, in which you write about not sales projections but anything that might pop up in your imagination.
Creative writing is generally divisible into penning narratives, poems, dramatic works (plays or screenplays), or something called creative non-fiction, which amounts to telling a true story using literary techniques, as opposed to, say, journalism, which stresses the facts more than the way in which they are expressed. All four genres call for exercise of the imagination and creativity, which aren’t things that many day jobs require. The chance to put your creative faculties to use is the principal attraction for indulging in a spot of creative writing every now and then.
Why You Should Learn Creative Writing in Los Angeles
Using your imagination to escape from drab reality into a land of make-believe can be an enormously refreshing undertaking. Creative writing gives you the chance to make stuff up or, if you’ve already made stuff up, to put it into a medium that can be shared with other people. Contemporary life, with its computers, cell phones, and soul-sucking conformity, doesn’t exactly nurture the craft of the storyteller. There are, however, more creative people out there than you might think; only their innate creativity has been stunted by the pressures of modern life and bad instruction in school. Learning to write creatively will allow you the chance to give your imagination free play. You’ll find that to be liberating and beneficial to your mental health.
Gertrude Stein once postulated that you write for yourself and strangers. Writing just for yourself can be very satisfying: you needn’t get published by a major firm to be validated as a writer. Letting your imagination run away with itself can be pleasurable enough. Hoping to make it big as an author, on the other hand, often amounts to so much chasing rainbows, so don’t sign up for a creative writing class expecting to become the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. You should be in it for self-expression and the pleasure of the thing. If you get your work published, so much the better—and don’t forget that you can self-publish with remarkable facility these days if you want to see your efforts in the form of a bound book.
There is actually another upside to learning to write creatively: you’ll become a better all-around writer for it. That’s not to say that you should pepper your work emails with interesting characters and a breathlessly developing plot, but creative writing will make you more adept at putting thoughts into words, You become a better writer by writing, and you may be able to improve your business writing through a creative writing class as much as through a dry-as-dust business writing one.
In-Person Creative Writing Classes in Los Angeles
One place you can begin your odyssey toward becoming a creative writer is Santa Monica College. The school teaches Mastering the Art of Short Fiction at its Bundy Campus (if you know where the Santa Monica Airport is, you know where SMC’s Bundy Campus is located.) The class goes into successful examples of short fiction and shows students how they may tell their own stories based on the examples. The class also touches on how to sell your work.
Santa Monica College also offers a six-session Creative Writing Workshop that meets for six weekly sessions. Designed for authors with works in progress, the workshop shows students how to revise and polish their drafts. As with most workshops, peer critiques form part of the experience. The workshop is suitable for writers working on fiction and creative non-fiction projects.
If Santa Monica is a little westerly for convenience, you can consider classes at Los Angeles City College on Vermont Avenue between Hollywood and Downtown. The school offers a Creative Writing for Adults course that meets weekly for five weeks. It begins with an overview of what might be styled fictional best practices before setting students to work telling what stories they wish to tell. Work in all genres is welcome, as are writers at all levels of experience.
Also on offer from Los Angeles City College is a six-session class in Sketch Comedy Writing. This course teaches students the basics of penning comedy sketches and will leave them with a grasp on such concepts as story structure, comic characters, dialogue, and, of course, punch lines. Both these classes are offered by LACC’s not-for-credit Community Services program, which teaches courses in everything from beginning salsa dancing to Tai Chi for seniors.
Since 2003, the Los Angeles Writers Group has offered a variety of classes, workshops, and retreats, some of them online and some of them in person in various locations around the Southland. In its Thursday Creative Writing Workshop, participants are encouraged to push the bounds of their own creativity by answering stimulating writing prompts. Students can also offer their works in progress for group feedback.
Virtual Creative Writing Classes
Many of the above classes meet after work on weekday evenings. That’s exactly when you least want to be out on Los Angeles’ impossibly congested freeways. At that hour, the metaphoric walls of Santa Monica are way more impenetrable than the real ones of Troy were. The thought of having to get anywhere but home after work may be keeping you from taking a creative writing class, but it needn’t. Avoiding traffic is just one of a number of very good reasons for choosing a live online class over a live in-person one.
The selection of live online creative writing classes is, in fact, more varied than what’s available locally since you have literally a world of providers at your disposal. You can follow these classes from any comfortable, quiet space you choose, provided that a stable internet connection is present. You’ll probably be using Zoom, which you’ve probably already encountered at your job, so there’s no learning curve about which to worry. All you need to do is get home, slip into something more comfortable, turn on your computer, and sit down in a comfortable chair to attend your class. You’ll still have a live teacher, and your fellow participants will be present in real-time as well, so the class unfolds just like one in a brick-and-mortar school. You don’t even need to worry about having any special equipment on hand to follow a creative writing class: you obviously already have a computer, so all you’ll need is some paper and a writing implement so you can take notes.
You can even take advantage of Santa Monica College’s Community Education division without having to cross the 405. How to Write a Novel is its class for budding novelists. In eight meetings, it shows students the highways and byways of longer narrative fiction. That includes plot, characters, and conflict to keep the story’s wheels turning. Feedback on what you’ve written is part of the class; an effort is made to ensure that critiques are positive and encouraging. By the course’s conclusion, students will have finished an outline (and possibly a first chapter) of their novels-to-be.
After a few months of procrastination, you may wish to sign up for SMCC’s Finish that Novel! There are seven meetings to the program, which begins by refreshing students’ knowledge of the basics of novel writing, and then nudges them along on the path to their magnum opus’ completion. You can submit what you’re working on for feedback; an extra 30 minutes after the end of the class are scheduled to allow for deeper evaluation of students’ efforts.
Something of a very different sort is to be had from New York’s 92nd Street Y. Their online division offers a class in Comics and the Graphic Novel. It meets for six sessions and delves into creating a storyline, developing characters, and putting them into an effective combination of words and images. The class covers drawing as well as writing, for which the purchase of some art supplies is necessary. Various comic book styles will be explored in the course of the class in an effort to help you find a combination of text and drawings that suits you and the story you want to tell. No previous experience in either writing or drawing is required.
Private Group Creative Writing Classes in Los Angeles
People overseeing large teams are frequently looking to find a novel (no pun intended) team-building activity that their employees will actually enjoy rather than tolerate because it gets them out of working for a couple of hours. Private group creative writing classes for Los Angeles businesses could be just what you’re looking for, as they enable your team members actually to use a part of their brains that their work activities generally neglect and invite them to create something far more personal and more enjoyable than a terrarium or a macramé terrarium hanger. You can’t write a whole novel in a brief workshop, but some well-chosen writing exercises can be an excellent means of relieving stress while bringing your team together. For further details, simply use the contact form on the CourseHorse website and a representative of the events fulfillment team will be in touch with you by end of business the next day.
If you’d rather, CourseHorse can also offer a course in a different variety of creative writing: a Virtual Calligraphy Workshop. Pens, paper and worksheets are mailed to all participants by the events fulfillment team two weeks prior to the event, which means you don’t have to worry about supplies. During the two-hour class, your team will be introduced to the nine basic strokes of calligraphy, and learn how to join letters, create bouncing effects and draw flourishes. Students will be able to apply their newfound skills to all manner of artistic DIY projects, so they’ll have learned something practical from the exercise.
CourseHorse’s event fulfillment team will contact you within 24 hours of booking, and then work with you to make the event the best such activity you’ve ever scheduled. They will take care of all the details: all you need to do is finalize your headcount within two weeks of the event, relax and show up the day of the event to make sure everything is in working order. Further advantages to booking with CourseHorse are no booking fees, a full refund if you cancel prior to two weeks before the scheduled event, and your choice of online platforms. For a modest fee, you can also have the event customized to suit any particular need or desire you might have.