Steve Barnes offers a free online creative writing class with a focus on screenwriting that is similar to one he taught at UCLA. The free writing course is comprehensive enough to appeal to a more experienced writer, yet basic enough to fit the needs of a beginning writer. It has tips and lessons that apply to screenwriters and prose writers alike.

At his website, Steve Barnes gives his credentials of many years in the screenwriting and book writing industry. His screenwriting credits include episodes for The Outer Limits, Stargate, and Baywatch. He also is an accomplished science fiction novelist with a long line of titles. He provides teaching and mentoring through his online creative writing course at his Lifewriting website.

Lifewriting Nine Week Online Screenwriting Course Profile

This course is divided into nine weeks. Each week includes a lecture in story writing with exercises and assignments to follow. This course is similar to one that might cost thousands of dollars through a university creative writing program.

The first two weeks focus on basic writing skills, such as structure, scene and sequel, and motivation reaction units, very similar to the skills taught in the book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. Weeks three and four begin to address the story arc and the hero’s journey, then plot structure and the elements of fiction, with a focus on what works for each individual writer.

This creative writing class continues in week five with a lesson in creativity. Assignments are designed to develop creativity and to learn how to fight writer’s block. Week six deals with the different genres in fiction, and week seven delves more deeply into television, cable, and commercial scriptwriting.

Since screenwriting deals in large part with visual symbols and cues, week eight gives advice about using visual symbols and metaphors in screenwriting. Week nine wraps up the free online writing course with a lecture on setting goals and priorities.

Getting the Most out of the Lifewriting Free Online Writing Class

The advantages to taking on online creative writing course is the ability to work at an individual pace, set hours that don’t interfere with a work schedule, and to give time for in-depth analysis and research. These very things can also be disadvantages if the student isn’t self-disciplined and focused.

Steve Barnes’ screenwriting class at his Lifewriting website helps the student stay focused with tips and advice on skills that lead to success. Each homework assignment takes time, and if followed, will develop a deeper knowledge of the creative writing process.

To succeed in an online writing course, a student needs to make time to complete all of the assignments. This may take longer for some people than others. In this class, there is no contact with other students or the instructor. One of the lessons makes the suggestion to find partners and fellow writers to meet and work together. As with any online writing course, what the student gets out of it is equal to the effort put into it.

Screenwriting for film and stage is different from prose writing, yet Steve Barnes, the owner of this online writing class says “Writing is writing.” Understanding what the readers want, learning how to craft a good story, and tapping into creativity are skills every writer needs. This course offers lessons in those skills.