Writers' Educational Community
Writers Helping Writers Since 1995

The first, the largest, the best online university for writers.

 

Writers' Village University is more than a great place to learn how to write; it's a living, breathing community of writers from around the world. Education should be a life-long pursuit for beginning and experienced writers. At Writers' Village University, you'll get to know a community of friendly, helpful members who have made education an important part of their lives.

The "Village," as members refer to Writers' Village University, is a full-time support service. We offer over 300 writing courses and add new classes regularly. As a member, you may take as many courses and workshops as you'd like. It’s all included with your membership. Certificate Programs and Writing Groups are available for every level of writer. If you're a beginner, you won't have to worry about harsh, intimidating criticisms of your work. We prefer to encourage and build confidence. For advanced writers, we provide workshop guidelines that encourage detailed, constructive criticism with an emphasis on craft and author intent. 

 

WVU

MFA050 Flash Nonfiction: Form
This 5-week class is the first in a series of five flash nonfiction workshops. Each week we'll use readings and writing exercises to focus on different components of flash nonfiction: its history, the miniature, decisive moments, compression, and place. By the end of this course, you'll have written four short flash nonfiction pieces.
(December 30, 2021)

MFA170 Flash Fiction - Load-bearing Sentences
Pia Z. Ehrhardt discusses how flash fiction contains joist-like sentences; sentences that carry the load of the story and how to define them in your own work.
(December 30, 2021)

MFA259 Setups to Payoffs
Readers’ cognitive unconscious assumes that everything in a story is there on a need-to-know basis, so they take for granted that everything you present is part of a pattern. A story setup is a break in a pattern. So, it’s vital that your setups have a payoff in the end. We’ll examine how unintended setups derail a story and take a look at simple setups that pay off big time.
(December 30, 2021)

MFA700 Narrative Design
*This 16-week MFA Core Course is only offered once a year.
An in-depth study of story evaluation and form. Sharpen your critical reading skills as we look into both linear and modular story designs. Weekly discussions covering Plot, Character, Tone, Dialogue, Suspense, Point of View, Imagery, Time-Management, Description, Design, and Symbolism. The final three weeks are devoted to Workshops. Based on the book: Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form by Madison Smartt Bell
(January 03, 2022)

L308 One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982 was awarded to Gabriel García Márquez "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts". Students read the book, participate in weekly discussions and write a short response paper.
(January 04, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(January 05, 2022)

F176 Writing Boosters - Story Starters #1
The 1-week Writing Booster Workshops have been developed to assist writers in tapping their creativity. If you're suffering from writer's block, desiring to explore and find new topics to write about, or simply looking for some writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing and stretch yourself as a writer, these workshops will provide the material.
(January 05, 2022)

MFA201 Discovering the Rose in the Rubble
It's up to us to tell the story of the event, experience, or quest as honestly and accurately as possible, to call up and appeal to the emotions of our audience. Whether the audience is moved to laughter or tears depends on how it came to pass, in success or in failure.
(January 06, 2022)

New! MFA368: Experiment and the Tradition
This 6-week course includes notes on craft, examples of model poems, and exercises as ways to encourage you in beginning to shape your own experience, language, and insights into poetry.
(January 06, 2022)

L106: Anton Chekhov Short Stories
Students participate in selected readings and topic discussions on bulletin boards. Optional chats are available at the beginning and end of the course for questions and observations. 
Students have the choice of writing a review, an analysis of a specific element of fiction, or a biography of the author.
(January 11, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(January 12, 2022)

F178 Writing Boosters - Recipe #2
The 1-week Writing Booster Workshops have been developed to assist writers in tapping their creativity. If you're suffering from writer's block, desiring to explore and find new topics to write about, or simply looking for some writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing and stretch yourself as a writer, these workshops will provide the material.
(January 12, 2022)

MFA171 Flash Fiction - Editing and Revising
In his essay, Rusty Barnes introduces his process, "COAPing with revision" (Cut/Order/Add/Polish), and shows how it is readily adaptable to personal and creative writing.
(January 13, 2022)

NEW! L418 Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Students will read text, participate in weekly topic discussions, write short response essays and a short story for the final project.
(January 18, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(January 19, 2022)

MFA202 Triggers
Triggers are everywhere; they’re also idiosyncratic, one person’s method will never instruct another on how to find a trigger. However, they do share some common characteristics. We can learn by looking at these shared traits. A trigger may be so buried in the story that no one, but the author, could ever guess its source. Where do stories come from?
(January 20, 2022)

MFA260 Flashbacks, Subplots, and Foreshadowing
Memories are for navigating the now. In fact, the memory of everything we’ve done, seen, and read affects, and is affected by what we’re about to do right now. The question is, given that all these memories and decisions are influencing your protagonist as she struggles with her issue, how do you, as a writer, weave it all together?
(January 20, 2022)

MFA112 Writing Better Sentences
Good sentences reveal a writer’s thinking.  The difficulty is matching words to thoughts; they’re two different gears and they never align perfectly. We all experience this, finding the right words to say what we’re thinking.  We do our best to write with precision and hope the reader will take it from there.
The thoughts preceding words are called propositions, a term most often used in the study of rhetoric, logic or philosophy, but you’ll soon see why they’re important in sentence building. Propositions are statements a reader can accept or reject as true. They establish trust or distrust. If sentences come across contrived, incoherent, or lack a sense of conversational rhythm, the reader may decide the effort isn’t worth it and close the book.
(January 20, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(January 26, 2022)

MFA172 Flash Fiction - Fixed-Form Narratives
Essay by Bruce Holland Rogers. Fixed-forms or constraints are a fun and productive way of creating a story. Join us as we discover how opting for a constraint may be the spark that sets you off on a path to successful flash fiction.
(January 27, 2022)

MFA750 Writing Literary Fiction - Part 1
This series is based on Alice LaPlante’s book, The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing.  Beginning with a thoughtful discussion on the definition of Literary Fiction, thereafter, each session will include weekly readings, essay writing, discussions, and exercises and a Workshop during the last two weeks.
(January 31, 2022)

L403 The Immense Journey - Loren Eiseley
Students read The Immense Journey by Loren Eiseley, participate in weekly topic discussions, and write a short response paper.
(February 01, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(February 02, 2022)

MFA051 Flash Nonfiction: Image and Detail
This five-week class is the second in a series of five flash nonfiction workshops. Each week will use readings and writing exercises to focus on different components of flash nonfiction: the importance of details, memory triggers, and tropes. By the end of the class, you will have written five short flash nonfiction pieces.
(February 03, 2022)

MFA203 The Mask of Fiction
As writers, we are told to write what we know, but what we know is not all there is to us. We are also, in a way, what we don’t know. We may be at our best when we write what we don’t know. In essence, we are all liars, with grand and noble purpose, but liars nonetheless.
(February 03, 2022)

L134 Banned Books: Huckleberry Finn
Ernest Hemingway called it, "one book" from which "all modern American literature" came and contemporary critics and scholars have treated it as one of the greatest American work of art. Yet in 1885 it was banned from the shelves of the Concord Public Library. This class offers students the opportunity to read and openly discuss the book, and two essays, On Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and The Struggle for Tolerance: Race and Censorship in Huckleberry Finn. Texts provided.
(February 08, 2022)

F108 Creativity In A Box
There are reasons for imposing creative limitations, such as word counts and working within the established conventions of today's market. This two-week exercise illustrates a technique, another tool for a writer's toolbox.
(February 09, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(February 09, 2022)

MFA173 Flash Fiction: Doing More with Less
Beginning with an essay by Julio Ortega we discuss how flash ‘can only be resolved by sudden revelation, as wonder. Flash fiction is a fictional truth—an epiphany.’
(February 10, 2022)

MFA261 The Writer's Brain
In the workshop phase of this series, we’ll examine the deceptive thrill of finishing a first draft; discuss why seeking no-holds-barred-criticism is crucial; explore why rewriting is an essential part of the writing process; and discover a painless way to toughen our hide before heartless strangers begin attacking the very essence of our being (read: critiquing your work).
(February 10, 2022)

L301 If on a winter's night a traveler (Calvino)
Students read Italo Calvino's “If on a winter's night a traveler”, a postmodern and experimental work, both comedy and a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. Exercises include participate in topic discussions, and writing a short response paper.
(February 15, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(February 16, 2022)

MFA204 The Fiction Writer's Apprenticeship
To write well, we must think critically and independently. What are the “rules” of writing? Are there actually rules at all? If so, how might we break them, with style?
(February 17, 2022)

NEW! MFA369: The Perennial Themes
This 5-week course includes notes on craft, examples of model poems, and exercises as ways to encourage you in beginning to shape your own experience, language, and insights into poetry.
(February 17, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(February 23, 2022)

MFA302 The Quatrain Part 1 (Metrical Poetry Series)
Learn how to write poetry in all the major forms, from blank verse and quatrains to sonnets and villanelles. Step by step, easy to understand instructions for even the most beginning poets.
Essential but non-intimidating instruction on meter and rhyme. Focused assignments detailing how to make your first attempt at a specific form Illuminating discussions on pop culture, figures of speech, difficult themes, and other important topics. An engaging overview of poetry's history, and why it's important to learn the traditional forms.
Complementing the instructions are many classic and contemporary poems, including recent work by Richard Wilbur, Wendy Cope, X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia, Rachel Hadas, Wyatt Prunty, Alicia Stallings, and many others.
(February 24, 2022)

MFA174: Writing Flash Fiction
“After a flash an image burns on the eye, the visual echo of the moment.” Using an essay from Ron Carlson, we’ll discuss what it means to write fresh, honest fiction, without clichés and old hacks. How to capture a moment and write on past its original intent.
(February 24, 2022)

MFA110 Syntax, Style and Grammar
Beginners and pros alike will find this unique approach to syntax, style, and grammar both entertaining and highly educational. Sharpen your skills in this informative and comprehensive course. A Core Course for the MFA Certification Program.
(February 28, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(March 02, 2022)

MFA400 Nonfiction: Telling True Stories
Learn from over fifty prominent journalists and nonfiction writers from Harvard's Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. Get and apply solid advice on structuring, writing, and selling your article or book.
(March 03, 2022)

L401 Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion
Students read Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, participate in weekly topic discussions, and write three essays, articles, or blog posts.
(March 08, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(March 09, 2022)

MFA205 Developing Characters
Characters are the beating heart of a story. But how do we create realistic characters, ones that will evoke an emotional response in our readers? The seeds of a character are all around us; it is how we collect and nurture those seeds, how we tend them and form them as they grow that will allow them to evolve into the round, full creatures that are often consistent, sometimes surprising and always full of quirks and complexities.
(March 10, 2022)

MFA802 Introduction to Conceptual Metaphor
Another course designed and led by WVU’s administrator, Bob Hembree, based on his own work in metaphor with reference to works by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson published in the book Metaphors We Live By.

“In this course, I will ask you to set aside things you were taught in school. Our common understanding of metaphor is of a poetic phrase like “Juliet is the sun.” We were taught adding a “like” makes it a simile: Juliet is like the sun. In this course, we’re not working in the domain of English classes.  With conceptual metaphor, simile is equal to a metaphor. In fact, fables, parables, myths, novels, and even history can serve as metaphors. Metaphor is anything that describes one thing in terms of another. Our understanding of the world is built on metaphor—it’s physical. Our brains are wired for it.”
(March 14, 2022)

L232 Kevin Moffett & Nam Le Short Stories
This four-week class consists of readings from the works of both authors, topic discussions, writing exercises, and a response essay. 
(March 15, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(March 16, 2022)

MFA150 Introduction to Flash Fiction
In this first of the flash fiction workshops, we study a piece of fiction by Lydia Davis and contemplate the vignette. Author Nathan Leslie takes a new look at what has in the past been considered a four-letter word and gives us a taxonomy of flash.
(March 17, 2022)

MFA052 Flash Nonfiction: Voice, Sound, and Language
This six-week class is the third in a series of five flash nonfiction workshops. Each week will use readings and writing exercises to focus on different components of flash nonfiction: voice, sounds, and location. By the end of the class, you will have written six short flash nonfiction pieces.
(March 17, 2022)

L233 Chekhov Short Stories (Form and Setting)
In this two-week class, students will read two of Chekhov’s short stories, “A Journey by Cart and “In Exile” followed by the essay, "Chekhov and Form" by Ehud Havazelet. Exercises include discussion and a response essay considering in particular, Chekhov’s form and ability to use setting to forward the plot and enhance his characters. Text Provided.
(March 22, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(March 23, 2022)

MFA206 Minor Characters
Minor characters can add color to a story, tell us things about the main character that we might never know otherwise, but if we’re not careful, they may steal the limelight. We need to remember that while we are each major characters in our own lives. To the rest of the world, we are strictly minor characters all the way.
(March 24, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(March 30, 2022)

L303 The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in 1925 to mixed reviews. It sold poorly; in the first year, it sold only 20,000 copies. Fitzgerald died in 1940, believing himself a failure and his work forgotten. A sad beginning for a novel that has gone on to become part of American high school curricula and today is widely considered a literary classic and a contender for the title “Great American Novel.” Students will read the book, participate in weekly discussions and write an essay in the final week of class.
(April 05, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(April 06, 2022)

MFA207 Setting and Character
Most writers have a good understanding of how interior settings may show the character, but characters in an exterior setting may not have the same connection. In fact, the only reason to pay attention to place, to an exterior setting, is the faith, the belief that they are one--intertwined. Place is character; character is place. A character’s perception of their surroundings says much.
(April 07, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(April 13, 2022)

MFA703 Maps of the Imagination
Writing can be considered as a two-act production. The first one of exploration and discovery, where we create worlds and characters, scribble notes, make assumptions; the second consists of presentation, where we apply our knowledge, sharpen the manuscript and employ our skills and talent toward creating a document that has an effect on others. At some point in that journey, we turn from the role of discovery and take on that of a guide.  Based on the book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by Peter Tuchi.
(April 18, 2022)

L200 Proust & Flaubert - Short Works
Students will read The Madeleine Episode from In Search of Lost Time, Proust - Portrait of a Writer, Flaubert - A Simple Soul, and The Lemoine Affair. Students have the choice of writing a review, an analysis of a specific element of fiction, or a biography of the author. Text Provided.
(April 19, 2022)

B116 Revising and Editing
 A practical approach to the process of editing and revising our writing, this course uses a color-coding system to identify potential areas where changes can be made. Starting with an explanation of the difference between editing and revising, this course looks at finding such things as clichés, sentence problems, weak or overworked words, and many more, leaving the student with a completely edited small piece of work and the skills to continue the editing and revising process.
(April 20, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(April 20, 2022)

MFA208 Difficult Characters
If we want to make the reader care about characters that are bad, immoral, selfish, mean, or obnoxious, we must make them capable of change. Whether they do or not may remain to be seen. They must have an uphill battle, a cross to bear. If we want to fuel the plots of our stories, make our characters believable, we must make them contradictory.
(April 21, 2022)

MFA403 Contemporary Writing Strategies
This 8-week course has 6-weeks of readings and writing exercises that focus primarily on components of writing craft for nonfiction writers and journalists, including structure, clarity, resonance, and voice, and a two-week workshop. The goal of the class is to develop a completed story, article, or blog post.
(April 21, 2022)

L312 Julio Cortázar Shorts
Students read selected works and write a 500+ word response essay (open topic).
(April 26, 2022)

B101 WVU Orientation
(April 27, 2022)

MFA053 Flash Nonfiction: POV and Structure
This six-week class is the fourth in a series of five flash nonfiction workshops. Each week will use readings and writing exercises to focus on different components of flash nonfiction: point of view, structure, and writing the past, present, and future. By the end of the class, you will have written six short flash nonfiction pieces.
(April 28, 2022)