Start Writing Fiction

396,735 enrolled on this course

Get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters, with this hands-on course.

Start Writing Fiction


8 weeks

Weekly study

3 hours



Discover the rituals and approaches that successful fiction writers use

On this online course, established writers – including Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker, Alex Garland, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tim Pears, Michèle Roberts and Monique Roffey – will talk about how they started writing.

You’ll consider the rituals of writing and keeping a journal; learn how to develop your ideas; reflect on your own writing and editing; hear writers talk about their approach to research; and start turning events into plot.

You’ll also have the opportunity to review the work of fellow writers and receive comments on your own, learning to read as a writer and respond to feedback.

What topics will you cover?

  • Creation of characters in fiction
  • Different sources for characters in stories
  • Ways of presenting characters in stories
  • Reading as a writer
  • Writing practice, including creativity, research, observation and editing
  • Peer reviewing, workshops and the importance of feedback

Start Writing Fiction

4.7 (923 reviews)

396,735 enrolled on this course

8 weeks

3 hours per week

Digital certificate when eligible

Introductory level

FutureLearn Programmes

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…

Who is the course for?

This course is intended for those with an interest in starting to write fiction or improving their fiction writing, and does not require any previous experience of studying this subject.

Please be aware that participation in this course involves reviewing work posted by other learners. You may find some material used in these stories is of an adult nature (e.g. language, sex, violence) and although captured in context, may offend. Learners on this course are instructed to place warnings at the top of their work to indicate use of such content.

Recommended for learners age 16+.

Who will you learn with?

Derek Neale

A novelist and short story writer – his latest novel is The Book of Guardians – Derek has recorded many interviews with novelists, playwrights and biographers about their approach to writing.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

In 2012, The Open University (OU) founded FutureLearn to extend its mission to open education to all. OU courses on FutureLearn are designed and delivered by world-class academics, with many endorsed by leading industry experts – combining academic excellence and relevance to help individuals and businesses to upskill quickly and achieve their learning goals.

Did you know?

  • The OU is the UK’s largest University and has pioneered distance learning for over 50 years. With currently over 175,000 students in the UK and overseas, they have helped more than 2.2 million students realise their ambitions.
  • Over 70% of OU students are in full-time or part-time employment, with 77% of FTSE 100 companies sponsoring staff to study OU courses.
  • More CEOs and Managing Directors of UK companies have studied with the OU than any other UK university.
  • The OU is rated one of the best in the UK for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey.
  • The OU has partnered with the BBC for 50 years, with OU academics providing expert input to around 35 programmes per year.

EC x FutureLearn