1. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    creative writing classes

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by dbesim, Mar 28, 2014.

    Hello, forums,

    I'd like to know what people's opinion is of creative writing classes. Would people within the forums join a creative writing class in order to discuss their books, or their stories off the internet? What is your opinion of creative writing classes? Would you join one, and is it a worthwhile activity to pursue in your spare time. Opinions please!
     
  2. FrankieWuh
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    FrankieWuh Active Member

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    Probably asking the wrong person, but my experience of creative writing teaching has been mixed. I've attended evening classes, a degree and a masters degree in writing. Of the three, the masters was the most effective. It was taught by "masters" in the field, writers who were a mixture of award winners and bestselling authors (one was nominated for the Man Booker prize last year). The evening class was next to useless, more like a coffee morning, and the English degree (it had a writing component) didn't teach me anything I didn't already know or could work out for myself.

    Apart from the masters degree, I've learnt more from books such Collins Complete Writing Guide, Words Fail Me, How to Write a Million and The War of Art than the creative writing classes I've been on. I've also learnt a great deal from forums like here.

    So, in all honesty, it's doubtful I would consider joining a creative writing class again. And if it did cross my mind, I would never join one in order to discuss my book unless I knew the person teaching the class was someone with a proven track record in publishing, i.e. someone who was writing now, and still being published traditionally (some tutors call themselves published writers but haven't been published for over a decade, and even then they weren't published frequently at all).

    I would consider joining a writing group, however. That's different. Like a forum, its a social thing, and opinions can be taken or ignored without the pressure of thinking, "Well, I've paid for this abuse and the tutor is no more qualified to give it than I am."
     
  3. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of things come into play with a question such as this. How experienced is the writer? How experienced is the teacher? Writing styles can vary based not merely on the writer's approach or style but with various genres as well. Does one or the other have a specific genres and there might be a bad fit between student and teacher?

    As FrankieWuh already noted, the quality of the teacher is a big deciding factor. Many people may be exceptional at a given craft but totally suck when they attempt to teach someone else how to do it. That holds true for writing, too.

    And, if you have a writer whose breadth of experience and knowledge of their craft outstrips the teacher's skills and knowledge, the class could be a total waste for both of them.

    ALTHOUGH: I will mention here a writing workshop attendance my son gave me for Christmas one year. Most of the basic work in the classes was fairly pedestrian matched up against what I already knew. But it's the little things, the bits and pieces of human experience that I gleaned from the classes that made them worthwhile. Now, mind you, I would not recommend a skilled, experienced writer putting money on such a workshop just for those little bits and pieces. This was a gift or I would never have gone. But, if you are a novice writer, still working your way through the maze and trying to find your own style and direction, such an experience might be good for you.

    Too many aspects to give an absolute answer.
     
  4. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    Hi there, I've taken a long look at creative writing classes on the internet, and particularly the ones in England, because that's where I'm from. I'd like to compare two of them within this thread, and let me know which one sounds better. I personally think they both sound similar, although their prices differ.

    Both these classes are offered for fun or discussion purposes, and you obtain no qualifications, simply a chance to discuss writing, or books. They both sound similar, but which one sounds better?

    1. 'If you're in the process of writing a poem, a short story, a play or even you own novel, then these are the classes for you. You will be encouraged to be analytical and involve in thoughts provoking discussions, so that you may improve on your writing. You will be drawing from other sources and constructively criticizing the work produced by other classmates. You will also be allowed to share work, so that your own work is also analyses and critiqued. You will consistently be provided with leads and ideas, as a start-base of new work for you. In addition, you will be encouraged to read and talk about more established sources, including poetry and passages from novels. By doing so it is anticipated your own work will improve.
    In the beginning of term, a book will be recommended by a set date, that will be discussed later on in the term. You will be given homework that you must complete every week or in your own time. (10 classes, £90)'

    OR

    2. 'This class is open to anyone with a desire to write creatively. You can write at any standard and in any style, such as fiction, non-fiction, drama and screenplay. This class is a workshop, meaning that the classes are based around discussing written work presented by the students. Some classes will be based around character form, plot and style. You will have to write to deadlines, and you will be given constructive criticism any time you present work to class. Your critical thinking and close reading abilities will improve as you read other people's work. You will be empowered by developing the ability to express yourself in deeper and more manifold ways. (13 classes, £240).'

    I've also seen online creative writing courses. But, I'm wondering which of the two examples above people find more interesting, and which one (if any) you would be liklier to join?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  5. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    Hi there, isn't a writing group, and a creative writing class the same thing? The alternative would, perhaps, be a book club.

    I've included two examples of what I mean by 'creative writing classes' above. I was wondering if, once reading the two examples, you will have a point of view as to which of the two classes (if any) you'd be liklier to join. They are both workshops, similar to a discussion or social group, and they are both done FOR FUN, and not because you will obtain a qualification at the end of it. Thus, do you think it's worthwhile joining? Perhaps you still think it's a waste of time if the tutor lacks publishing experience, or expertise.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Do an online search to see if anyone has posted any reviews on either of those classes. It's really hard for any of us to make a judgement based on just a paragraph-long description because most creative writing classes have the same format (write something, get and give critique, etc.).
     
  7. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    I've taken these two examples from the same website, which was a website promoting all sorts of other creative writing classes. Most of them are done in colleges or universities. There are other courses on the website that can be taken online. The reason I've chosen these two is because both of them are courses you can actually attend, and see other people, and talk. That is something you cannot do in an online class, or become personally acquainted, or see their faces.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Like I said, it's really hard to say which one's better without knowing more about them or actually taking the classes. For what it's worth, if it were me, I would pick the cheaper one just to save some money. But I'm making this decision without having read other people's reviews and thoughts on the classes.
     
  9. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    I appreciate your honesty. I see what you mean by the similarity of the classes. They both seem to do similar things, and sound the same.

    In terms of reviews, the first class hasn't received reviews, and the second has only received one, and was rated 5* by the student who reviewed them. However, the reason I didn't provide an idea of reviews is because everyone tends to rate the same thing differently, and one review doesn't necessarily verify the quality of a class.
     

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