1. Magical Writer
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    Magical Writer New Member

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    Novel and creative writing course

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Magical Writer, Jul 4, 2013.

    Hi all,
    I recently had a flyer posted through the door containing a list of courses with the option to study from home. The courses consist of various material and assignments that lead up to a final exam in which you receive a Diploma upon passing. Each course you are designated a specific tutor that you deal with via internet and phone who gives you feed back on your work. Among the courses was creative writing and novel writing.

    So I've been debating whether or not i should do one. The only thing is I'm not sure whether its beneficial enough or not. Reason i say that is i have read several published books on novel and creative writing explaining the different aspects of writing, as well as reading a lot of contents on forums regarding writers questions or queries. So i have the books and this forum is probably better than a tutor, so is it actually worth paying out the money?
    Has anyone one else sat these courses and did they find them beneficial, worth paying for? learn much? Or would it be better to just continue reading and writing learning the skills and technique that way?
    Thanks everyone, your info could save me the pocket money that my wife sometimes allows me. So i can buy more books instead. :D
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    What gives me the most pause is the fact that you receive a diploma after the course. There are some writing courses that are worthwhile, but those are for the learning that takes place. A diploma from a single course you take from home isn't likely to be worth the paper it's printed on.

    If you want to take a course, research the institution and/or instructor.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that sage advice!

    the first red flag is that it was a door-to-door handout, thus not likely to have been distributed by a reputable learning institution...

    my best advice would be to put off considering a course for now and spend no more money on how-tos... instead, spend it on acquiring the best works of the best writers of whatever it is you want to write... then spend your time reading and studying how it's actually done by the best practicioners of the writer's art, instead of those who just write about how to write...
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Lot of red flags there, in my skeptical opinion.

    Diploma to do what with? Teach? I can't think of any diplomas in writing that add to a writer's resume except for a university degree and then it would be because the person wanted a professional writing or teaching job.

    How much money?

    Any specific tutor would be the luck of the draw, could be good, could be bad.

    Have you looked to see if the Kahn Academy has any writing courses since those are free online courses.

    I, myself, have learned a lot from reading creative writing books. I imagine a good critique group would be as useful as any tutor.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with Maia on this. Writing is a highly individualized craft. There are commonalities to all good writing, of course, but most of these are available in any basic grammar book. "How to" books can give you some of this information, but in the end, it comes down to what you can write, and the best way to learn that is to read extensively. Whatever you think comprises "good writing" will lie in the emotional reactions you have to it.

    Good luck.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I cannot agree more with the consensus caveat. Have you checked into adult education programs in your area? They may offer writing courses if you feel you need a bit of help and/or support in your creative writing efforts. Also check with libraries and book sellers in your area as they may know of good writing courses to be found in your county.

    Good Luck.
     
  7. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Take a course at a four-year school (you can take part-time courses, without applying which is one way of sneaking into Harvard). It will be taught by someone who has probably already published a few books, other than textbooks. That'd be my recommendation.

    And you've probably noticed that our advice tends to vary widely! One woman's Golden Writing Button works perfectly for her. She pushes it and nothing but unadulterated magic pours out of her fingers, straight through until bedtime! Unfortunately, that button only works for her. :(

    My Platinum Writing Lever works absolutely every time I pull it! But like some kind of King Arthur's Excalibur, I am the only one who can pull my lever [insert adult joke here about girls having buttons and boys having levers]. You have to find your own Spirit Animal and harness it carefully to the Treadmill That Is Writing and find the speed that exercises but doesn't kill your golden goose.

    Then, when you are successful enough, someone will ask you to teach a course on how students can find their animal and you can explain how perfectly it worked for you (while telling your students it probably won't work for them). But that reminds you of a story... and you are OFF on a tangent that lasts the rest of the 50 minutes!
     
  8. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    The solicitous flyer and diploma worry me. I will not, however, knock all teaching programs done through correspondence. I gained considerable knowledge from a writing course through Long Ridge Writers Group (they've an A+ rating with the BBB, I just discovered). You have to test to get in and then you get paired one-on-one with a published author (I don't recall all my instructors but Mary Rosenblum was the most noteworthy). It's self-paced but, uh, don't take a year between assignments or you might get kicked out... They provide you with some great information to study, teach through example, and they do detailed critiques of your writing and help guide you to improvement. I really enjoyed the experience and will one day pay the $35 to get back in and finish. I just wish I'd picked a story to work with that didn't induce my gag reflex just thinking about it. They also teach you how to market your writing, and provide a "subscription" to various market resource books.

    It's surely not for everyone and I don't know if self-driven learning and a forum would make up for what I'd learned there. I had neither at the time I took those courses. For me, though, it was a great experience (and will be again when I get back into it).
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there certainly are some very good courses available online...

    one just has to ferret them out from among the countless worthless-and-worse ones...
     

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