1. Daryl
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    Daryl Member

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    to take classes or not

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Daryl, Jan 29, 2012.

    hey guys, just wondering, with all the books out there on the subject of writing and forums like this one..does it even make sense to got to college or something to learn more about writing?
     
  2. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I think it makes sense, but that's because I'm a hands on learner and I absorb material better if I have a teacher and classmates around.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I took online classes from Gotham, and I'm glad I did. I've read tons of books on writing, but the one thing they can't give you is feedback on your own work. In a workshop-style class, you not only have an instructor, you also have a group of serious and dedicated fellow students, and these people will evaluate your work honestly and fairly. And you, of course, must evaluate their work in the same spirit.

    I really think there is nothing more valuable for a beginning writer than some honest critiques of his work. The writing workshop environment gives you that. I recommend taking classes.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say workshop style, hands-on - yeah. If you can afford it, if it's from a known/respected school/organization - yeah. If it's all about theory and little or nothing about having pen in hand - no (that you can get from books/online). If you're talking a college degree - well, that's a whole 'nother discussion ;)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Formal classes in the basics of writing, including grammar and punctuation, may be worth your money if you have problems in those areas.

    Literature classes may be helpful to expose you to a range of writers you might otherwise never be inspired to seek out. Also, liberal arts classes will give you a broad base of knowledge and experiences that are useful for any kind of writing.

    Other than that, there are far less expensive ways to learn what you need to know as a writer. Reading voraciously from a variety of authors and genres is the best education you can use as a writer.
     
  6. Daryl
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    Daryl Member

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    ok..thanks for all the info
     
  7. LVOS18
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    LVOS18 Member

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    Reading lots and writing even more is the best way to develop you're writing overall. However, if you are looking to develop a specific project then the occasional critique/ workshop is very helpful. But you don't need to take classes to get that.
     
  8. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    It's possible to write (and write well) either with or without formal training. However, you might find that classes help you to progress faster, especially because it's a way of getting good quality feedback.

    Personally, I'm attending workshops and free classes in my local community, and considering an online course. Maybe going back to college to take a proper course would be better, but I don't think it would be so much better that I can justify spending thousands on it.
     
  9. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I took a creative writing class years ago, and it helped me greatly.

    What mostly helped was the assigned reading -- The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante. What also helped were the writing exercises -- each week we had to write something (based on a prompt) and read it to the class.

    The critique I got from the professor had some value. The critique from the other students was more or less useless. What I found most valuable was forcing myself to write something I thought other people would want to read or hear.

    So it was great, but I could have gotten about as far with just that book and a writing buddy.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to ditto cog on this... i only recommend taking writing courses for those i mentor who can't seem to learn how to write well enough on their own, simply by being constant readers of the best writers' works...

    those who need a course or two are generally the ones who didn't do well in basic english courses in grammar and high school and those to whom english is not their birth tongue... in such cases, formal classes are pretty much a must... and nyc's gotham writers workshop courses are the best you can find anywhere... though a bit pricey, they're well worth every penny to any who are serious about writing...
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It really depends on your situation and the kind of learner you are.
    I think it is very important to get education in some kind of writing, and then to practice it, but there are many professions other than writing itself that will achieve this. Psychologists, teachers, journalists and a whole host of other jobs allow a person to hone in the skill of writing. To move from that onto fiction is not all that difficult, and lots of reading, practice and a few good books on the art of storytelling is usually all that's needed.
    On the other hand, if you never managed to become really confident in communicating your ideas effectively through writing, such as, you are still in school or your job never required this particular skill, then perhaps a bit more immersion in the teaching side of it might be needed.
    Ultimately, I think, every aspiring writer can easily tell whether their writing is satisfactorily close to the writing of their favourite authors, quality wise. If the answer is yes then there is no problem, but if the answer is no, then they need to do something about it.
    But there are many ways to achieve the same goal of.
     

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