1. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    Writing course

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NovemberRose, Dec 10, 2011.

    Have any of you taken a creative writing course or a course on how to write a novel? My husband says I read so much, therefore I must know how to write a good book, but I might say he could qualify to be a doctor because he loves medical dramas so much! :rolleyes:

    Is there much to be gained from attending a course? There is so much to choose from (in the UK) I just don't know where to start or if I should even bother (cost wise).
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've taken courses from the Gotham Writers' Workshop online. I think they're good. The emphasis is on critiquing the work of your classmates, and I find that valuable.

    I've never taken a writing course in person, but I'd like to. I'd like to meet the instructor and my fellow students face to face.
     
  3. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have taken creative writing courses in college and have attended writing conferences and workshops as well. They all have something to offer but, I don't believe your husband's comments are all that cheeky. The best, first lesson in writing is to read. But read good writing. And read in whatever genre you wish to be published.

    The next step is to find and join a good writers guild in your area. This is where you are going to gain the next most important lesson in writing. The critiquing part. This can be a bit painful if 1) you get into the wrong group and people are in it only to show how 'great' they are and let you know how rotten your writing is. (In which case, find another group fast!), or 2) if you have never been given a solid crit from others before and have a hard time taking the more negative parts of the critique. Having others point out what you may not see in your work is invaluable. But one of the greatest lessons you get from a writers' group is in the critiques you give to others. It's amazing how much you can learn about writing in general and your own writing in particular from critiquing others' works and seeing where their weak spots are and why. You should then find it easier to see those same weaknesses in your own work.

    If money is a deciding factor, I would opt for the butt in the chair and start writing, then join a guild route before laying out hard cash. There are also many good books on creative writing that can be a big help along the way.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have never taken a writing course, I would love to but right now I can't afford it, neither can I study at the times most part time courses are (usually at like 9-11am). I would love to find an evening course but I've still to find one and to wait until I get a job that pays me enough to being able to pay for it. :)
     
  5. NovemberRose
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    NovemberRose Member

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    Thank you all for your help. I might just bite the bullet and take a course. (I was looking at the London School of Journalism which do a correspondence course in novel writing for just under £400) I wish I could attend a University, but I don't have any qualifications! I left school early for various reasons and would have to probably go back and take A levels before a uni would even look at me! (and frankly, that puts me off.) I do read a lot and consider myself to have been to the University of Life as such--I worked at a book store for many years before marrying and raising four children and in between all that I do volunteer work for a blind charity.
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    What your husband said is true. Reading helps you improve your writing; both technically and creatively. I have never taken a writing class in my life. All I do is read and Google.
     
  7. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Double post.
     
  8. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    I took a Writer's Craft course in high school and enjoyed it. I got an A! :D

    I'm looking to take one again at my University or just as a separate thing. I think it really helps bring along your writing.
     
  9. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Reading is +50% of a writer's world, but not all readers are or can be writers (though the ambition may strike anyone). I've taken both online and on-campus creative writing courses over the years. I will say that the on-campus ones have been more beneficial in comparison (mostly due to the critiquing factor others have mentioned). Many online courses also have others critiquing your work and you critiquing theirs, but it's not quite the same. A lot is lost in translation. There is much to be gained from these courses, if you put in the effort, but they, by no means, guarantee success. Likewise, there is little harm to come from them, unless you consider your finances and time (which some can surely waste).
     
  10. blandmanblind
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    I have attended one Creative Writing course. Despite the fact that it was at a community college, the majority of the students took it seriously. The first half of the course was about writing in general: fiction, pacing, poetry, characters, plots, virtually nothing to do with grammar. The second half was all workshops. Every class three or four students would have submitted work for copying and every classmate would be given a copy of those for the day. The first thirty minutes of the class would be for people to read over the works and fill out individualized worksheets containing such questions as initial thoughts, likes, dislikes, and additional notes. Then we would go around the room and the piece presenters would read the first page of their work or an entire poem. Afterwards, volunteers would raise their hands and speak about the various topics they had listed on their worksheets (we all had been coached as to how to make productive criticism). At the end, all the worksheets for a piece would be turned in to the writer to have and read over at home. It was great.

    I was late to my own reading, and a nervous wreck. I was afraid my voice would catch in my throat as I read, but the first time I heard people laughing out loud about something I had written was exhilarating. When people started asking for an encore, and the instructor let me read an addition page, I was proud. It was a grand experience.

    Go to a class in person. Read reviews about professors, or anything else you can get about the class. Make sure everything you read truly agrees with you, and then dive in.
     
  11. blandmanblind
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    blandmanblind Member

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    So, this is how you DUPE!
     
  12. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    It's totally different from being a doctor. You can easily be a good writer without ever taking any writing courses (beyond grade 1 of course!:)).

    With that said, I personally have found writing courses fun and valuable for improving my writing. But I wouldn't feel that I have to take one in order to be a writer. Take one if you think you'd enjoy it, or if you're struggling with your writing and would like some help.

    Also, I've found similar benefits to frequenting forums like these, so if you don't want to shell out your hard-earned cash, just hang around with us.:)
     

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