Unsure whether to write novel or take writing course first....

Discussion in 'Novels' started by duncan9021, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    Yes. Good 'how-to' books are inspirational, and give you ideas for your own writing. If you feel like you've learned a lot after closing the book, then it's probably a 'good' book.

    I would certainly recommend that a person starts writing before reading these books, though. That way you'll have something to work on, something to change, something to re-think.

    If you start by only reading about writing, rather than actually writing, you may well get discouraged about starting, overwhelmed by all the stuff you're supposed to get 'right'—and get scared off the idea of writing altogether.

    Once you've 'written,' however, what the books tell you will make sense.

    If that makes sense....
  2. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

    Oct 27, 2018
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    Hello friend. :superhello:

    Write straight away. Sometimes courses will teach you extra stuff you wouldn't need it, merely for curiosity. And in the end you will think why on earth did I take this course? Why did I wasted my time? I'm not saying taking a course is bad, but if you can take inspiration from your favourite writers and see what they do to succeed, and read books you like to improve your stories and read books about writing then why courses?
    Kallisto likes this.
  3. Gary Wed

    Gary Wed Active Member

    Jan 2, 2019
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    Imagine a classroom full of students who have taken a writing class. Twenty students, one professor. The range of talent is all over the place. The range of interest is all over the place. The type of writing is widely distributed. You have ninety minutes in the classroom, twice a week for fifteen weeks, or two hours per student.

    Perhaps there is some real instruction. Depends on the class, there, whether it's a specific focus or just general writing. Now, most writing courses cover all sorts of writing, essays, persuasion, non-fiction, business, etc.. Even if it's fiction, they tend to teach everything, and that means that only a small part of the course is about what really gets you somewhere.

    Take a topic like viewpoint, for example. We have all sorts of ways that is broken down. objective, subjective, competing, 2nd person, limited 3rd, omniscient limited, multiple limited, journalistic, and on and on. Never mind that in most speculative fiction we work in only 4 or 5 of those for 99% of the work. And, remember that we have almost no time on task with individual students. In fact, most of these classes will only have you do a couple tests and maybe two 3000 word works. Most of the review of those two works is going to be done by fellow students, none of which know their asses from a hole in the ground.

    If you learn anything at all, it's a miracle.

    Now, take that to grad school in a place that focuses on fiction writing, and in your class of ten kids you start to actually learn from your writing. Those programs are rare.

    OR, you write. You write every day. And, you join a solid writer's group that dissects your work twice a month, everyone there keenly aware of the many concerns of fiction writing in particular.

    There is no comparing these two things.

    Then again, if your goal is to teach writing (probably where you'll actually make money at it), there is no comparing these two things.
    Thundair and EFMingo like this.
  4. Phil Istine

    Phil Istine New Member

    Jul 12, 2015
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    Sussex, England
    Writing or joining a writing class needn't be either ... or. Do both.
    I've done both and they seem to complement each other. Funnily enough, I've learned more about writing techniques from writing and reading than in a formal class setting. The classes were good for showing me how to stretch my imagination, but I learn more about the nuts and bolts from the internet, reading 'how to...' books, reading stories by established authors and examining their techniques, and writing my own work and learning from the mistakes. I haven't written any full-length stories yet, but flash fiction, short stories, and poetry are my way of expressing myself. I'm in the process of making big life changes and intend to write longer works when I've sorted things out.
    I say do both.
    Kallisto likes this.

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