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BluebellCharm 11-02-2015 02:36 PM

A good writing course?
 
Okay so I'm in the UK which I'm guessing may cut the suggestions down somewhat, but does anyone know of any good online writing courses?

I cannot attend a course that requires you to be there physically so a distance course would be ideal.

Any suggestions? x

brianpatrick 11-02-2015 09:31 PM

Coursera has some stuff.

But... other than grammar and shit, nobody can teach you to be creative.

I say: write, write, write!!

Until it comes naturally.

If it doesn't come, do something else.

daes13 11-03-2015 03:59 AM

You can always look up the syllabus to a class you wish to take and get the books for it and study. I say read, read, read.... Then write

Non Serviam 11-03-2015 09:15 AM

http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/modules/a215

wrc 11-03-2015 02:15 PM

Hi Ms. Charm.

You obviously have not searched the net for "creative writing classes." There are more available than you could take in a lifetime. You could add "free" to the search words, and there's still a lot.

I believe the Writers Digest website has a section on classes. I don't know if WD editors stand behind the list.

If it's a free class, send something and evaluate if the feedback works for you. If you have to pay first, then I think you need a recomendation.

You may feel you need a class and I don't know if that's true. That's up to you. But you can acquire writing skills the old fashioned way.

Everytime you write something, let it rest for awhile, then rewrite it. This makes it better. If you don't let it rest you won't have the objectivity needed for your mind to grow.

Use WB by sharing and getting feedback. Again, let you're mind rest for a period of time for the same reason above. Then read all the feedback, maybe take some notes, and always undertake a rewrite. Even if it's a partial flash.

Most human minds learn quickly if motivated.

My last suggestion is to write the genre you like to read. But don't stop there. Write genres where you've researched its characteristics. And if you're intimidated by a genre, definitely be bold and take it on and chase the fear away.

There are two parts to my advice: write, write, write and share, share, share. No matter how often you write, each new writing will be better than the last one.

If you follow my suggestions soon you'll produce work where other writers are dumbfounded because they can't think of anything to make it better.

And never ever give up.

Have a nice writing day.

Binx B 11-04-2015 04:44 AM

There are many online creative writing courses. But the question was, does anyone know of any good online writing courses?

And it seems to me the only way you could judge that would be if you had actually taken the course, or if you knew someone who had taken the course or if you knew something specific regarding the value of a particular course.

That's not too far fetched given that this is a writing site. While possibly helpful, any additional advice related to learning how to write is somewhat beside the point.

wrc 11-04-2015 06:29 AM

Hi Binx.

You're right. I went beyond the question. I went to the question behind the question. "How can I improve my writing?"

I've had many courses in all kinds of writing but none online. So I guess, according to the your rigid idea of sticking to the subject of the question, I should be quiet.

I have a flaw in my personality. It's not possible for me to be quiet. Not a part of of my DNA.

I'm laughing and having fun with you. Are you smiling?

"Excuse me. Do you know the way to the Library?"
"Yes."
"Well, where is it?"
"That's not what you asked me. You asked if I know the way to get there and I do. Now you're asking me another question of where it is." (points) "It's over there. And while you didn't ask if it's open, it's closed today."

I've always thought it best to give as much as possible to leave the questioner with more info than they expect. Very much the same approach you use in your excellent feedback.

I see these 'data dumps' as random acts of kindness. Some people see them as meandering. Go figure...

I really enjoyed writing this response to your response. It feels like a random act of fun. I'm laughing and my day is now brighter. I hope you are, at least, smiling...

wrc

Binx B 11-04-2015 07:08 AM

Heh. That's all fine.

I'm not here to tell anybody how to learn to write. I think everyone's path is going to be different and that the only way to learn is by trial and error.

For example, I think "share, share, share" might be good for some people, but it might be detrimental to others. I'm not even sure that "never give up" is good advice.

And it may be that taking an online writing course is helpful, or it may be one of the "errors."

I'm mostly here to comment on individual pieces of writing. The most I can hope for is that someone might learn from that. Maybe. Otherwise, the rest is up to them. People who really want to write and stick with it are going to do it, regardless of any general advice or pep-talk that they might get from me.

And yes, I am smiling. :)

wrc 11-04-2015 04:43 PM

Hi Binx.

I suppose if I actually knew a writer well I might be able to know what the best feedback was to give. And I agree that the most well meaning feedback can be perceived as hurtful.

Most often I can only describe what happens to me when I read something. What my thinking and emotions are like as I experience the story. And if they identify intent (suspense, sensitive, surreal, etc.) I can judge if the intent happened to me. Beyond that, I always feel lost.

And, of course, to anyone who wants to take the road of the writer, I try to be supportive. But that seldom relates to a piece of work. That's more like coaching.

Your feedback always impresses me and sometimes reading you causes me to go back and read something I'd decided not to read.

As I've said before, there's two kinds of writing which leave speechless: really bad and really good. Why? Because I can't think of anything to say...

Have a nice writing day.

Nick Pierce 11-04-2015 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Binx B (Post 710305)
I think everyone's path is going to be different


Oh fine. Now that I have wrapped my arms and legs around a log and jumped into the stream of consciousness to go with the flow I find out there is a path.

BluebellCharm 11-05-2015 02:05 PM

Thank you all.

Well after expecting maybe a couple of suggestions on courses, as always you've given me a whole heap more to think about. :)

Non-serviam, thanks for the Open University suggestion. I did see that but am not too sure I can afford that just yet. It seems so expensive yet probably the most credible option.

wrc, I was about to correct you on the meaning of my question however it seems Binx beat me to it. lol Thanks BinxB.

From the general advice, I'm thinking a course may not be the ideal way to go.

My original thinking was that a course would help me improve on the points i seem to so desperately fall short on, however maybe just reading, writing and using a little more common sense is all that is really needed?

I completely appreciate the helpfulness of forums such as these, however do struggle to know who's advice to apply to my work and who's to disregard? When your a novice like me, how do you do this?

Anyway, thanks again for all your input.

xx

Nick Pierce 11-05-2015 02:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710370)
I completely appreciate the helpfulness of forums such as these, however do struggle to know who's advice to apply to my work and who's to disregard?


I am grateful for all the advice and am only struggling with deciding whose to try first.


See how politically perfect that reads?

BluebellCharm 11-05-2015 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Pierce (Post 710372)
I am grateful for all the advice and am only struggling with deciding whose to try first.


See how politically perfect that reads?

Nick, you have to make that more understandable to me? Unfortunately I was not blessed with the obvious education you have :)

BluebellCharm 11-05-2015 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710382)
Nick, you have to make that more understandable to me? Unfortunately I was not blessed with the obvious education you have :)

Actually, I think I see what you mean now. Are you teaching me to be more discreet or am I way off the mark?

poirot 11-05-2015 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710370)
1. My original thinking was that a course would help me improve on the points i seem to so desperately fall short on, however maybe just reading, writing and using a little more common sense is all that is really needed?

2. I completely appreciate the helpfulness of forums such as these, however do struggle to know who's advice to apply to my work and who's to disregard? When your a novice like me, how do you do this?

You could start a thread for each of the points on which you feel you fall short. Then you could learn from the advice and the arguments.

As for what advice to follow, look at both the writing of the person giving the advice and the quality of the advice. If you like that person's writing and / or the advice makes sense to you, try it. If you like the result, keep it. If you don't like it, throw that out and try again. Over time you will develop a sense for someone trying to look impressive versus someone who is being helpful. Of course even when someone means well it can not work for you.

I don't go by credentials, as those can be misleading. Especially in an online forum.


(da dum, da dum)

Binx B 11-06-2015 04:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710370)
...however maybe just reading, writing and using a little more common sense is all that is really needed?

Have you thought about starting off with something bite-sized instead of taking on a novel?

I was having trouble developing and finishing a story, and someone suggested I take a significant event from my life and write about it.

I did it, and it kind of took the pressure off. I already had the "plot" so to speak, characters and setting. So I could concentrate on telling the story. This happened, then this. This person said this, etc. etc.

It's hard to explain, but it was a kind of a breakthrough. I felt good because I finished something, and somehow a light bulb came on. I actually converted it into third person, changed the names to protect the innocent, and wound up with fairly credible short story.

Good story telling is good story telling. It doesn't have to happen in a post-apocalyptic world. So it may be that you can work out some of your issues on a smaller scale, without worrying about getting through a novel. Just write something, maybe get some feedback to help you identify the problems, fix them and move on.

The other thing you might look for online are writing exercises and prompts. I haven't looked into them myself, but I know they're out there.

Cheers

Non Serviam 11-06-2015 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710370)
I completely appreciate the helpfulness of forums such as these, however do struggle to know who's advice to apply to my work and who's to disregard? When your a novice like me, how do you do this?

You have to read other people's stories. This is the single most useful thing a learning writer can do, because it has three important effects:-

1) If you like their stories, then that's evidence that they know how to write. You should therefore pay attention to what they say.
2) If you don't like their stories, then that's an opportunity for you to look at their piece and work out why you don't like it. This process of thinking and evaluating is also part of your training as a writer. If you feel confident (and in due course you probably will), then you can actually post why you don't like their piece and give advice about how to fix it.
3) This then shows them that you've read their piece attentively, which massively increases the chance that they will then read yours attentively. At this point, you are building a mutually supportive and helpful relationship with your peer group that could just be the springboard for a writing career.

Nick Pierce 11-06-2015 08:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BluebellCharm (Post 710383)
Actually, I think I see what you mean now. Are you teaching me to be more discreet or am I way off the mark?

Not discrete.
All inclusive.
That's what happens when the term disregard is eschewed.

poirot 11-06-2015 08:57 AM

I think Non Serviam's points are well said. I've learned by critiquing and reading other people's critiques how to be more critical of my own writing.

I also want to add that I started with a couple of novels and picked away at them over a period of years working on them now and then. As I learned more I rewrote sections. And did it again. And again. And again.

I also was fortunate to know another writer in real life and worked on stories together. It was a bit difficult at first, but we wanted a good story so we questioned character actions, emotions, etc. It was sort of like having instant critiquing.

If you're looking for shortcuts, there aren't any. Getting better takes time and effort. And good feedback.

Good luck.

BluebellCharm 11-07-2015 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by poirot (Post 710407)
You could start a thread for each of the points on which you feel you fall short. Then you could learn from the advice and the arguments.

Thank you. This is a great idea but I worry that I sometimes have so many more questions to ask when someone gives me their opinion/advice.
It seems inappropriate to keep asking and asking until my questions are fully answered, if you know what I mean?

I suppose I was thinking when your paying for tuition, you can ask all you want until you fully understand.

Maybe I just don't like to feel I'm bugging people too much. lol

Quote:

Originally Posted by Binx B (Post 710424)
Have you thought about starting off with something bite-sized instead of taking on a novel?

Yes BinxB! This makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of what happens with me is I try to take on too much in the way of self mental expectation.
By starting off with something simple makes perfect sense.

I have to admit one of my many bad habits is loving to start something, but then getting bored and starting something else.

Doing this would be a great start!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Non Serviam (Post 710435)
You have to read other people's stories. This is the single most useful thing a learning writer can do, because it has three important effects:-

1) If you like their stories, then that's evidence that they know how to write. You should therefore pay attention to what they say.
2) If you don't like their stories, then that's an opportunity for you to look at their piece and work out why you don't like it. This process of thinking and evaluating is also part of your training as a writer. If you feel confident (and in due course you probably will), then you can actually post why you don't like their piece and give advice about how to fix it.
3) This then shows them that you've read their piece attentively, which massively increases the chance that they will then read yours attentively. At this point, you are building a mutually supportive and helpful relationship with your peer group that could just be the springboard for a writing career.

This is awesome advice! Thank you. You speak a lot of sense.


Okay so I think from everyone's advice here, I'm guessing that apart from getting my shit together in the way of re-educating myself on basic punctuation and grammar, the best way is to read, read, read and write, write, write.

Of course using sites like this can also help me endlessly, so I'm going to apologise now for bugging the crap outta y'all by keep posting until I improve! ;)

mcv1986 11-08-2015 09:16 AM

Does it have to be a real course with actual people? If not I can suggest the Red Sneaker Books by William Bernhardt. They focus on individual parts such as structure, plot and dialogue.

Also, don't forget the old standbys like On Writing by Stephan King and Bird By Bird by Ann Lamont.

Binx B 11-08-2015 09:36 AM

I've never read a "how to" writing book. But it probably couldn't hurt, unless you get caught up in trying to find just the right one, with the magical tips that will somehow make a you a good writer.

It's like people who buy all the self-help books. They go from one to the next looking for the solution, but they're always miserable.

MaryPeterson 05-02-2016 12:36 AM

Re
 
There are lot of online writing courses available over the internet. Stanford continue studies, open university,university of lowa are some the online writing courses available.

Unpredictabloo 07-07-2016 06:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrc (Post 710304)
Hi Binx.

You're right. I went beyond the question. I went to the question behind the question. "How can I improve my writing?"

I've had many courses in all kinds of writing but none online. So I guess, according to the your rigid idea of sticking to the subject of the question, I should be quiet.

I have a flaw in my personality. It's not possible for me to be quiet. Not a part of of my DNA.

I'm laughing and having fun with you. Are you smiling?

"Excuse me. Do you know the way to the Library?"
"Yes."
"Well, where is it?"
"That's not what you asked me. You asked if I know the way to get there and I do. Now you're asking me another question of where it is." (points) "It's over there. And while you didn't ask if it's open, it's closed today."

I've always thought it best to give as much as possible to leave the questioner with more info than they expect. Very much the same approach you use in your excellent feedback.

I see these 'data dumps' as random acts of kindness. Some people see them as meandering. Go figure...

I really enjoyed writing this response to your response. It feels like a random act of fun. I'm laughing and my day is now brighter. I hope you are, at least, smiling...

wrc

This whole thing is so obnoxious omg... are you okay??

Unpredictabloo 07-07-2016 06:31 AM

I haven't taken any online courses myself, but have been thinking about doing so... I find that my "practice" sessions get amped up when it's for a class. Especially if the entire class is able to contribute to critique. Having made something that stands up to the critique of multiple perspectives is great for confidence. It's a test audience. And if the response isn't positive, that's great too -- school is a good place to make bad work before it's put out into the "real" world. At least, that's my experience with courses focusing on other subjects.

Anyone who has taken an online writing class, what was it like? Is there group critique as there might be in a physical classroom, or are most of them self-lead?

John Anthony 07-21-2016 03:53 AM

You better hire teacher rather than online learning.

Brandon459 10-25-2016 07:40 AM

Some great input here. Got me thinking that I should seriously look into a course...

Carly Berg 10-26-2016 07:46 PM

Do you want the online writing classes to be about any particular genre, category or anything else specific?

Holly Lisle has some online classes.

Litreactor has some too.

For romance writers, Romance Writers of America has some for their members.

EricRomm 11-09-2016 10:40 PM

Gotham Writers has a good Creative writing course which you can check out.
But if you want to get some free training, you can also get that online from top universities like MIT and Purdue university. See the list here
They teach you to master the writing skills for articles, stories, essays, and provide students with the inspiration and tools they need to put their words on paper. I did a course from University of Michigan that I found on this list.

... 11-21-2016 05:04 PM

Corsera and possibly EdX


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