Saturday, 28 July 2012

Where are all my writing elves?

Last night, I found myself browsing writing courses in my area. I attended a creative writing course a few years back, which was utterly dire. For two reasons: I wasn't as committed to writing as I am now (although the passion was obviously always there), and there was too much poetry for my liking. I've tried. I just can't get into poetry. What's wrong with me?

Tell me, what are your thoughts on writing courses? Have you been on one and did it improve your writing? Am I better off just trawling through the free online courses (on that note, any suggestions?)? Or do you think the best form of learning is through living?

Forgive the barrage of questions. I'm desperate to write well. I want to write as beautifully as Nancy Mitford or Elizabeth Jenkins, but with the lure and page-turning-against-your-will ability of the likes of Virginia Andrews and Stephen King. Is that too much to ask?

In other news... over the past few days, I've found myself poring over all the writing advice on author Jody Hedlund's website. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a gentle nudge. I especially like the post: 4 Ways to Hook Your Readers and Keep Them Wanting More.

Despite being somewhat dubious, I've also printed out a Character Worksheet from The Writer's Craft. It strikes me as potentially useful, as it doesn't require me to write down what the character's neighbour's goldfish looks like. Time will tell whether it will prove beneficial; I'll be sure to let you know!

Aside from doing some housework (which simply cannot be ignored any longer), I hope to chain myself to the writing desk today. After all, as Neil Gaiman once told us, the Writing Elves aren't going to come along and finish my work for me!

Have a lovely weekend :) x


Kyra Lennon said...

I'm glad you made the comment about not getting into poetry, I can't get into it either!

I've never been on a writing course, though I have thought about it. But now I realise I can learn a lot of stuff, simply by hanging out online with other writers!

Catherine Noble said...

@Kyra Lennon: Yaaaaay we're in this ship together, Kyra. Haha :)

How apt of you to say so, because I learned something from you, from the A to Z Challenge. I'm going to do a scene a day for next year's one, just like you did for "Game On", so thank you for the inspiration! :) x

Anonymous said...

I had a great time on the Oxford University (Dept Continuing Education) Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing. I think it improved my writing a bazillion per cent. But I think it depends how you learn. One of my friends (novel out this month) wanted to do it all by herself. I have some learning issues and it really helps me to have stuff explained and to get feedback. We're all different though. Keep on keeping on. Not giving up is 99 per cent of it imho. Cathy x

Anonymous said...

I think this particular poem should resonate with you as a writer:

Catherine Noble said...

@writeanovelin10minutesflat: (I love your name haha) That sounds like an amazing course. I read your literary criticism... man, you know your stuff! I shall keep on keeping on, thanks Cathy :) x

@Anonymous: Thanks for the link to the poem. I actually found this one readable :) I enjoyed the comments underneath even moreso. It is indeed a romantic notion to create without the need for discipline. If only! :)

michelle said...

When time permits, I dabble in some poetry... specifically haiku. Because of its precise structure, I find it helps with tight, concise writing.
I've never attended a course but have thought about whether I should do so...
Honestly speaking, I'd rather invest time in writing on a regular basis, and take it from there.

Anne Mackle said...

Neil is right the writing elves won't do your writing for you. I don't like the bit about go get your heart broken , I don't think you have to go that far. I hate to think of anyone's heart being broken but I think the best writers are the ones who have been through ups and downs in their lives.

Anonymous said...

I went to a short course years ago and then joined a critique group while working on my M.A. thesis and neither worked for me. Everyone in the group had such vastly different perspectives on writing and I was early on in both projects at the time. It was overwhelming and not very productive for me to have people focus on the minutia of my writing (basically copy editing - you should have phrased the sentence this way) when what I needed at that time was feedback on the work as a whole, my writing style, character development, etc. I left both and was able to accomplish a lot more, but I do think that being farther along into a project would have helped.

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