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Creative writing courses

Discussion in 'education & employment' started by Scarlette, May 24, 2012.

  1. Scarlette

    Scarlette Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have any experience of these? Is really like to do one - preferably correspondence - but have no idea where to start looking or what would be a good one.

    I would be grateful if you could let me know your views and experiences.
     
  2. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    I haven't got experiences, only prejudices, which say that creative writing courses are for people who want to churn out the sort of writing that will please people who can't earn a living as a writer.
     
    sojourner likes this.
  3. Scarlette

    Scarlette Well-Known Member

    Probably true, and I think that is what I have always thought too. It's a bit of a thing you either can or can't do. I would just like to learn some discipline with respect to writing. Or just so something that forces me to have discipline.
     
  4. Citizen66

    Citizen66 splash the cistern

    You're probably better off joining writers' forums, writing some shorts and letting the other writers give constructive critisism. Or are you at complete beginner stage?
     
  5. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    I took a creative writing course in college. You have to be careful with these classes because they all tell you that it's a freedom of expression and it's your thought processes, but depending on how (and what) you write, you can find yourself in a legal battle (if it's taken offensively to the point school administration has to intervene).

    Example is that most c.w. syllabus state that nothing is off limits. Professors will explain until they are blue in the face that because it's a creative writing course, whatever you put on paper and hand in, you won't get reprimanded. Your peers could read it and give feedback, but otherwise, do whatever. I had that type of course. The beginning of every week, 3 works were to be handed in. The following class day, those works were handed out to the class. Over the weekend (this course was Monday and Wednesday), you had to review your peers' work, give feedback (positive or negative) and it was reviewed that Monday as a group. Fair enough, yeah? Even the teacher couldn't tell us enough, that what we write, we won't be getting a failing grade on. I think I ended up with a B in that class because I disagreed with what my peers were saying most of the time. They all wrote fruity lovey dovey things, literally nicking story lines from movies and books, where I traveled a totally different path and was coming from somewhere deeper. Most of my work, they hated, but still critiqued it in a way it sounded positive.

    Second example, in regards to administration stepping in: back in February, there was a Yahoo / ABC News article stating a man was currently in a legal battle with his school, due to taking a creative writing course. He asked time and again, will they get in trouble for what they write? Can they express things in a polite and positive manner (or even negative, but use the form correctly?) and the teacher said yes; no one will be frowned upon. Well, he wrote a story about his professor one day. He took some lyrics from "Hot For Teacher" and re worked them into an essay. He didn't get in trouble for nicking lyrics. He got in trouble for being a little too proactive. The professor was uncomfortable, and took it to the board. He was "kicked off campus" and I think even received an incomplete for the course.



    e2a: I had written about it in my blog. Links are in it for reference / news information.
     
  6. Scarlette

    Scarlette Well-Known Member

    No, not complete beginner. That sounds like a good idea. I guess I want to get to know how to get on, how to write more regularly and mainly, how to plan and write longer projects.
     
  7. Scarlette

    Scarlette Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info, and I'll have a look at your blog.
     
  8. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    You're welcome. And the more I re read my post, I meant provocative instead of proactive, in the case of the second example, when the man got in trouble for what he wrote.

    But yeah, just keep in mind where ever you go to take these courses, the usual rule is that it's a freedom of expression and you'll get proper feedback for your writings. Under normal circumstances, you can flourish as a writer because you learn more about your style and what works best. The guy in the news was some freak occurrence. Most schools' creative writing courses are the same - do what comes naturally and whatever is written isn't set in stone, per se, but you also won't get into much trouble for it (you may get feedback saying it's a little sexual or vulgar, but if it's written well, there shouldn't be a problem).
     
  9. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    Oh, don't get me wrong: I think writing is something that can be learnt, I just don't think it's something that creative writing courses will teach you.
     
  10. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    What sort of idiot thinks writing about their teacher is appropriate?
     
    Random, Miss Caphat and Greebo like this.
  11. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    What sort of creative writing teacher thinks writing about your teacher is inappropriate?

    I've nothing particular against such courses - they provide a focus and motivation to get writing, which is valuable in itself - but that story illustrates their limits. I would imagine the likes of Mishima or Genet would not have lasted long on any course. In fact, I can think of a great many writers who would not have lasted.
     
  12. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist my world is fire and blood

    if you've any arrogance you resent having to read and analyse the people whose prose is like kryptonite. But sometimes there are peoples work who you appreciate and steal pithy lines from :cool:
     
  13. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    So you want to pay someone to tell you to write more regularly. Why not just schedule some writing time regularly each week and see how you get on?
     
  14. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    When you have the (creative) freedom to write whatever you wish, no holds barred, and are given every opportunity to let your mind wander, of course you're going to write about your teacher. He didn't make her out to be a floozy (according to the articles). He did it with respect. Considering he "asked numerous times" about topics and she said nothing was off limits, then whatever happens, happens.

    I semi agree with the articles because I've had that type of class, so I can see where the comments are coming from. But on the other hand, where the attitude is "anything goes", he shouldn't have suffered any legal action or expulsion. If need be, a slap on the wrist and change the syllabus / course requirements.
     
  15. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    I don't follow. Because you can write about anything, therefore it's inevitable you write about your teacher?
     
    grit and Greebo like this.
  16. grit

    grit an ugly force for good

    Thats not strictly true, you can have a natural talent but there is a lot in planning a story and how to edit/identify bits to change is a learned skill.
     
  17. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    Who's talking about natural talents?
     
  18. grit

    grit an ugly force for good

    Rereading your post now I think I probably misinterpreted it. Are you suggesting people who teach creative writing courses are people who couldnt be professional writers? :confused:
     
  19. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    I'm suggesting that people who teach creative writing courses are often not making a successful enough living as a professional writer to be able to not teach creative writing courses.
     
  20. grit

    grit an ugly force for good

    Maybe... in some cases, however the people I know who teach them are successful professional writers with a back catalog spanning a decade or more. Which is the reason they can sell out courses quickly for good money.
     
  21. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    I'm saying it can happen. Most of the time it doesn't, but it can. These courses usually have the same curriculum and the professors say you can write about anything. Some people write about nature, some about marriage, some take darker paths. If its on your mind, you write it.
     
  22. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    That's not really fair, you know. Kurt Vonnegut taught a creative writing course, and he was a fantastic writer in my and many other people's opinion. I'd have thought that anyone thinking of doing one ought to read what their prospective teachers have published, though. And of course, commercial success does not necessarily correlate very closely with many qualities that prospective students might be looking for.

    Also, a lot of writers don't want to be full-time writers who do nothing else.
     
    frogwoman likes this.
  23. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    And sometimes it's inappropriate to say or write what's on your mind. That's a fact of living in a society whether or not you are taking a writing class.
     
  24. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    Then why have / take a creative writing course? Why be given the opportunity to express yourself on paper? Sure, it's judged by peers and professionals, but when there are no real "rules" to follow in the course, how can they be broken?
     
  25. mrs quoad

    mrs quoad usage breakfast sausage breakfast sa

    The first rule of breaking the rules club is...
     
  26. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    It's not about rules. It's about behaviour that is and isn't appropriate. In any situation there is behaviour that is not appropriate, even when they are 'no rules'.
     
    grit and Greebo like this.
  27. susie12

    susie12 Left wing scum




    This really is not true. On my MA course (Scriptwriting) all the tutors were professional writers in radio and TV and a lot of the students, myself included, have published work or had it performed and made money from our work. But stick to your prejudices if they bolster your feelings of superiority.
     
  28. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

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