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Writing course have paid fortune for is bit crap

(12 Posts)
8oreighty Tue 30-Apr-13 23:05:13

Really want to quit basically, cost a mint... Very high profile but teacher is rubbish and destructive rather than constructive.... 2 classes in and feel really down about my own work as well as upset for others who've had theirs ripped apart... Been working on this book for over 3 years... What would you do? Know am not a regular, lurk mostly but would really appreciate your opinions!!!

Punkatheart Wed 01-May-13 10:02:21

This one is impossible to judge from anyone outside your group. I am a professional writer and at this stage, I need harsh critique, not soft praise. However, there should be some form of 'how to make it better' help offered.

Writing is tough, there is lots to learn and when it gets to the publication stage, it gets even tougher. People are not kind then.

You have only had two lessons. You need to speak to your teacher in the first instance and if your perception is still that it is predominantly negative, then you need to speak to someone higher...

8oreighty Wed 01-May-13 18:43:00

Thanks for answering... I did speak to teacher and someone higher...and other students who all felt the same. I decided to do it because I wanted the criticism, and that's fine...I can take it...just should be in some way constructive, or I should at least come away feeling enthusiastic about writing. I think it's just a case of a teacher with a massive ego...I've seen loads of the same thing when I did my MFA in painting...I am going to stick it out for now because I like the group, there is some great writing.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 02-May-13 09:17:12

I think if it was me I'd stick it out a bit longer. Ultimately the enthusiasm for writing needs to come from within you, so even if it is evaporating in the short term as a result of this, it will come back again, if writing is the right thing for you.
I have never done a writing course but I can imagine the friendships you make with other writers being one of the most important things you get out of it.
I'm assuming it wouldn't be easy to get your money back, anyway, so you might as well adjust your expectations and just try and take from it what you can.
And maybe as a class you can challenge the teacher and say 'We need more pointers on how to improve,' if you're finding the criticism just knocks you down with no indications as to how to build your work up again.

Punkatheart Thu 02-May-13 09:39:00

Good points, Tunip. I made such good friendships via online and fleshy writing groups - my friends now employ me for writing gigs. We support one another and thrill at one another successes. Hang in there.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 05-May-13 09:32:11

That's a real shame 8oreighty. I did a creative writing course last year and it was nothing like you describe.

It was short stories so I guess people were less attached to what they had written as it was only a weeks work, but the tutor was very careful to spend time telling us what constructive criticism looked like i.e. positive comments as well as development ones, and made sure that it was well structured.

However I do suspect that we were very nice to each other grin. I sometimes found it a challenge to find something to praise but it was good development for me.

Ultimately only you can decide if it's right for you. As you have only been to two classes you could maybe explore if you can get your money back, at least it will cause the course organisers to take note, if not then stick with it, but check your mood at the end of each class. If it's still making you less rather than more likely to write, then I think you need to revisit.

Punkatheart Sun 05-May-13 18:53:29

A few weeks work for a short story! I take months and sometimes they go on for years!

Good points, theoriginal.

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 05-May-13 19:43:16

grin Punkatheart, we had homework and that was to write an entire short story for each week of the course. I only missed one as I am a diligent soul, but it was science-fiction, and I was getting together a different short story for a competition at that time.

I'm now going back to one that I did so I can enter it for a competition and I am finding there is a lot of work to be done and I am more satisfied with each revision, but at the heart is the original story that I managed to create in a week.

If I had received too much harsh but probably justified criticism at the time I would probably just have given up in despair.

Punkatheart Sun 05-May-13 21:34:26

Well done, theoriginal. Yes, you do need to put a story away and revisit it...then it looks different, almost like someone else's you can look at it more dispassionately.

I have one story and it has been kicking around for ages. It has been shortlisted/runner-up in some comps and now has been longlisted for The Bath Short Story Award. If it's a bloody bridesmaid again............

I can take harsh now but when I was starting out? Not so sure....

8oreighty Tue 06-Aug-13 14:06:03

Hi all, thought I'd pop back and say that after all it turned out ok. I did complain to the teacher, and he ended up being very helpful...and I did make some good 'writer friends' I hope, we are yet to meet up, but it's only been a few weeks since it ended. I have ended up making huge changes to my book, which was needed, and a good thing... But I would have loved a challenge like writing a short story a week, we were promised that sort of homework, but none was actually given. What a great way to get your mind moving. I keep meaning to set myself these tasks but end up getting lost in trying to finish the book. Thanks all for your support.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 06-Aug-13 15:58:20

So glad it worked out in the end!
Good luck with the book. Come and join us on the revising and editing thread if you feel like it.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Wed 07-Aug-13 14:33:57

Check out Chalk the Sun creative writing group. I recommended then in another thread too. They have weekly courses with assignments each week.

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