General Question

workaholic's avatar

Should I take a novel writing course?

Asked by workaholic (194points) June 18th, 2014

I’m a non-fiction writer working primarily in journalism and haven’t written a fiction story since eight years ago, and even then that was my first one. I’m interested in learning to write creative fiction. Would you pay $500 for a week-long, 6 hours/day course? That’s one I’m looking at. Or do you have any other suggestions for me to get started?

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8 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Try Anne Lamott’s wonderful book about writing called Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life


If you want a course, I would think that a writer’s workshop that meets once a week for a semester would be more beneficial that the intense one you are looking into. Most writers sit alone at their keyboard and write, write, write before they share and ask for criticism.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I have never taken any writing course. If you want to then you can do it. But I think the writing course only show you a down-to-earth basic information to get started. In other word, it cannot replace your experience.

Here are some tips for starting writing without a course:
– Read fiction books. You will learn how to write and get some good ideas.
– Decide which genre you would like to write, and is easy for you. Do you want to write a romantic story of two people, or an adventure of a man exploring a new world? It’s up to you.
– Start by writing short stories. Short stories take less time and effort to write than longer stories. Once you are more skillful, you can write something longer.
– Maybe you can ask someone to read your stories for critique. Learn from your mistakes.
– Know your character well. Live your character’s life, breath your character’s air, think like your character. It will make the stories more realistic.

CWOTUS's avatar

A novel writing course sounds wonderful, if you can spare the money, commit to the time, and are willing to subject yourself to the criticism of people who can do worse than simply withhold lurve for something that is written less than wonderfully.

But sometimes, old writing courses are best.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Here’s some advice on writing from Kurt Vonnegut.

gailcalled's avatar

@Dan_Lyons: I used to pass out copies of that Vonnegut essay to my 12th grade students when they were trying to write a decent college admissions essay themselves.

“Don’t ramble. I won’t ramble on about that”.

And the most famous admonition of all time, as far as I am concerned.

“Pity the reader.”

Adagio's avatar

Are there any Creative Writing courses available, Auckland University (NZ) runs creative writing courses, there may be something like this available where you are.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You must have been a marvelous teacher @gailcalled

dina_didi's avatar

I think that if you believe you have talent in writing books or if it makes you happy you should do it! Start by searching books with advices on writing or online courses and if it does not help then you can start the course you are talking about. It is expensive but you must think what you can or want to spend to do it! If it is worth the price do it!

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