View Full Version : Effective Online Writing Courses? not workshops

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6

May 31st, 2007, 12:53 PM
Anyone know of any good online science fiction or just plain fiction writing courses? Even online university courses? I find myself not writing and just critiquing when I join online writers workshops, like critters. I rack up a ton of critiques and it gives me an excuse not to write.

I figure if I am "graded" or have to shell out some money the pressure would be on me to complete something...and I always work better with tangible deadlines rather than "setting my own goals"

James Carmack
May 31st, 2007, 08:34 PM
From my experience, writing courses, both in the university and elsewhere, are a waste of time. However, that's just me and I have an anti-academic streak a mile wide.

You can always shop around at the local schools. It wouldn't kill you to drop into a freshman or sophomore-level writing class. Probably only put you back a few hundred bucks if you know where to go.

Still, like I said, I've derived very little benefit from writing classes and I say that as a creative writing major.

The one workshop thread here puts you a schedule much like what you'd find in a real writing course. When your turn comes up, you better have something ready. Consider giving that a shot first. If nothing else, it's a heck of a lot cheaper.

World Builder
May 31st, 2007, 10:04 PM
The SFF Workshop would be happy to have you aboard. As James mentioned, we run things based on a rotating schedule. When your time is up, you better have something to submit or we get rather irate and transform into ravenous zombies. Quite unpleasant, but luckily we've avoided that so far.

I've also been considering starting a more class-based thread. Assignment driven with a clear leader-learner relationship. A little dictatorship to compliment the anarchist's paradise that is the current workshop. The idea is still percolating.

Out of curiosity, James, where are did you get your Creative Writing Major? I did mine at Miami University. I found my classes very useful for my writing. What did you find lacking in yours?


June 1st, 2007, 08:37 AM
is there a link to the workshop?
or is it the tab titled "stories"?

James Carmack
June 1st, 2007, 10:32 AM
It's a thread on this board, the one labeled "SFF Workshop" (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16002).

And, WB, I got my BA out of UH. Supposedly got one of the better CW programs in the country, but I didn't get much out of it. The instructors were okay, but the vast majority of my peers were hopeless hacks. I did a lot of experimentation to see if I needed to take a different tack with my work, only confirming that I had the right approach all along. I don't doubt that I improved over that time, but it was more self-contained development than anything that could be attributed to formal education. I would've been better off to get my degree in linguistics. (And I was only three credit-hours away, too.)

Like I said, I've got a mean anti-academic streak. Pretty ironic coming from a teacher, isn't it? ^_^;

June 1st, 2007, 02:40 PM
I remember the day that my father taught me how to write. I was eleven years old and I was assigned a writing assignment to complete a five page story (wow, I remember when I thought that was a lot). Anyways, I wrote the story and my Dad asked to read it. After he read it, he took out a big red pen and one lined almost all of it. But instead of telling me what was wrong with my grammer, he simply referred me to his ten year old English College textbook.

I spent the day reading and writing, reading and re-writing over and over again.

Finally, after my Dad couldn't find anything else to one line, he ripped it to shreds and told me to start over and write a different story. By the end of the day, I was able to write a story for the first time without any grammer errors whatsoever. Ever since then, I've been writing. Despite my groans of disgust that day, I took my skill and I continued to write.

Finally, after ten years of writing, I completed the novel that was hidden in my imagination. It was only after I understood the fine points of the English language that I had learned how to apply my thoughts on paper. After that, all you will ever need is the imagination, the patience and the heart to write a story that could live on in not only your imagination, but in the imagination of others.

T.R. Patrick

James Carmack
June 1st, 2007, 10:11 PM
Cool story there, TR. Now I know what I'm going to be like if I ever have kids. ^o^ (Well, not entirely. My style is to explain the errors, but I do appreciate your dad's self-reliance approach.)

Unfortunately for me, I'm the only one in my family, both nuclear and extended, with much talent for the craft. I suppose one of my young cousins is showing some promise, but obviously I wouldn't be coming under his tutelage. At least I hope not. ^_^;

Rocket Sheep
June 2nd, 2007, 01:59 AM
Otherworlds are a workshop that run a 6 week SF/F course online about twice a year. You pay $60, you get sent course notes, you hand in your homework each week by the deadline or this mad American yells at you, then you get yelled at anyway by the same mad American when the homework (that you think you did pretty well considering there were reruns of Red Dwarf on that week) isn't up to standard (trust me, it won't be). It's a great crash course in writing those two genres but it's only open to workshop members who are brave enough.

Otherworlds are at Otherworlds.net and they're a pretty tough group. High drop out rate, only the really thick-skinned er... committed and seriously objective stay on. I stayed on. HE ran away. ;)

June 2nd, 2007, 06:52 AM
Otherworlds are at Otherworlds.net and they're a pretty tough group. High drop out rate, only the really thick-skinned er... committed and seriously objective stay on. I stayed on. HE ran away. ;)

And I never had the courage to join........:eek:

James Carmack
June 2nd, 2007, 08:20 AM
Man, that sounds like something that'd be worth my time. Heckuva a lot cheaper than that rancid waste that is the Long Ridge Writers' Group. God, I can't believe I spent $800 on that bullcrap. >_>

Otherworlds... Oboete oku.