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LC
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PostSubject: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 8:11 am

Or had any kind of training in writing, such as attending a workshop on writing? I never have, and am wondering what the benefit would really be besides meeting other writers.

I skim blogs by aspiring writers. Many discuss the workshops and MFA classes and programs they're in. These blogs all have something in common: they're boring. Really, really boring.

Successful writers don't have blogs discussing all their workshops, MFA programs and classes. Did they take the classes and now they're done and too busy to write blogs? Or did they not need the classes in the first place?
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 8:56 am

This is how screenwriters become successful:

http://www.writersstore.com/the-6-essential-habits-of-highly-successful-screenwriters

Many successful authors are former journalists or work in a media related industry.

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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 9:03 am

Great article. It applies to book writing, too, not just screen writing.

It's easy to attend classes. It's harder to write well. But writing well shouldn't be hard, if one has a talent for it, don't you think? If one doesn't, classes probably won't help.

eta -I started this thread after it occured to me how boring so many writer blogs are. So self-absorbed. Updates on their WIPs (who cares?), meandering thoughts about life ...if this is an indication of what their books look like, well, no wonder getting published is so hard for them.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 9:45 am

Shelagh has it right, in my sight
The interesting writers are the media folks. They have a gift for getting one to turn the page.

I doubt Dick took writing classes--he had a talent for making most anything interesting. I remember his toe nail trimming blogg. Who else would have/could have written about that? Have you ever taken a writing class? Lol
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 9:56 am

alice wrote:
The interesting writers are the media folks. They have a gift for getting one to turn the page.

They got their jobs because they write interesting things.

What prompted this is my noticing that so many aspiring writers have blogs. They post sigs with links to a blog -sometimes two, three, or four blogs! I've been clicking on them, and their commonality is they're all deadly boring. A lot of navel-gazing. Does their "real" writing look like that?

Successful authors don't do this. Successful authors are writing and selling books, not writing self-absorbed blogs and attending classes and workshops that do nothing but take their money.


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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 10:03 am

LC,

I agree.
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 10:10 am

Alice, you know what I think when I see all these workshops? I think of the late-night commercials advertising how to get rich in real estate. As much as I like Robert Kiyosaki's books, I have to wonder why I see so many online ads for his real estate seminars. If he's so rich from real estate, why does he need to sell all these seminars? Same with the writing workshops. They advertise their "illustrious" staff, but when you look into it, their staff are largely D-listers, and I wonder why they're doing this if they're so successful writing books.

I guess the answer is that they make a lot of money doing this.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 10:38 am

LC,

Right, again!
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 10:51 am

Years ago when I was surrounded day and night by lots of children, a friend took care of them while another took me to a writer's workshop for the day. We took our lunch and discussed poetry while we ate. Usually we had a speaker of some sort who was very good. This was Chicago based where there were a few experts to choose from.

I enjoyed it immensely as did my friend. I think what I learned was how to change my writing from being college based to creative based. I have kept the writing I did and indeed my writing has improved immensely. Now I think I am writing more creatively, but have yet to achieve desired goals. It sounds like I'm in my twenties!

But then there are those who are great writers in their twenties and thirties, were born that way.

Carol
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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 10:53 am

Spot on about the infomercial get-rich seminars. If they know how to get rich, why aren't they applying what they know?

One reason so many good writers come from newswriting jobs is that they worked under hard-core editors for whom you had to tell a compelling story within a certain number of inches. They started as cub reporters, watching everything they did get rewritten. After a while, you either learn what works and what doesn't or you find another line of work.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 11:26 am

I disagree a bit with the slant of this thread. I don't see that there is one "writer" sterotype. As we have seen here, there is a wide chasm between non-fiction and fiction writers. Then add poety and the many different genre found in fiction. Include essay writers and short story writers, those who write with humor and those who write horror.

Each "writer" has their own pace. Only a few are famous, and several famous authors have very personal blogs at www.redroom.com and a few other intensely author-oriented web sites. Personally, I find a blog releases tension while I am under a block for the work I must complete.

Some writers sell most of their books on the Internet. Their blog is a direct link to a target readership who really does follow the intimate details of feeding Fido or stopping at the market. Our thread here on what we bought today is pretty mundane, but truly interesting in its own way.

I know authors whose characters have a blog. It broadens the character for the reader rather than bog down a story. Often it's a character readers have learned to love in a series of books.

I am basically an essary writer. The blog is really the right medium for me rather than the novel. The blog is a living journal. Sometimes people are intensely interested in what I write, send me emails, buy my books from the experience and watch for additional words. (This is measured through statistical hit counters, etc.). Other times the blog is dull; simply writing practice.

Blogs also produce hits on Google. For a purely marketing reason, a daily blog shows site activity that excites the web crawlers and raise Google ratings. My blog regarding Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hit the Google 1st page on a Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis Melbourne search, followed by USA Today and the other big news media. Why? Because dkchristi and redroom.com are often found by the google web crawlers.

Back to essays, which is generally how I see a blog, Amy Williams is an editor for the Fort Myers News Press. Her essays about picking a plumb or watching a spider are front page reading even though they are very personal accounts in short essay form.

Yes, many blogs start out dull and tedious and even the great ones have dull and tedious moments, a bit like a newspaper or magazine reporter trying to have a hot storyline every day. I find that blogging helps my thinking sort itself out; it can really tell when the topic goes "thud;" and it keeps my name out there while I'm plodding away on WIP, The Virgin Odyssey

Forums are very like blogs except there is more two-way reaction and only the administrator has the credit for the whole thing. However, even posts to this forum are sometimes picked up by Google. Be careful what you post; it may be going out to the world.
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LC
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LC

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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 11:39 am

DK -I understand the commercial aspects and benefits of blogging when you're trying to sell an existing product. I also understand blogging as a means of warming up, practicing, getting the creative juices going. However, advertising a link to the latter seems as unproductive as putting a rough draft online. Why show boring, poorly-written stuff to the world?

Of course, no blogger probably thinks or realizes that he or she is boring. That's probably their biggest problem, one that no workshop will ever fix.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 11:55 am

If you remember that blogs started as online diaries, it will make more sense why they appear boring and some contain pretty substantial errors in grammar and writing. They originated as "web logs" to simply log a day's activities. Now, we expect them to be newspaper quality and publishing quality.

I don't disagree with the expectation of quality, and I agree that many bloggers would do well to offer their blogs up for critique. I know I have asked for feed back for both some blogs (I don't have my own blog except at my web site; and it is usually a feed from redroom.com that also feeds to amazon.com) and for the web site (by email, please, not by public pillory). Yet, I think people hesitate to share the "painful truth" and respond with nice, nice to feel good.

Many publishers recommend that new writers associate with writers' groups and critique groups, online or at meetings. These groups help polish up a work, like a test market. They also have experience with the publishing world that they pass on to new writers. I favor these even more than the writing classes, etc.

I took a lot of creative writing in college, and received very little criticism from instructors and mostly encouragement to seek publishers for even my little essays. I should have listened then before the market became so competitive and flooded with so much entertainment. I think we are on entertainment overload; who reads essays anymore? Not very many people. Essays were once the substance of the salons of the classic writers.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 12:24 pm

One writer comes to mnd. She spoke often of her writing classes and even gave writing classes.

She was going to have a NYT best selling book. I hope she makes it. She works hard and certainly deserves it.

Unfortunatelly, some people have it, some do not.

I could take voice lessons forever and never make it singng.

Abe sings. I have no idea how much training he has had--just know he has to have a good voice.

If one has an aptitude for writing, a few pointers can't hurt.


Last edited by alice on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fleamailman
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 1:02 pm

Quote :
have you even taken a writing class

"...well yes, I would have thought that it was just so evident in the way I write now..." joked the goblin, adding "...but seriously, I can't see how writing normally would advance me on forumland here, where more likely it would probably alienate my readers into thinking that I was aspiring to become some sort of writer with all that writer's baggage that they alone seem to follow, no, mr jo average just wants to be amused or engaged with content..." in fact, the goblin never wrote down to his readers, and somehow he felt that they appreciated him for it

Have you ever taken a writing class? Xoo385
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 3:11 pm

alice wrote:
One writer comes to mnd. She spoke often of her writing classes and even gave writing classes.

She was going to have a NYT best selling book. I hope she makes it. She works hard and certainly deserves it.

Unfortunatelly, some people have it, some do not.

... and she didn't ... but we all wished she did. Sometimes, it would be better to be proved wrong than proved right.

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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 3:51 pm

Shelagh,

Maybe she will make it yet. Only time will tell. She has a better chance than I do--at least she is trying.
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:04 pm

Quote :
if ones has an aptitude for writing, a few pointers can't hurt.

Oh, I agree. I would like to take a couple of writing classes myself. I'm just wondering if the pointers they give amount to icing on the cake. If you don't bring that cake yourself, nothing significant will result.
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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:16 pm

LC,

Clearly I could benefit from a proof reading class. Have you ever taken a writing class? Lol
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LC
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:28 pm

I didn't even notice the error ("ones") until your last post. Which brings up another point, one we already know, the importance of having someone else edit your work.

When I read the blogs that prompted this thread, it struck me that the bloggers would probably make better editors than writers. Their stuff was technically sound -spelled right, apostrophes placed correctly, etc., -but lacked the ingredient that made it interesting.


Last edited by LC on Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:28 pm

I took a Creative Writing class when I went back to finish college in '78. What I remember the most about it was the inspiration we all gave each other, and the positive work that came from the whole group. Several of the poems I wrote for that class are posted here, in either the poetry section or in concepts.

The professor's name was George Deschweinitz (I think I spelled that right.)

I think the best writing "instruction" I got was from teaching my students.

I also got a lot from a three-week workshop one summer, the New Jersey Writing Project, or NJWP. It was all about teaching students to let go and fly.

I also got a lot from a workshop I attended at an AP teachers conference: the Jane Schaffer method, for bringing them back down to earth and developing structure.

The right writing class is about whatever gets you balanced.

Ann
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:36 pm

Dear Ann,
I am a fledgling who had no ma to teach me how to fly. I am a Woodstock bird flipping and flying around. You all are my Snoopy and allow me to dream upside down and sideways. I love that.

Love,
Betty
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:39 pm

alice wrote:
Shelagh,

Maybe she will make it yet. Only time will tell. She has a better chance than I do--at least she is trying.
If she does, it would inspire me to try harder. I just can't see it happening, judging by what I've read already. Many might say the same about me. The difference between us is that I would not be disappointed the way she would.

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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:42 pm

I misspoke. I took a Creative writing class in college. Also took Freshman Comp.

Clearly, these classes got me nowhere.


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alice
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PostSubject: Re: Have you ever taken a writing class?   Have you ever taken a writing class? EmptySat Sep 18, 2010 4:44 pm

Shelagh wrote:
alice wrote:
Shelagh,

Maybe she will make it yet. Only time will tell. She has a better chance than I do--at least she is trying.
If she does, it would inspire me to try harder. I just can't see it happening, judging by what I've read already. Many might say the same about me. The difference between us is that I would not be disappointed the way she would.

I agree 10,000%
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