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View Full Version : Online, Non-credit Creative Writing Courses - Good Idea, or No?



Alpha Echo
09-15-2011, 04:58 PM
I don't want to deal with hunting down transcripts from high school and two colleges. I never finished, and I don't intend to. I don't care about credits.

The non-credit creative writing course are all online.

Anyone taken this sort of thing? If so, what are your thoughts? Is it worth it?

Filigree
09-15-2011, 05:51 PM
Library cards are free, and you can probably learn just as much by reading. If you must take an online course, maximize your dollars by finding one that teaches your preferred genre. Taught by people who've actually sold in your genre.

I've worked in the for-profit online college industry, and have friends who are still there. A lot of teachers care about their students, but the bottom line is "get their money, keep them in the system long enough that the Feds won't accuse you of loan-farming, and get as many of them to 'graduate' as possible." Full Sail University is billing itself as an online arts college, but I don't know how good they actually are. University of Phoenix, Arts Institute, Grand Canyon, and a bunch of other for-profit colleges concentrate on useful vocational and technical skills. Their programs can be quite good, but they are far more expensive than a local community college. A nursing degree for 50% more tuition is bad enough, but you might be able to make money off it. A creative writing degree, for 50% more? Bogus.

I'd be worried that you'd find a course taught by a frustrated writer who couldn't hack it in their market, and fell back on teaching. Hence, you'd learn their bad habits and excuses.

Look for writers' organizations within your favored genre. Their websites should have links to courses and workshops.

quicklime
09-15-2011, 05:53 PM
I don't want to deal with hunting down transcripts from high school and two colleges. I never finished, and I don't intend to. I don't care about credits.

The non-credit creative writing course are all online.

Anyone taken this sort of thing? If so, what are your thoughts? Is it worth it?


other than getting the opportunity to pay for it, how would this be advantageous over a good beta and some time here in SYW?

the problem with the scenario you list above is if you don't have to show, don't need transcripts, they could care less about your grades, etc. then, without some indicators to the contrary (and there may be some, I just don't know from your inquiry) my first thought is "scam."

Someone more useful than I am will doubtless come along soon, but you may want to list the place you have in mind, because the cash-mills seem to be common knowledge and someone can then shoot you a pm about it.

Alpha Echo
09-15-2011, 05:54 PM
Thanks. I've read quite a few writing books, and my writing has improved greatly over the years. But...I'm trying to find a group around here to join or something. I'd love to go to a writing workshop but can't afford to do so. I thought a creative writing course at the community college would be great, but...I think I need to do some more searching in the area for writing organizations and groups first.

stormie
09-15-2011, 06:00 PM
Hey Alpha--

Years ago, B&N had an online "university." They had courses for writers. When I looked into it, I found some inaccurate info from the teachers. I also looked up the teachers' credentials, and some only had one or two books they self-published. So just be careful. (Of course, the B&N courses were free so....)

Alpha Echo
09-15-2011, 06:08 PM
Meetup.com has a writing group not too far from my house. Looking into it now.

Jamesaritchie
09-15-2011, 06:45 PM
Credit or non-credit, the quality of any writing course depends on who the teachers are, and how well they match up with the kind of books you want to write.

Good writing courses, meaning ones that do have good teachers, and that match what you want to write, are invaluable. And they're a hell of a lot better than run of the mill betas or writing groups.

Why is it that writing seems to be the only business on earth where new writers assume amateurs who show no indication they can write a publishable book are as good or better at teaching you how to to write a publishable book yourself than long term professionals?

This makes no more sense than a college with no professors wherein the new students simply teach each other, even though none of them have ever done what it is they're trying to teach.

I learned more in six months of good writing courses than in five years of intense study on my own.

"Publishable" is not the same thing as "I like the way you did this", or "I don't like way you did this", or "I'd buy this if someone published it", or even "This is very good", even if it is very good.

Those who have proven they know what publishable is, and have done it themselves, are invaluable teachers, as long as what they've done matches what you want to do.

With some luck, you can find a pro or two outside a writing course who can help you just as well, but if you do, it's still a writing course, still taught by a professional, even if it is less organized.

A good beta can certainly be helpful, but good ones are few and far between, and never a substitute for a professional writer or acquisition editor in your field.

James D. Macdonald
09-15-2011, 07:08 PM
Does it help you get words on paper? If so, worth it.

If not, not.

Alpha Echo
09-15-2011, 07:23 PM
Thanks, all of you.

I just joined a meet-up group, and I'm pretty excited. Some of them are published - news columns, magazines, etc. No novels that I've seen. But they post work, and they meet up every other week to critique the work posted.

I have to do one critique session before I'm allowed to post, which makes sense.

Unfortunately, I can't make any meetings until October 4, but I'm pretty psyched, actually.

areteus
09-15-2011, 07:25 PM
I would look at joining one of the online writing groups that are out there. There are a few and they can be useful in getting you motivated and the like. You can also learn a lot by browsing places like here (and asking questions) as well as existing writers' blogs. Find a writer whose style and genre you like, find out if they have a blog and follow it. Many writers do post writing tips occasionally.

dawinsor
09-15-2011, 08:33 PM
A couple of years ago, I took a "writing class" at a local art center. It was very cheap ($45 for 8 meetings) and turned out to be all workshopping, led by a poet who'd published in local magazines. The other class members were all hobbyists. Some poets, some fiction writers, some pretty good, some awful. I can't say I learned a lot about writing.

BUT I had a good time. We started each session with ten minutes of free writing and I got good ideas about my WIP from that. I met people and enjoyed regularly talking about writing with them.

So I'd say it depends on what you're looking for and whether the class will match that.

skylark
09-15-2011, 08:37 PM
Why is it that writing seems to be the only business on earth where new writers assume amateurs who show no indication they can write a publishable book are as good or better at teaching you how to to write a publishable book yourself than long term professionals?


It isn't. Ever heard "those who can, do; those who can't, teach"?

My dad, a teacher himself, used to add "those who can't teach, teach teachers."

fadeaccompli
09-15-2011, 11:54 PM
I've taken some great creative writing courses before. They got me to read short stories of genres I never would have read on my own, gave me deadlines to write towards, and also gave me a really interesting look on what sort of reactions a story can get from people who just don't know much about writing. One of my professors gave me very little useful critique, two others gave me deeply valuable instruction and critique...

If you can afford the cost and time, and find it interesting, I'd encourage it. At worst, you find out a few weeks in that it's not working for you, and drop the class.