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Institute for Writers (formerly Long Ridge Writers Group / Writer's Institute, Inc.)

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stumpfoot

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Well I just discovered this awsome site! I have crammed more info in my head in the last two days then in most of the "how to write" books I have read in the last few years, awsome!. So I thought I would run this one by you guys and see what turns up. Back in Dec of 2003 I took this online apptitude test for a place called long ridge writers group, of course I passed. I say that not tooting my own horn, but I have a sneaky suspision everyone passes. Every once in a while I get a letter asking why I have not followed through. They wanted $465.00 for the tuition and promised that I would have a submittable MS by the end of their course. Also I would learn the art of writing magazine articles and such as well. Anyone heard of this group or had any dealings with them? How about their reputation? Thanks!
 

JennaGlatzer

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Welcome, Stumpfoot! I'll let others chime in on Long Ridge-- I don't really know anything about them-- but just wanted to say thanks for the nice words about the site, and glad you're with us. :welcome:
 

CaoPaux

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http://www.longridgewritersgroup.com/

Frankly, the only way I’d consider paying for such a course is if they had lots of “I took this course and got published with Big Name!” Instead, we find only:

Student Success On average, more than 300 of our students, including those who have completed our course, are published every year.
Not only does this infer that folks get published just fine without completing their course, I’ll betcha dollars to doughnuts they don’t vet what they consider “published”.
 

ChicaLa

Anyone ever heard....

hello, everyone! :hi: Just wondering if anyone has ever heard of LongRidge Writer's Group and their program "breaking into print"?
 

VJB

I'm starting to have my doubts about Long Ridge. They never answer a single email. They seem to be too busy for students - which leads me to believe they have thousands of people sign up. With more students they can accomodate, assignments get lost. Then when you try to reach them, they do not answer you at all. Period. It is very frustrating.
 

momwrites

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In defense of The Institute of Children's Literature

I graduated from their writing for children's course and I learned so much from my instructor. She was very thorough and professional throughout the whole course. She was genuinely interested in seeing me succeed as a children's writer. Since I have taken the course, I have been published in national and international magazines and have written two children's books.

The price includes ALL books and materials you need. You won't find that in a college class.

Their knowledge of the industry has helped me immensely in my own career as a writer and the money was well worth it! :)
 

momwrites

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The course was about $870

and is considered college credit. I believe because of my enrollment in the course, I am a much better writer in grammar, spelling, punctuation, setting, tense, POV and plot development.
 

Button

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I am taking the ICL course. I pay it in payments, paying $600 or so in total. All books are included and I have found my instructor to be well worth the cost alone. This is my opinion though. The Children's Writing forum has much more information about this.

I don't know what "Long Ridge" offers students. Is this a different section of the same school?
 

CaoPaux

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ButtonTheCat said:
I don't know what "Long Ridge" offers students. Is this a different section of the same school?
Yes. It's all the "Writer's Institute, Inc." aka "The Institute, Inc."

For Sassenach:

College Credit

The Connecticut Board for State Academic Awards recommends that graduates be awarded seven college credits. You can obtain these seven college credits from Charter Oak State College -- which functions under the credit-granting authority of the Connecticut Board. You can then have these credits submitted on a Charter Oak transcript to another college or university. (If you are a teacher, the transcript will be sent to your local school board, at your request.) Full information is available from the Long Ridge Writers Group Registrar to help you take advantage of this opportunity.
 

Aconite

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momwrites, you say you've written two children's books since taking the course. Have they been accepted for publication? I can understand your short-story sales being relevant, if you hadn't had anything accepted before taking the course and now you're getting stories published, but while writing a book is an achievement on its own, I don't see the connection between that and the course. Am I missing something?
 

momwrites

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Yes, they have been accepted by two publishers

but alas, I turned them down, because of contract disputes.

The institute helped me to be a better children's writer is all I am saying, helped me develop plot, setting, etc, to better compete in the children's market. Before I took the course, I didn't know anything about how to write for children. Since then, I have read a number of books which has helped me, along with my instructor who was my personal mentor on everything having to do with writing for children.

To me, it was well worth it!
 

Inspired

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They have a good reputation among beginning writers. It's definitely not a scam. The marketing is a bit strong for the decent writing course that it is.

If you have been published and know what you're doing, it may not benefit you, but for those who are just beginning and want to do the "writing school" thing, it's a good fit.

They do offer college credit as well.
 

Sassenach

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momwrites said:
but alas, I turned them down, because of contract disputes.


Things that make you go hmmm. That happened twice? Were they reputable publishers?
 

cwgranny

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Well, I know Verla Kay took the ICL course (the one for kids, not adults) -- and she credits it with helping her be published. Today she is one of Putnam's most prolific picture book writers (I heard a Putnam editor say that just recently).

I also know Karen Hesse (the Newbery winner) took the course, though I understand she was really quite brilliant right from the start. Sometimes I guess folks don't need writing instruction so much as encouragment and learning how the business works.

And I've heard other published children's writers say they took the course -- far more than I expected (because ...until well-published writers started TELLING me they took the course ...well, I thought the advertising was a little scammy.)

But since not every student is going to go on to become a publisher's most prolific writer or a Newbery winner, I guess they figure they'll push the more realistic likelihood, the one that happens to the largest percentage of students -- they do get published somewhere. And, honestly my Journalism school in UNC: Chapel Hill didn't even tell us that.
 

Button

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My instructor is a well published writer with several short stories, articles and books under her belt. I probably wouldn't have taken the course if it hadn't been for my instructor's credientials. She took the course herself when she started out.

Now that I know the other courses are the same, I may take a second look. Some people learn in different ways, I've come to understand. I read books on writing but I am always second guessing myself. Having someone behind me to tell me what I'm doing that could be corrected is very nice.
 

Aconite

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Thanks for explaining, momwrites. Good luck.
 

cwgranny

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Any course you take, please, be careful. I've known of more than one college-level creative writing teacher who have given BLINDINGLY bad advice. I went to a local writer's group where most of the folks FIRMLY believed first-time novelists had to PAY their agents...that it was common practice. When I asked where they got this really stupid idea, it turned out they had all taken the same creative writing course at a local college. They were sure he was right and I was wrong because he was a full professor and I was only...oh, I dunno...PUBLISHED. And that guy wasn't the first college professor who has told students to pay for agents or publishing. College professors are often pretty good judges of good writing vs. bad (though many don't know anything about GENRE writing and push everyone toward literary), but several of the ones I've run across didn't know diddly-jack about the actual BUSINESS of selling. They had no traditionally published books and they were honestly ignorant of the process involved. So if you take a creative writing course (anywhere) -- find out about the instructor's personal publishing experience before accepting marketing/submission/business advice with less than a cup of salt.
 

Jomica

I am a current Long Ridge student. I also took Creative Writing in college several years ago, and I don't see many similarities between the two courses. The college class was fun, but Long Ridge tailors the lessons to the individual, and I'd say they're more serious about what they're doing. I've also noticed the Long Ridge instructors are full-time authors and journalists, not full-time college professors (who may not have been published, if that really matters).

I'd recommend Long Ridge for anyone who has the writing basics down and is looking for the next step, while those who need to nail down grammar and composition skills go the community college route. That's my opinion--but I've had a good experience with the group.

By the way, I wouldn't trust anyone who makes sweeping, incoherent promises like, "You will get published, guaranteed!" Where will you be published? In some obscure anthology? Does the person making the promise have a contract with Reader's Digest?
 

blackbird

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For just a little more than that you could enroll in a good MFA program. And you would know for sure you were there on your own merit because most MFA program applicants are screened rigorously by an entire panel before admittance.

The type of instruction these guys are offering is most likely not worth the money. You'll pay hundreds just to get some very generic advice that any local writing group could probably give you for free.

Also, it seems to me there is a lot of general bashing of college writing courses and instructors in this thread, as well as elsewhere on this board. So I'll make it clear that I'm not talking about the community college level, per se, but grad-level university writing programs, and I do think there's a huge difference. I'm sorry that some seem to have had such bad experiences with college writing professors, but you've allowed a bad apple or two to taint your view of an entire profession. Most of the professors I've worked with were caring, knowledgable people who DO know the in's and out's of the business, and were happy to share their knowledge and experience with their students. No, they might not have been on the New York Times bestseller lists (if they were, they probably wouldn't have been teaching to make a living) but most of them have very respectable midlist publications to their credit. I didn't always agree with everything my instructors told me, but they were willing to listen to me, and I to them. It was a case of mutual respect, which is to say, we respected each other as writers.
 
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rachelcaine

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I've been corresponding with a nice young lady who posted some excerpts from her completed novel on her blog -- a novel that had some really obvious grammatical issues. When I send her feedback, she told me that the grammar had been corrected by her instructor from Long Ridge Writer's Group. These weren't small mistakes, they were huge, whopping errors, something no professional editor would let slide if they saw them, and certainly nothing a professional editor would have introduced.

It alarmed me that she might have been taken for a ride by a scammer, but it looks like the organization itself is pretty legit, from this conversation. So now I'm wondering if she just got unlucky in her instructor ...

Thanks for all you guys do. It's a true resource!

-- R.
 

andracill

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I took the Long ridge course a while back...I don't remember it costing so much, however (maybe a couple hundred bucks -- I was poor when I took it). anyway, I learned some things, without a doubt...but my instructor, who was a published romance novelist (whom I'd not heard of as I didn't/don't read romance) would consistently return my assignments with something like this written on them : "This is perfect! I can't think of anything to say" blah, blah, blah. Seriously. I began to wonder why *I* wasn't published if she couldn't find anything to edit in my work!

it really depends on your instructor when you sign up for these courses, imo. BAsically, I just paid to have something tell my I was wonderful (always nice to hear, but does it count when you pay for it?).

And no, I've not had anything published (well, other than a college thing under my professor's name)...yet (we hope) :D
 

UrsusMinor

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blackbird said:
Also, it seems to me there is a lot of general bashing of college writing courses and instructors in this thread, as well as elsewhere on this board.

I agree, and am somewhat puzzled by it.

blackbird said:
So I'll make it clear that I'm not talking about the community college level, per se, but grad-level university writing programs, and I do think there's a huge difference.

There is a indeed a huge difference, but it isn't necessarily in favor of the MFA courses. It depends on the kind of writer you are. The MFA professors tend (prepare for a gross generalization) to be literary writers with an obscure book or two and many short stories published in literary quarterlies. Most MFA programs are very sniffy about anything that smacks of genre or commercial writing.

I have found the best teachers to be in either the community colleges or the extension services of larger colleges and universities; it is here that you are more likely to find career writers who are teaching as a sideline, as opposed to those who deliberately prepared for a career in academic literature. For example, some fantastic, award-winning writers teach in the extension courses of the University of California; for them, it's a sideline, and their novels are their careers (and if their novels became bestsellers, they'd probably stop teaching).

This doesn't mean you ought to blindly sign up for whatever course happens to be available. If your basic skills need work, then almost any class will be of some value, but if you want advice on story structure and on the ins and outs of the writing business, you should look at what the teacher has written. It always shocks me to find that the majority of folks in writing workshops haven't read any of the teacher's novels. I mean, if you hate someone's books and loathe their writing style, are you likely to want that person's advice? If they've only sold books to SoarByNight Press, will they really be in a position to advise you about getting an agent?

I don't mean to get all Biblical here, but 'by their fruits shall ye know them.' The great thing about taking courses from published writers is that you can look at their work before making a decision.

(The same applies, I suppose, to online courses; but I think one can learn much more in a physical writing workshop if there is a good one available in your area.)
 

Lissa34

Hi, everyone. I am a newbie here. I have just signed up for Long Ridge's Breaking Into Print. I've checked the BBB and found them to be a ligit school. I called the Conneticut Commissioner of Higher Education, as well. They assured me it was a ligit course.

And you have to obtain the 7 credits for the course from Charter Oaks State College. But, the only thing is that there is a fee for this. I have no idea how much.

I hoping that this course is as good as they say it is. I'm a single disabled parent, who can only afford so much! I'm doing the monthly payment thing. Wish me luck! Lol.

Lissa :)
 

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