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edited September 2009 in - WM and WN
I really want to do a writer's course but I can't decidev which one to do
I've chosen to do one with writers news because I can't find another one and its cheaper
Maybe not a good reason really
I was gonig to do one with BSY but they only have a short stories or creative writing
Anyway fiction writing course or short story writing
I'm writing a novel at the moment but I would like to write better short stories
Can't decide my novel is supernatural
I really want to see what i can do on my own with that
Any advice

(adding info) writers bereau has had bad reviews and the ones on this site are tailored to you and cheaper
Open Uni is expensive
Anyway im writing a novle it could be in the horror genre ive alwasy wnated to finsih one so im worknig on it
I do like writing short stories but my goal is to finish a novel and get one published maybe not this one
Im concerned that if i do the novel writing one they mgiht not like the content/idea being about vampires (ive always liked vampires)
And also im a bit shy of showing my work-in-progress to someone until its finished. Its hard for me to actually finsih one so im a bit wary just in case i get put off
or whatever

I might decide to do both course but what first


  • Hi Jen.

    WN come highly recommended. Other courses are offered by The Open University and Writers Bureau (I'm sure others will mention more.) Another one to check out is The Open College of Arts.

    Do you have a preference over novel writing or short stories? Or would you prefer a course that mixes the two? The novel and the short story are different art forms in themselves.

    What is the book about? It could be that it sits in the horror genre (for some reason gothic ends up there too.)
  • Hello Jenwales, welcome to TB.
    I've never done any of these courses, but have always heard good comments on the quality of the WN ones.
  • Welcome, Jenwales. Go with instinct on this, and work at overcoming the 'showing work in progress' to anyone. I have a book going through the editing process at the moment and whilst I am happy with the major revisions and cuts we have to make, it is hard to see the precious work going. It is necessary, though, to get a publishable book at the end of it.
  • the truth is ive never finished a novel
    i dont want this to get criticism yet until ive finished it and redrafted since ive never finished one before
    its going to be poor quality

    my thought is to do the short story course so that i can improve on that as i'd really like to enter a competition in my local paper at xmas
    so far ive not be confident enough and im useless :)
    also if i get a short story printed ( i did have one printed a few years ago in a small magazine/ computer booklet )it would give me the confidence i need
    in my writing

    im thinknig about it over the weekend and will probably decide on monday i dont like rushing into things ive made bad decsions in the past

    thanks for all advice:)
  • Try joining a local writers group. They will give you feedback and adbvice and help you gain confidence and find likeminded friends - and they cost very little!
  • The advantage of the Writers' News courses is that before you start the course, you have to send them quite a detailed explanation of what you want to achieve from the course, and also what kind of things inspire and influence you. So if you tell them, for instance, that you read a lot of gothic stuff and that you'd like to write a novel about vampires, they won't laugh - they will match you up with a tutor who also writes in a similar kind of literary niche, and can draw the best out of you. The thing is, vampire stories are big business right now (Twilight, True Blood etc.) - they'll appreciate your desire to be part of that movement as a business decision, as well as a personal enthusiasm, and will be able to find someone who can help you produce something that's potentially marketable, as well as enjoyable to write and read.

    If you have the money for the course, I'd say go for it. The course I did (in a completely different field - poetry) was one of the best things I've done to improve my writing. The best part of it was the personal, one-to-one interaction with a tutor who quickly got me figured out and knew how to push me to get the best out of me. (You can read more about my experiences in the discussion "Amboline's WN home study poetry diary" in the Poetry category, if you like).

    But heed the advice others have given, too, about joining a writers' group. It's one of the best things you can do to get you motivated!
  • Yes, that is good advice, if you have a good local group, join, even if you only listen.

    There is a group on the island but I'm too involved with writing to go to the meetings.
  • All good advice.
    How much does the WN course cost?
  • If you have a look at the Courses section on this site, I think they give prices. It's always good to get feedback from a professional writer. I've been a member of a writing group for some time now, and although I enjoy the weekly sessions, I do feel that none of us are really competent enough to give really useful feedback. It's more of social thing.
  • i have enrolled and am going to send them my profile soon
    my parents computer doesnt have word and my laptop doesnt have the internet so im gonig to have to wait to sort that out
    hope word 2003 works on vista or ill have to post everything

    i spent the whole day trying to write my first assignemtn yesterday and today i wrote my frist draft on one sitting how brilliant it that
    and it was a normal story not a vampire story not a weird story
    thats unusaul for me i hope its not a one off
    not only did i write it but i want over the word count by about a hundred words, im so happy i actually finished a story:)
  • jen get your parents to put open office onto their computer - it's free and you can open and save word docs on it.
  • i did but i think they've got it
    oh well
    never mind
    my laptop has had it
  • [quote=caro]I've been a member of a writing group for some time now, and although I enjoy the weekly sessions, I do feel that none of us are really competent enough to give really useful feedback. It's more of social thing.[/quote]

    Does the group also have speaker meetings? Workshops? Internal competitions? All these things can be used to get a more experienced person, or a professional, to give some insight into the group's work and some suggestions for how to stretch and challenge the group. If you meet once a week, maybe you could aim to get a speaker maybe once every 6 weeks, or do an internal competition every few months, with an invited judge from your area. So you keep your regular schedule of manuscript meetings, but get some valuable new ideas in from outside too.
  • (I should add that I could be available for a modest fee, depending on where you're located of course! :) )
  • Good points Amboline.
    I book the speakers for our club and we endevour to support published writers from within our region if at all possible. I find that a speaker is often willing to judge a competition. And if you can't offer much of a fee, letting them sell their books and sign them on the night is always popular.
    We've found it getting harder to get judges so have started offering a thank you of book tokens.
  • We sometimes have speakers, Amboline, and that's very helpful. A well known author is coming to give us a talk next month. That's always very interesting, but the rest of the time the group, as I mentioned above, is more of a social thing. People get to know each other very well, and then everyone is afraid of saying anything negative in case they offend someone.
  • I signed up for the Writers Bureau course about 8 years ago - and am still supposedly doing it. Whilst I dont have any criticisms of the tutors generally speaking, because you have to do the non-fiction stuff first, I really struggled with it - I want to write fiction. I have thought about doing the WN courses but I think my hubby might complain about me spending money on another course when I havent finished the first one!

    Also, writers groups - I joined one years ago when I lived in another city but since moving back home have struggled to find one locally - any Dundonian writers out there???
  • [quote=Carol]We've found it getting harder to get judges so have started offering a thank you of book tokens. [/quote]

    As mentioned above: I could be available, if the price is right :)

    [quote=ttofee]any Dundonian writers out there??? [/quote]

    NAWG don't have an affiliate group in Dundee, at least not according to their website. But there's likely to be something - perhaps through the university, a Further Education college, the Workers' Education Authority, or a library. It's always worth asking in local libraries etc. and keeping your eyes peeled for any local notices. Alternatively, how would you feel about starting one up?
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