PDA

View Full Version : Which courses



hypocritter
May 28th, 2015, 06:09 PM
Hi all

I would like to know which courses (uk) would best serve an aspiring writer .
I'm most interested in the following three areas to study -

Basic technical aspects of writing such as improving gramma and layout .
Creative writing .
An introduction to journalism .

Positive first hand experience of useful courses in these areas would be greatly appreciated .

Riis Marshall
May 30th, 2015, 08:04 PM
Hello Hypo

Yep - these three look like a good place to start.

Also sign up for about a dozen English Literature courses.

Then in your spare time read everything you can get your hands on.

My positive first hand experience is throughout my working life I neither took the time nor had the smarts to enroll for these. I wish I had.

Go for it.

All the best with your writing.

Warmest regards
Riis

Bloggsworth
May 30th, 2015, 09:43 PM
It rather depends on were in the UK you live. If near London, CityLit is really good. I assume that all major conurbations have something similar. Local colleges and adult education centres will also offer courses.

dale
May 30th, 2015, 10:08 PM
i wouldn't take any "creative writing" courses. understand this is just my view on it. do what you want. but they'd be a waste as
far as helping you write fiction. you can understand fiction writing just by reading fiction and developing your skills all on your own.
you could go into some journalism or tech writing courses, as a means to obtain gainful employment in the writing world while
crafting that masterpiece novel. but to me? taking creative writing courses to be a novelist would be akin to taking music arts
courses to become a rock star. it's be a waste of time.

Phil Istine
May 31st, 2015, 01:08 AM
I did go on a basic, ten week creative writing course myself just a few months ago. Last year, I did my English GCSE. I'm 58 but left school at 15 so it didn't happen when I was younger.
Doing both of those things helped me to some degree, even if it was just about acquiring a little self-belief.
However, I have probably learnt more from this forum in recent months regarding the nuts and bolts of writing.
I'm starting with an autobiography plus embellishments.
The courses I went on would probably not have been much use for someone who had already attained a certain skill level.

Riis Marshall
May 31st, 2015, 10:28 AM
Hello Hypo

Following Bloggsworth's post, if you're anywhere near Grantham in Lincolnshire, get yourself to Grantham College and hang out with Dr. Ian Mitchell. His A-Level English Language and Literature course is possibly the best I've ever attended (I hope he's still teaching there; he was in 2009). He'll work your little cotton socks off!

All the best with your writing.

Warmest regards
Riis

Bloggsworth
May 31st, 2015, 11:21 AM
i wouldn't take any "creative writing" courses. understand this is just my view on it. do what you want. but they'd be a waste as
far as helping you write fiction. you can understand fiction writing just by reading fiction and developing your skills all on your own.
you could go into some journalism or tech writing courses, as a means to obtain gainful employment in the writing world while
crafting that masterpiece novel. but to me? taking creative writing courses to be a novelist would be akin to taking music arts
courses to become a rock star. it's be a waste of time.

The main benefit of creative writing courses is the instant feedback and subsequent discussion - I'm told that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness...

hypocritter
May 31st, 2015, 03:33 PM
Wow,great feedback guys.

I should probably have given more detail regarding my personal circumstances in my original post. Given the wonderful feedback I feel I've sold you all a little short.
I live in Manchester so unfortunately Lincolnshire would be a bit of a stretch, which is a shame because the good doctor sounds like a blast.

I'm 37 yrs old and work full-time in menial employment out of necessity so am looking at night school options, maybe open uni. I have no formal education due to shall we say 'a misspent youth' , apart from a maths gcse which I gained through night school a couple of years ago, which I did just to prove I could really.

Dale, regards your advice against creative writing courses, having pondered it I think you're right, hints, tips competitions etc on forums such as these would probably serve just as well as any course.
So with creative writing off the table, I'm now able to narrow my focus down to courses regarding the technical aspects of writing and an introduction to journalism.
I think you're right regarding english literature Riis, maybe language too. The cornerstones of our literature and language seem as good a starting point as any, build from the bottom up without shortcuts. A journalism course can come later atop a solid foundation. Maybe a course in patience wouldn't go amiss ha.
Phil, I find your personal journey truly inspirational and look forward to hearing of your progress regarding the autobiography . The promise of embellishments is such a great hook ha.
The first signs are but a distant memory bloggs, I've long since learned to embrace the nut within, if I could just find a way to monetize it. Now there's a title for an autobiography - Monetizing my madness.

Thanks everyone, all advice and encouragement is greatly appreciated.

Bloggsworth
May 31st, 2015, 07:56 PM
My daughter tells me that the OU have the unenviable ability to turn an interesting subject into hours of boredom. Manchester, the home of the first Mechanics Institute, the fore-runner of places Like Birkbeck College, the "evening university." I would bet a pound to a penny that there is similar, if not exactly the same, in Manchester. You may find something suitable here:

https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=creative+writing+courses+in+manchest er

hypocritter
June 1st, 2015, 08:49 PM
Thanks bloggs.
I'm ashamed to say that heathen that I am I'd never heard of the mechanics institute. An institution I hope too say I owe much in a few years time.
Thanks for the search suggestion, I found this little nugget that I could of taken in with just a few days holiday from work before maybe looking to knuckle down to some night school language and lit when full term courses begin in September. Unfortunately it seems I've missed the boat this time around but the wording suggests to me the course could come around again so i'll make some inquiries and if nothing else I have an idea of existing and suitable courses that pique my interest. -

About the course
Journalism Skills for Creative Writers is suitable for writers who wish to enhance their understanding of journalism and its potential links to their creative work, as well as how to promote their writing successfully. Participants will be introduced to the skills of features journalism, exploring how these can be applied to a creative writing practice, using interviews and real-life stories for inspiration. They will learn about research techniques useful to both creative writers and journalists. The course will explore how journalistic practice can have a positive impact upon creative writing across a range of mediums and genres. Students will also develop an understanding of how journalism works in terms of gaining commissions and self-promotion. Course content will include: interview skills; commissioning and working as a freelance; self-promotion and social media skills; biographical writing; research and presentation skills; how to research and write narrative features as well as broadsheet and general book review writing. Upon completion of the course participants will have gathered a portfolio of ideas and materials relevant to their work and writing ambitions.
Further details and course contacts
The next course will run at MMUís Manchester campus over three days on 14th, 15th and 16th April 2015.

The cost of attending is £300.
To apply, please contact
James Draper
+44 (0) 161 247 1787
[email protected]

Creative writing in journalism is right up my street with Hunter S Thompson style gonzo journalism, and most things counter culture being a huge inspiration. Garnishing interesting nonfiction with artistic flair is something that appeals greatly to me.

Minu
November 20th, 2015, 03:11 AM
i wouldn't take any "creative writing" courses. understand this is just my view on it. do what you want. but they'd be a waste as
far as helping you write fiction. you can understand fiction writing just by reading fiction and developing your skills all on your own.
you could go into some journalism or tech writing courses, as a means to obtain gainful employment in the writing world while
crafting that masterpiece novel. but to me? taking creative writing courses to be a novelist would be akin to taking music arts
courses to become a rock star. it's be a waste of time.

As someone who knows "rock stars" I can tell you yeah there are "lessons to be a rock star". Just as there's lessons for drummers, Phil Collins for example one of the most famous of drummers didn't pick up the drumsticks and start pounding away he got taught how to play. Just as how there's lessons for guitarists, Jimi Hendrix didn't just pick up his guitar and let rip for he was likewise taught by more experienced guitarists. Most pianists likewise got lessons - Brain May, Nick Rhodes, Lawrence Gowan all had lessons. Very few people have the natural talent to just get up and sing to a degree that their listeners don't want to cram their fingers into their ears every-time the "rock star" comes on the radio. Most singers who don't have any training don't know how to convey their voice, so they sound wretched [they mumble or shriek through half the song] or blow their vocals on tour. Both events make them rather useless in their role.


To the OP - the course you suggested sound good. If nothing else it will boost your confidence to write.