Monday, 1 July 2013

Creative Writing courses

A friend of mine has recently signed up for a creative writing course, and shared her book list, which I plan to work through if I can get hold of the books. Half of me thinks these courses are A Good Thing, and the other half sniffs and asks How Can Good Writing Be Taught? (It might be because the course are darned expensive, which gives me an excuse not to partake.)
However, I see on Twitter this morning that a debut author has been snapped up with lots of zero numbers trailing the important one. The author is a lecturer on  - you've guessed it - a Creative Writing course.

"The Fire Sermon is set in a world without technology. 400 years in the future after a nuclear apocalypse. All humans now have a twin, with one, the Alpha, being physically perfect and the other, the Omega, having a mutation. A state of division exists between the two, with rebellious Omegas forced to live on blighted land, but although they live apart, when one dies, the other dies, too. The book follows Cass, an Omega with an invisible defect, the ability to see the future, and sees what happens when her power is discovered and her twin Zach casts her out.
Coode said: "I was completely hooked by the concept and her narrative skill was evident from the first few pages. The Fire Sermon is a wonderful adventure layered with high drama and provocative world building, with strong, appealing heroine at its heart."

Author Haig is a senior lecturer at the University of Chester, where she is programme leader in creative writing. Voyager plans to publish the book in hardback in spring 2015. (Joshua Farrington in the Bookseller today.)"

So there we are. That tells me what I should be doing, doesn't it? I should be skipping off to offer my money to the nearest creative writing course. It is interesting to note what appealed -
high concept, narrative skill in the first few pages, drama and a strong, appealing heroine. All those things agents keep banging on about. I've wondered lately if I'm bucking the trend by writing of a male protagonist in the first few pages of my story. If I  swapped Meg for Matho, would it make a difference? A few weeks ago I felt it did and I've brought her story forward to share the first chapter with Matho. I think I'm pleased with the result.


Dean Crawford said...

You could sign up to a course, Jen. However, good writing cannot be entirely "taught" - it can only be encouraged. I had written four novels and five screenplays before I embarked on writing my first published novel, COVENANT. Before I started plotting, I bought a self-help book written by the ladies at Cornerstones, a literary assessment agency. It worked wonders for my story-telling, and got me a deal.
In short, in my opinion try a recommended book first as it's so much cheaper. If this fails, go for the one-to-one personal touch of a course.

Jen Black said...

ordered the book as first step. Will see how I go with it!

Ursula Thompson said...

What is the book called? Sounds interesting, and right now I need all the self-help I can get.
Although I seem to be doomed anyway, since I don't have a heroine. At least not until the last chapters, and I wouldn't really consider her a heroine.

Dean Crawford said...

Good luck! It really did help me to plot and create more interesting novels. I always had the ideas due to a vivid imagination, but organising a book into acts and learning to build tension was what helped me become truly commercial. Fingers crossed the same happens for you Jen!

Jen Black said...

This is the title I ordered. I think it is the correct one.

Dean Crawford said...

Yup, that's the one. Different cover now though.