Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce January 6, 2012 - 2:18pm

Are there any particularly fantastic courses? My mom wants me to hone my craft with kids my age during the summer.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones January 6, 2012 - 2:24pm

they all differ, even if they have the same course number, and presumably even if taught by the same person, because the class input level, and ability would be different. that said, i really enjoyed the creative non-fiction course i took when i was a freshman.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter January 6, 2012 - 2:32pm

I took one in second year before I quit.  I thought it was good, but once I took a couple courses through The Cult it didn't even compare.  I found that the university course focused on a more traditional aspect to storytelling.  It mostly touched on the basics and there wasn't much room for discussion.  Not to mention that a lot of students take creative writing courses for recreation and they don't really take the work as seriously.  Half of the feedback I got for the stories I workshopped were "I liked it" kind of responses, which really meant that they didn't take the time out of their day to bother reading the work.

I think, with creative writing, that the online classes work so much better.  Real life discussions are nice, but there's always that constraint of time, whereas online the discussion is always there at all hours, and of course, there's plenty more time for reading and reviewing.

Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce January 6, 2012 - 2:32pm

ok thank you.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound January 6, 2012 - 9:37pm

I'm looking to study it in September. Although I'm combining it with degrees like lit or film for variation. Look at each universities course content to make sure it's right for you.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 7, 2012 - 12:12am

It all depends on the teacher honestly. If you get a cool teacher who is willing to make everyone do original writing exercises, encourage them to speak up and take risks then it is good.  If you get a stuffy, stodgy old tard who has specific ideas about what is literature then it sucks. I've had some good creative writing teachers who inspired me because they were so outspoken.  Plus one of the big keys is how the classroom is organized.  Round table discussions are best, if the teacher has the students form a tight knit circle during critiques so that everyone is facing each other, it's an interactive experience.  The method of rows where heads are blocked actually discourage learning for people in the back.  There have been some studies done and it wasn't until college that I noticed the difference. In high school, I could sleep behind someone's head.  In college, I had to pay attention because everyone could see me in a roundtable circle. Having people read their stuff aloud is also amazing, it makes you braver and see your writing more clearly.  This is why when I was younger I used to host poetry readings, it made me come out of my shell and learn a lot about people.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 7, 2012 - 2:27am

Anecdote of some potential use:

My Bachelors degree was English Literature with a very strong creative writing emphasis. We got to drop some "compulsory" classes so we could do writing workshops, etc. Some of my tutors were excellent, some were quite good. One of them is now one of my best friends, and even now that I switched to Philosophy for my Masters and am doing Literature and Religion for my PhD, he and I are still on wonderful terms — to the point where he's given me a top position in the university's literary journal, and has critiqued, for free and with great care, some very long manuscripts I've sent him. He's probably read, in total, more than 200,000 words from me. Sometimes he hits me back with emails that I need to print out because they're so long. And when my mother died halfway through a term, he called me from home to send his condolences. As you can see — he's an important guy to me, and I've learned a huge amount of things writing-related from him.

I am the exception, however — almost nobody else in my creative writing group from those years has gone on to achieve much of a writing career. The exception is my housemate, who also gained a lot from the aforementioned professor.

In other words, if you're going to apply for creative writing courses at your university, make sure you know how to network. Don't be happy just to impress the other students with how clever you are. You need to find someone in authority, someone who knows people in the publishing business, someone who is a professional writer as well as a teacher of writing. In my experience, it makes an enormous difference. It's like being capable of playing guitar but not knowing how to record yourself playing — if you can actually do both, your chances at making it are greater.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 7, 2012 - 3:16am

Don't become friends with people just so they can help advance your career though. Not all published writers are willing to help you advance your career either, many newly published writers just care about promoting themselves. I think it's good to meet other people who are aspiring writers like yourself.  Sometimes people can be overeducated and think they are above other people just because they have a college degree but some great writers didn't even finish college. Great writing happens in the mind, in a dark room and not always in a classroom.  That's why we have communities like this to support each other but not to mold each writer to what we think good writing is like some literature classes seem to.  There is always room for improvement but don't let someone change your voice as a writer.  I think that's why transgressive literature exists to say that there is something between pulp fiction, the classics and the pretentious inner circles of writers who think they own the market or write just to win critic's approval and book awards. I could give a fuck less if I ever win a book award, I would rather have a cult following or a person get a line from my book tattooed on their flesh.  That would be more of a tribute.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 7, 2012 - 8:04am

Don't become friends with people just so they can help advance your career though.

Well, yeah, don't set out to manipulate people and use them for your own devices. But networking is important, and if you can get on people's good sides without kissing their asses, you're probably okay.

Have something to offer the group. That's what a lot of people seem to forget — they walk into a creative writing group wanting their asses kissed by everyone except maybe the teacher, who is allowed to be a little more critical of their work, but not really. These kinds of people are boring, deluded and annoying all at once.

Whereas if you get known for giving good and honest and detailed feedback, people will remember you. And that's crucial — if the academic higher-ups are impressed, they'll keep an eye out for their most promising students.

As for this:

I think that's why transgressive literature exists to say that there is something between pulp fiction, the classics and the pretentious inner circles of writers who think they own the market or write just to win critic's approval and book awards.

With all due respect — the classics are not just there for people to look clever if they've read them, and the "pretentious inner circles of writers who think they own the market" is not a valid category unless you make it a lot clearer what you mean by that.

 

 

Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce January 7, 2012 - 8:25am

@Phil where did you go?

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading January 7, 2012 - 8:29am

Warwick University, UK.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. January 7, 2012 - 4:25pm

No offense, it's just some writers rub me the wrong way who believe themselves to be part of "academia" and even though they may say they don't, they secretely find themselves superior to "average joe" writer because they have studied the classics. My story "Wordgasm" I put in the workshop is all about that. Although I based that more on a Journalism conference I went to once when I was on my college newspaper. I don't like competitive writing where people try to outdo each other intellectually, writing should be personal and unique to each individual. I don't expect my peers to kiss my ass but I certainly don't put myself above them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to befriend your fellow writers though. The worst thing a writer can do is fall into the mythology of the loner misunderstood writer who is so isolated from everyone and doomed to die alone.