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Author Topic: Online writing courses  (Read 108 times)

kazbert

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Online writing courses
« on: October 01, 2017, 12:27:21 pm »
The local community colleges near me donít offer much in the way of creative writing courses.  I think an online course will suffice.  Any recommendations for online colleges and courses?  Iím not interested in obtaining a degree, only interested in improving my writing.

The areas I need to improve are:
Storytelling style
Character development
Identifying and correcting other weaknesses in my writing and stories.

The genre of interest is fiction, usually including some elements of super-human abilities (such as clairvoyance) or advanced science technology (such as AI).

Thanks!
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan
 

dyany

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 09:58:09 pm »
I personally feel that online classes are entirely unnecessary.  There is a WEALTH of conferences, retreats, and other instructive resources for writers, especially in Utah.  I know of 3 conferences, 2 of them only about $60 each, in Utah in the last month alone, and that's off the top of my head, without having looked into it at all (I can't afford to go anywhere right now).  Some things of note:
- I got a bachelor's degree in writing.  It was awesome, but that was mostly because I love school.  I have learned FAR more about how to improve my writing from other resources.
- conferences and such not only teach you tons, but they help you network with other writers to socialize, find resources, and learn things you didn't realize you needed to know. 
- networking helps with finding critique partners, which are invaluable.
- most conferences and other writing events also deal heavily in the whole publishing process, from traditional publishing by bringing in agents and editors and publishers and getting you in with them, to indie publishing and the things you need to consider when going that route and resources you will need. 

Some other things you can look into down there:
  • LUW (the League of Utah Writers) is a great resources with tons of small groups and chapters and workshops and such all over the state. 
  • David Farland is also Utah based and has helped a ton of major writers as a mentor and instructor.  He offers different services that are actually reasonably priced.
  • Brandon Sanderson also happens to have an MFA in creative writing and teaches at BYU.  An entire semester of his lectures was recorded for someone's school project a few years back and it was so wildly popular that they redid it more professionally last year.  They are all available on YouTube now (the old Write About Dragons site is no more) here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH3mK1NZn9QqOSj3ObrP3xL8tEJQ12-vL
  • If you want to listen to more stuff in small chunks, the Writing Excuses podcast with Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and a few others has been going for years and I have heard nothing but good about it.  They are only 15 minutes each.
  • I find out about most of this stuff from Facebook, but there are lots of resources.  My favorite groups there are the Storymakers Tribe and LDS Beta Readers.  Both are primarily made up of LDS members, but neither deals with just LDS fiction (in fact, very little LDS writing in general). 

Hopefully this helps!

 
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kazbert

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 11:21:55 pm »
Hopefully this helps!

Very helpful indeed! 

Only I live in Tucson, not SLC metro area.  But I get the gist -- I can look for conferences here in Tucson (or perhaps Phoenix, 2 hours north). 

My favorite groups there are the Storymakers Tribe and LDS Beta Readers.  Both are primarily made up of LDS members, but neither deals with just LDS fiction (in fact, very little LDS writing in general).

None of my writing to date has an LDS character in it.  I'm not sure why.  I'm not avoiding LDS characters, but my moose (my muse is a moose) just doesn't ever seem to create an LDS character.  I can, of course, just create one consciously, and I'm sure my moose will deal with it just fine.  But I have yet to write a story where having an LDS character was essential. 

I'll check out the two FB groups.
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Ronald Reagan
 

dyany

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 10:27:46 am »
Sorry, I forgot you lived in Arizona.  Checked out ANWA (American Night Writers Association).  It's a quite well established LDS writing organization based in Arizona.  It costs a little money per year, but they have local (all over the west) and online chapters to discuss craft and do some critiquing, as well as an annual conference and retreats.
As I said, LDS characters are sometimes created by members of these groups, but are not the norm.  Some even write fiction that would make some LDS clutch their pearls.  But we tend to be respectful, and give people warnings if the content is PG-13 or higher.  That doesn't happen much (if at all) with most non-LDS writing communities, as I understand it. 

As to the distance being a barrier: I live in SW Idaho.  Not close to any of those communities, either.  But as the meetings are either online or only 1-2 times/year, it's not a barrier to interacting.  I do have to ration my conferences and retreats (I can really only afford 1 of each per year right now, and that's pushing it), but I don't have a shortage of interaction. :)
 
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Palmon

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 05:59:35 pm »
I'm echoing Dyany about the seminars. My husband has attended a couple of David Farland's and they were excellent. Well worth the money spent. We had to pay for a hotel and travel,even so worth it. Hopefully, He'll be able to go to more writers conference and seminars.
 
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Palmon

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 05:24:51 pm »
This is a link to a free, short e-book by Mark Dawson's WRITING A PAGE TURNER:
FIVE EDITING MAXIMS TO MAKE YOUR BOOK IRRESISTIBLE'" and "Musings From the Writer's Desk" by Elizabeth Baily. Since they are free, you might look at them. (Be prepared for other offers after signing up for them)
https://selfpublishingformula.com/maxims
 
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dyany

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Re: Online writing courses
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 06:48:31 pm »
I am personally extremely wary of the majority of writing blogs and books out there.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of them, and most of them are not worth much (and can do damage if you take their direction too seriously).  There ARE good sources out there, but I make sure to vet them well through other writers and resources.  And free ones?  NO!  David Farland is good, as is K.M. Weiland and Brandon Sanderson.  J Scott Savage does an excellent job with classes but I don't think he has online or text resources on writing, as are Sarah M Eden and Lisa Mangum.  A number of my writing friends collaborate on this blog, and the bits I've read are good but I'm not a regular follower: https://thinkingthroughourfingers.com/

 

 

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