Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Writing Class

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -- E.L. Doctorow

I started an online fiction writing class (short stories) through Arizona State University's Virgian Piper Center for Creative Writing a couple of weeks ago. It's my first venture back to the classroom (virtual or otherwise) in 17 years. It's a non-credit class, but I wasn't taking it to get a credit anyway. I just thought it might be useful (and amusing) to develop my creative writing. My first step towards writing the "great American novel" (just like a few million other people who want to be writers - [sigh])

This week we had our first short story due. Very painful and agonizing for me. But you gotta start somewhere. Has anyone else taken any kind of writing classes? Has anyone written any short stories or novels? I'd be curious to get all or your takes.


Laura said...

Good for you. You could try the National Novel Writing Month project too, where you write every day for a month without worrying about editing and style, just to see what you come up with.

Check out my friend ~V over at Streams of Consciousness (though she doesn't use blogger much). She's a writer trying to get a manuscript published and might have some advice...

I took creative writing in high school. It was either that, or English Lit, which I hate (no offense CK). I was always terrible at standard English classes since I couldn't keep up, especially when reading stuff I found boring. Anyway. we had to read our projects aloud every couple of weeks and I was always mortified and thought mine sucked. I'm not very creative, so I was always borrowing ideas from elsewhere.

Good luck though! At least it's online and you don't have to worry about seeing classmates roll their eyes...

Jeff said...

I haven't written a short story since High School, which for me was only five years ago. I would like to improve my writing skills which are lackluster at best. I suppose I should have focused a little more in English class. Creative writing sounds like a fun course though. Let me know how you like an online course, I've also been weary of taking one fearing that I may not get much out of it.

dbackdad said...

Laura - Thanks. I'll check out that Novel project site and ~V's site.

Like you, my last creative writing stuff was in high school. Fiction is so subjective. I do like how this class is set up, though. It has an online forum that you have to log into and then it will have separate threads for our current weekly assignments (a chapter each from Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Writing and the 2007 Best American Short Stories), plus optional exercises, places to discuss general writing topics, and an area to post discussions about our writing assignments.

The short story assignment is handled by each writer e-mailing everyone else in the class (about 15) the story and asking them to look for specific things: themes, opinions on dialog, etc.

All the forums have suggestions and guidance by the teacher of the class and everyone is pretty active in posting. The forum concept is nice in that you can get feedback without that added pressure of actually having to face your reviewers (and the eye-rolling).

I feel I am getting a lot out of it. I've written plenty of what one would call non-fiction and essay-based stuff before, but I really didn't know much about structure for fiction.

Jeff - You're a good writer (both you and Laura are), trust me. I've read your stuff over the years. I think the transition to fiction would be fun for you.

CyberKitten said...

laura said: It was either that, or English Lit, which I hate (no offense CK)

[Laughs]. Oh, I avoided Eng Lit very much on purpose!

I've done a few creative writing day schools, one of which was surprisingly good. It actually made me produce some imagery which I had no idea was in me. [grin]

Good luck with your course. Sounds like fun. Enjoy.