Creative courses can destroy your passion for the subject you've chosen to study. Or so I've been told many times and even heard it said by Stephen King. However, with a strong desire to become a published author and an education that consisted of getting high and trying to do as little as possible, it seemed like a logical step for me to increase my writing ability.
Having originally stared a Writers Bureau course several years ago, with their promise that you'll get your money back if you don't earn what the course cost you from your writing, I decided to resume where I left off. If I'm honest, I don't care about the money back guarantee, it's more about getting valuable, or what I hope is valuable, feedback from experienced tutors, and learning the methods that will hopefully allow me to see my name in print.
My tutor seems like a nice chap, if a little stuffy, and his feedback on my first assignment has helped. I was tasked to write a short story for a market. The idea was to select a market and then write the story. This is lesson one on how to get published - Know your market before you write the piece. So this is what i did. Unfortunately, I write on a Mac and I'm guessing my tutor doesn't. So when I labelled my proposed market and contact details in a header, compatibility issues between the two systems meant that this wasn't visible on the other end. This was unfortunate as most of my feedback was about selecting a market and how I MUST put my contact details on each assignment.
What was left was a critique on character development that was very helpful. I was asked to make the piece more human. To describe the mannerisms of my characters to give them depth. An example was to show how meticulous a character was by making them roll a cigarette with machine like precision, evenly laying the tobacco. I was also advised, once the market was confirmed, that aiming for The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition probably wasn't the best market. I think I may have been aiming too high!
As a result I lengthened my story and added characterisation that the previous word limit restricted. I have now entered my story into the Fylde Brighter Writers Circle Competition, with a closing date of the twenty-eighth of April 2012. Watch this space.
My feelings on the Writers Bureau so far is that they are efficient at replying, have easy to understand resources, and offer valuable feedback. Passion still in tact.