Week 8 Review
This final week 8 involved sending in a short story based around one of the characters you’ve been developing as the course progressed. Similar to other weeks, the course required that you provide some reviews on other people’s work whilst yours was itself being reviewed. Hopefully someone provided some helpful critiques and that allowed you to reflect back on your writing and make a start on editing again. Once all of the steps were completed there was an optional survey to complete as well as an option to purchase a certificate for completing the course (although a bit pricey at £24 including P&P).
At the end of the week, the course tutor officially stated that he will no longer be monitoring the forums but was quick to state that the uptake of the students was so good, he expected the students themselves would continue on and do any reflective feedback for those who hadn’t yet finished. I expect that this offer will have diminishing returns as time goes on though.
For all that is good on this course, I’m not sure that I ‘learned’ that much. Obviously, there were times when something was explained a little better, or differently, but I think the main aspects of keeping a notebook, write daily, develop characters etc. were something that most of us try to do anyway. It feels as if an artist is being told what tools to use, and how to use them effectively but, at the end of the day, it is still down to the artist to get the picture on the canvas.
As a short (and free) course, I was probably expecting a little too much but there is little information in terms of plot, theme, character arcs. Other areas such as tense, perspectives, three-part acts etc. aren’t really covered at all.
I think the biggest ‘lightbulb’ moment I’ll take away from this course is how different we all are at interpreting something, how there is a subtle difference in the way we all think. More than anything, this made me realise that there are no hard and fast rules. Whilst the publishers (and editors) may be asking for something in a particular way, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is always the correct way (unfortunately, whilst they pay the pennies, they can still dictate how things are done).
Furthermore, I think another positive from these types of courses is that it brings like-minded people together and allows them to converse, and bounce ideas off each other. I’ve never had a writing group outside of my studies so I’m not sure if I’m waxing lyrical about something that is quite average. However, I do think that the group aspect is a great driving force to not only keep your own writing going, but to also experience how other people interpret the course directions and see how they write themselves.
If anyone does like the idea of this course, they are running another one on 27th October 2014 and, as it is free, students are able to re-take this if they feel that they want another chance to meet up with fellow writers.