Distance learning novel writing course wanted
April 3, 2012 5:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a recommendation for an online creative writing class that will help me finish the novel I'm writing. Does anyone on the green have experience with such a class that they could share?

I've written about 30,000 words so far and I'm happy with what I have but I could use some guidance, and I also feel like having deadlines to meet would get me motivated to advance further. I've thought about taking a week long Arvon course (I'm in the UK) but after considering it I think something a bit longer term that I could do online would be more helpful.

The course I'm looking for would allow me to work on my novel exclusively instead of requiring writing assignments, short stories, etc of me that I feel would only be a distraction at this point. I just want to get this thing done. Googling turns up a number of options, but I'm having trouble selecting one. Many thanks for any advice and recommendations you can give me.
posted by hazyjane to Education (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Before I got my degree in English (Novel Writing), I was in the military and took courses long distance through Writer's Digest School (now Writers Digest University).
Loved them! I got personal attention from my teacher (noted horror anthologist and novelist, J. N. Williamson) and I helped my writing dramatically.
I realize that others may have a differing opinion regarding WD, but I loved it.
This was before the magic of online classes and internet, so everything was exchanged via the good old USPS.
posted by THAT William Mize at 6:13 AM on April 3, 2012

This is not a course, but regular sprints with other writers on the Absolute Write forums (and in a private forum I set up for members of AW after the site was down for awhile) have helped me finish several pieces, two novels and many short stories.

Just knowing I'm writing while others write and checking in periodically keeps the flow going. Usually this takes the form of regular timed meetups in threads, with 15 minute writing sprints where we record our word count at the end of the sprint then go again.

While I'm happy just to have finished a new piece, 70% of the other writers I have sprinted with in the last four years have book deals.
posted by annathea at 7:20 AM on April 3, 2012

LA Writers Lab is exactly what you want. It's a tele-course, which is a combo of online and conference calls. The calls are recorded and you can play them back whenever you like. Some students participate live, others, due to work or geographic consideration, just listen to the playback. (There's one student currently in the course from Australia, and she manages to participate on the calls even though it's 5am where she is.)

The 90-Day Novel: This is the class that finally got me out of my half-novel rut. I started on day 1 with the half-novel I'd written and I ended on day 90 with a completed draft.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:19 AM on April 3, 2012

I have take Holly Lisle's How to Think Sideways (how to write a novel) and How to Revise Your Novel. I have also bought several of her clinics (Plot & Character). They are good, solid courses with lots of worksheets and an active student community.
She has been adding videos of her current writing process to the courses as she works on her latest novel.
All of the exercises in the class pertain to the novel you are in the process of writing and are geared towards helping you brainstorm, structure your novel, develop your characters, etc.
posted by LittleMy at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2012

+1 for The 90 Day Novel.
While I'm sure the tele-course is more effective, I found the book to be excellent. If I had the $$ I would definitely plunk it down to work with Alan.
posted by THAT William Mize at 10:54 AM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you so much, all. I'm leaning towards the 90 day novel. I'll also look for sprints on Absolute Write. Much appreciated.
posted by hazyjane at 9:48 AM on April 4, 2012

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