Archive for category Online and multimedia learning

A Short Series on Various On-line Workshops

IMG_1759Since I stopped regularly blogging at the end of 2014, I’ve taken numerous online writing courses/workshops from a number of sources. Possibly my thoughts on some of the classes would be of interest or use to other writers. I will present each class in chronological order and follow up with a post on which I found most helpful and why.

Early in 2015 I did a workshop with Donald Maass through the Womens’ Fiction Writers Association. Improvements were made in the platform used for this workshop last year so it was a little easier to keep track of what you’d read by whom. Mr. Maass did manage to comment on most people’s assignments, too. Each year has a slightly different focus, so it is worth retaking each year.This is the information directly from the WFWA website:

Some manuscripts sparkle and gleam. What not only catches the eyes of agents and editors but holds them in thrall all the way through? What signals “commercial” to industry types? How can you give your project that radiance without compromising its integrity?

Topics will include:

High concept elements that don’t feel cheap.
Why readers really fall in love with protagonists.
Story worlds we don’t want to leave.
Entertaining versus illuminating.
Voices we hear versus voices we ignore.
This is a hands-on workshop with five writing assignments spread over two weeks. Presented by New York literary agent and teacher Donald Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, The Fire in Fiction and Writing 21st Century Fiction.

Registration open from February 15 through March 10.

This year’s workshop runs from March 14-March 26. The cost is a reasonable $45 but you do have to first belong to the association. Dues for that are $48.

Here is the link to join: http://womensfictionwriters.org/about.php

 

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Have YOU used Learning Opportunities on the Web?

IMG_0562Today I’m embarking on a second Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ workshop via yahoogroups, Editing and Revising for Fiction Writers. So far the number of participants seems more manageable than the Heros, Henchman and Sidekick class I took recently. The class length is a bit longer, and there are a few more self-identified mainstream writers. My first problem is to pick a manuscript to work on.  The first assignment, though, is to write for twenty minutes without censoring ourselves, so the necessity of picking a manuscript can be put off a day or two.

Meantime, I’ve been checking out some of the online college courses to see how they compare to The Great Courses. As one of the drawbacks of The Great Courses is the cost, I was trying to find free college courses on the web, mostly because I’d heard talk of such. Here is an overview of what I’ve found so far, although I have not taken any of these courses. I did find a few other sites that wanted all sorts of information before you could view offerings; I did not look into their offerings.

Coursera:   There are plenty of subjects and classes listed. When I put “creative writing” in the search field, the only class that came up was a Writing Like Mozart class that sounded like it was geared to music.

TED: Under the heading of writing, 33 talks came up. From my brief scan it looked like most of those related to writing were of the inspirational sort and on the short side, making them easy to fit in during down times. They included ones like this: J.K. Rowling: the fringe benefits of failure. This youtube video may be the same or slightly different:

edX.org: has free classes and many interesting ones, although when searching the topic of writing, the ones I found were not currently offered. Another interesting looking class was taught in Mandarin.

This website could also be useful when looking for free online classes: MOOCS: Top Ten Sites for Free Education with Elite Universities. When I followed the links, I came up with UCLA. Unfortunately, all the courses I checked on writing had a fee, the lowest of which was $145.

I hope to have some time in the future to check out a few of these offerings and continue my search for information on the web. I would, though, be very interested in hearing what courses you have tried and what luck you’ve had finding inexpensive or free programs.

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