I’ve moved this blog to The Write Place and I’d love you to pop over and see what I’m up to there.
BRIEF ENCOUNTER – SHORT STORY COURSE
Successful short story writing is a mixture of ability and technique. The “Brief Encounter – Short Story Course” will teach you how to develop your skills and improve your chances of becoming a published writer.
The course will cover: Planning, writing compelling openings, constructing key moments, satisfactory endings, allowing characters to reveal your plot, creating 3-D characters, effective dialogue, establishing viewpoint, creating credible settings, the importance of drama and conflict – all the building blocks that develop good writing.
Date: Saturday, 1 December 2012
Place: Bedfordview/Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa
Cost: R1200 includes manual, tea and light lunch.
Contact Isabella at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place.
Join Isabella Morris for a weekend of creative writing workshops in the beautiful city of Windhoek in Namibia.
Date: 1-2 October 2011
Venue: The Language Laboratory, Windhoek, Namibia
Time: 09h00 – 15h00
Cost: R1500 for Travel Writing on 1 October 2011
R1500 for Masterclass in Fiction Writing on 2 October 2011
Each course includes tuition, exercises, a workshop manual, a snack, refreshments and lunch.
Course excludes flights and accommodation.
Award-winning writer Isabella Morris will lead participants through two exciting workshops:
1. Travel Writing Workshop.
2. Master Class in Fiction Writing which includes: Creating Characters with Emotional Depth, Multi-cultural writing, Sex-writing in Fiction, and Turning Notebook Scribbles into Stories.
During the course participants will engage in exercises that will encourage them to explore their writing in new ways. The course is designed for anyone who has an interest in improving their writing and is keen to engage in experiments in telling.
Info & Bookings: Please contact Isabella Morris at email@example.com or +27722084357
Bookings close 20 September 2011.
It’s been almost a month since I went on the romance-writing course and I have to say that I am having fun. I’m halfway through the novel, just over 20 000 words and I am astounded by the positive effect it is having on all the other writing that I do.
I do the romance writing during the morning session of writing, and I am able to just sit down and carry on from where I left off the day before. I have found that writing the first few sentences of a new chapter helps to kickstart the session’s writing and I’m always rather sorry when I finish my quota for the day.
Unfortunately I have had to divide my day into writing projects so that they all get the attention they deserve – unfortunate in that I can’t just write until I’ve had enough or until the book is finished. But I think that the break from it also prevents me from just rambling on.
The most amazing benefit of writing a light romance has been the effect it has had on my other writing projects. I have been able to make a committed effort to shaping my completed novel into its final form to send to a publisher; it would seem that the light writing segues into the heavier novel, having exercised the writing muscles, making them ready for the serious writing that the completed novel deserves.
I have a smile on my face while I write the romance novel. My fingers fly across the keyboard as I capture the raunchy love scenes and the fabulous settings; it is fabulous to have fun when you write. The completed novel demanded so much research and reading and getting the facts absolutely right, whereas the romance novel just lets my imagination run wild and I think therein lies the magic for me: my imagination has been fired up again, dampened as it was under two years of research and writing the completed novel.
Oh, and I’m in love, with the escapism of the genre! Who would have thought that the Mills & Boons novels that I hid between the covers of my Afrikaans text book as Sister Margaret Mary pounded out our weekly woordeskat, would re-emerge in my life twenty years later.
I remember when I started writing again how at sea I felt. On the waves of an emerging literary boom in South Africa, I decided to dip my toes into the water. For many years I just wrote, churned out stories week after week without any idea as to who my reader might be or where I would send the stories to for publication.
I read every writing manual I could lay my hands on and scanned the internet week after week for a course where I might meet other wannabe writers. But alas there were no courses available and it was just by coincidence that I learned of the MA in Writing programme at Wits. It was certainly the catalyst that yanked my writing out of its status of dabbling and catapulted it into my life’s commitment.
There are obviously courses for horses and I would say the MA was a lucky bet for me; it provided exactly the didactic atmosphere that I enjoy. I learned a lot about craft – not everything, but a helluva lot. There are aspects of writing that I felt definitely were not given the attention they deserved, such as the ethics of writing and revision and editing.
Currently there are a lot of writing courses on offer and they are varied and seem tailor-made for the new writer who wants to try their hand. The range of topics is vast – romance writing, song-lyric writing, poetry, memoir, etc. Personally I find most courses geared towards the beginning writer who wants to specialise in a certain genre, yet there are other areas that could provide extremely interesting content for the more experienced writer, such as real travel writing, not tourist blurb; representation of the Other in contemporary literature; writing and meditation; how to use De Bono to generate stories. In fact, I think I will teach some of these classes …
Hereunder is a list of some of the companies offering courses. Please note the list is not exhaustive and it is given as a guide only:
http://www.sawriterscollege.co.za/ – S A Writers College offers a range of online courses and a user-friendly website with lots of interesting info for writers. Their online short story course costs R2995.
http://www.cityvarsity.co.za/shortc/sc_journ/sc_fmj/shortc/sc_ctbdates/ – City Varsity in Cape Town offers a basic 5-week journalism course at a cost of R3500. It is held in the evenings, which makes it a viable proposition for people who work.
http://www.futureshock.co.za/nucourse.htm – South African Writers Network offer self-study modules at a cost of R350 per module.
http://www.intec.edu.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=103 – Intec offers self-study courses in Creative Writing and Journalism. Their price is R3760 to R4 178.
http://www.anneschuster.co.za/ – Anne Schuster offers the Women’s Writing Workshop. Appears to offer courses that focus on introspective writing – a good place to start – not a good place to stay for either yourself or your writing.
http://www.unisa.ac.za/Default.asp?Cmd=ViewContent&ContentID=7612 – UNISA (Pretoria) offer a correspondence BA in Creative Writing in both English and Afrikaans. Inquire at fees office for cost of this course or modules thereof.
http://www-za.iaj.org.za/index.htm?main_category=4 – Institute for the Advancement of Journalism(Parktown, Johannesburg) offers a range of courses during the year. User-friendly site, but again no costs advertised so you’ll have to email at firstname.lastname@example.org
http://web.wits.ac.za/Academic/Humanities/GSH/GraduateProgammes/MACoursework.htm – University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg). Many published graduates from this programme. No details on their website about the Creative Writing MA, may be in abeyance. Phone them to find out on 011-717-4032 or email them at email@example.com
http://www.commerce.uct.ac.za/organisations/creative_writing/application.asp – University of Cape Town. Full details available for the MA they offer in Creative Writing. Lots of published graduates from this programme.
http://www.writersbureaucourse.com/?gclid=CNrx0Kr00pQCFQ8gQgodyil1lg – The Writers Bureau is an international correspondence course based in the UK and they offer a guarantee on their courses. Exchange rate may be prohibitive for some of the overseas-based online courses.
Things that you might like to consider when deciding on where to take a course are: Who is teaching the course – what are their credentials? What type of interaction will I have with teachers or mentors to help solve problems that I may encounter? What exactly will I learn on the course. Ask for an outline so that you know what will be covered and the learning level at which the course is pitched?
Accept that there is no single course that is going to provide solutions to all your writerly needs, but the benefits that accrue from learning your craft well and making contact with people who are literary minded are well worth it.