For over a year my monthly writing workshops in Redlands have been full. And that was good. It showed that writers wanted to learn the craft – which is the way it should be. When I was learning to write, I spent several years and a lot of money attending writing classes, some online as well as traveling to other locations for campus courses. Each was an expensive, intensive course, but well-worth the time and expense.
So when I offered monthly workshops on the craft of writing at bargain rates, I offered quite a deal. I spent a lot of time preparing each lesson, creating handouts for each student, and incorporating tips I’d used to write my own novels.
But now I’m seeing a different trend.
Newbie writers are flocking to the different critique groups that have appeared in the area. That’s good. I support any and all learning experiences and companionship with others who share the same goals.
But not as a substitute for learning the craft.
Critique groups are only as good as the most knowledgeable person, and if that person does not know the craft, he/she can’t help a newbie writer. Worse, they might not realize what they don’t know. Critique groups are great for help on flow, grammar, punctuation, but will they help you with plot points or how to write a scene?
So if you join one, be sure you realize that you’ll only receive help/advice on said grammar, punctuation, etc. That’s great, too, as far as it goes. And be aware that an English major may not be the right person to critique your fiction. The head of one critique group tried to ‘correct’ a writer’s dialogue.
But as a result of this trend, I’m suspending the workshop on techniques – at least for now, to concentrate on my own work. As a writer, editor, writing coach, and now L. Cooper Press Gen Mgr, I have all I can handle. I’ll still accept invitations to present the craft to writers’ groups throughout SoCal because I still love sharing what I’ve learned. I have two coming up this spring. But no longer on a monthly class basis.
So for those of you who have attended, thank you, and best of luck on your novels! And if you’re thinking of self-publishing, take a look at what L. Cooper Press has to offer.
"The professional writer is the amateur who didn't quit." Richard Bach
L. Cooper Press