A creative writing class is a strange beast. In a way, it’s just like any other class. Knowledge is imparted, ideas and opinions are exchanged. But the work that goes on within the four walls of the classroom can’t be easily quantified. And it’s often of a delicate, sensitive nature. If you decide to take the plunge and sign up for a class, there are certain ingredients to look out for to ensure that the class gives you the support you need.
Knowledge: The class will give you solid information you can use as a toolkit to get you started. You will develop an awareness of how stories are crafted and how others do it. This information will act as a springboard to help you create your own stories.
Inspiration: The tutor will give you exercises that will act as a trigger for ideas. These could be free-writing exercises, or exercises that draw on the senses. Each exercise will contain a prompt that will encourage you to fill your page with words. This may spark off bigger ideas in your head.
Passion: The tutor’s passion for what they do will rub off on you and fill you with enthusiasm and an eagerness to explore your ideas. You’ll find that this passion spills over into your daily life, as the class will encourage you to view the world with a fresh eye.
Constructive Feedback: If your work is really to progress, you will need to endure a little criticism. But that’s no excuse for people to tear your work to shreds. If your class is successful, that won’t happen. Instead, you’ll have a clear idea of how to move your work forward.
Confidentiality: Creative writing classes often bring up very personal issues in people’s life. You have a right to expect that anything discussed in class stays within the four walls of the classroom. You can also rest assured that your work won’t be seen by anyone except the tutor and class participants, without your consent.
Compassion: If it’s difficult for you to attend class or complete assignments for personal reasons, the tutor will be flexible. And even if you receive feedback about your work that you don’t want to hear, you deserve to have it delivered to you in a way that respects the effort you put in.
A way forward: People enter creative writing classes with a goal in mind. They may not even realise what that is, but as the class goes on, it becomes clearer to them. A good creative writing class will facilitate them in that goal and they should leave it with the tools and the confidence to achieve it.