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Choosing the Right Writing Course

Writing is a quickly learned skill for those who have a strong desire. Within a year or two, most writing students are ready to charge into the future fully prepared.

But what writing course to choose becomes the question. Take it from one who has tried all the shortcuts and found there were none - you will save yourself time and grief if you will begin at the beginning. Writing courses are an investment, and you are worth the time and money it takes to reach your goal.

The writing course you should choose depends not on what talents you have, not on what experience you have, not on what education you have, but mostly on what knowledgeable level of writing foundation you have. More than likely, you will already have some foundation, but it will have holes in it. That is to say, you will know some things, and not others. In such a case, determine your lowest point, or "hole", if you will, and begin there.

For example, if you have problems with punctuation, you should start with a Basic Review class. There you will learn how and when to use the proper punctuation, and some of the most common basics. This is an excellent place for older students to begin, as they often need such a brush-up course.

If you are good with English and you have the punctuation skills down pat, you may want to begin in Mechanics of Writing. There you will learn basic sentence structures, foundational writing rules and common mistakes to avoid. This is another good brush-up course.

If youíre up for the challenge of deeper writing rules and more in-depth assignments, it sounds like youíre ready for Creative Writing 101. This is a great class for those who are interested in cross-writing (that is, writing for more than one genre instead of finding one niche and staying in it). Creative Writing will teach you foundational rules of writing, how to write a snappy first paragraph, and will take you into deeper steps with more writing practice. This is an intermediate class.

Non-Fiction writing is for students in the intermediate class. It will teach you how to write for magazines and newspapers. Itís a very good step for intermediates because non-fiction writing pays better than anything else.

Do you like to write stories? Then Short Story writing is the class for you. However, it is also an intermediate class. You should know the rules of English, have good sentence structure, and practice the basic rules of writing before you attempt this course.

If you like to write childrenís stories, you would love Writing for Children, but there again, it is an intermediate class. Writing for children is not easier than writing for teens or adults. It can, in fact, be harder, so be sure you have a good foundation before attempting this class. Be prepared with proper English, and the basic rules of writing.

If you are into fantasy writing, you will love Fantasy World. Have you wondered how to invent those far away places you see in your mind? This is the class for you. It is an intermediate class, so be sure you get your foundational courses first. Science-Fiction writing is coming soon. Possibly in the next term.

If you are an advanced student, Wordsmithing is the class for you. There you will learn writing skills that no other class teaches. This is the class that will explain how other authors can string words together in an artistic style. It will teach you to recognize things like assonance, consonance, asyndeton, and many more little known techniques so that you can apply it to your own writing. This is the final stop on how to jazz your writing and edit it with snappy styles and techniques. Wordsmithing is a unique class in that it can be at the beginning of your career, or the end. For me, it was the technique that put me over the top.

If you wonder if you need a certain class to advance to a higher level of learning, the chances are, you DO. Your subconscious is telling you your foundation isnít complete. Donít challenge yourself with more advanced classes. You need all the rules of writing in order to succeed. Skipping ahead usually means having to return to a lower class at a later time to pick up what you missed.

When you have your foundation and pass through the various stages in order, the advanced classes will blend and mesh all your learning experiences into one vision. I canít reiterate this strongly enough Ė get your foundation first. Start at the bottom and learn every single rule. Youíll save yourself grief in the future.

Submitted by:

Deborah Owen

If you are still in doubt as to which class you should take, send a 1,000 word story or a 200 word article to deborahowen@cwinst.com and ask for an evaluation. (Join our Short Story/Article Writing Contest from Aug. 1 - Sept. 30, 2008) Compliments of http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com.




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