I'm often asked if writing classes are any help, and my immediate and enthusiastic answer is always, Yes! Writing classes are wonderful for the writers who teach them and can't make ends meet without that supplementary income. They are also good places for unattached people to meet, talk about books and movies, have a few drinks and possibly hook up. But teach you to write? No. A writing class will not teach you to write. The only things that can teach writing are reading, writing and the semi-domestication of one's muse. These are all activities one must pursue alone.
Aspiring writers are told these things over and over again and constantly push them aside. They want something quicker. A magic bullet at Breadloaf. A secret passageway at Iowa. They are desperate for someone to tell them it's not what you do but who you know. And when I tell aspiring writers I didn't know anybody, I see the light go out of their eyes.
Aspiring authors who persist in inquiring about secret handshakes get no admiration from me. They're not passionate about writing--they're simply interested in the wealth and recognition they believe must come with publication. The writers I respect are real writers; those who are struggling to learn and grow and write the best stories they can. Even when they suffer crushing disappointments, they don't quit because they must write. I get that.
I don't enjoy horror novels, but Stephen King is an amazing writer and worth listening to any time he talks about the craft. I highly reccommend his book On Writing.
Technorati Tags: writing, Stephen+King,