Kiira Rhosair, bookworm and aspiring author

How a writing course helped my novel

Back in 2016, when an editorial report of my book picked up promise but suggested a hefty redraft, I had three options:

I remembered seeing a newspaper piece by a famous writer who dismissed creative writing courses as a waste of time as “either you know how to tell a story or you don’t”. I was also aware that a lot of folks think that writing learnt on courses ends up morphing into a homogenous ‘writing workshop’ style. Well, after a lot of uhming and aahing, I took the plunge into a year long online “Work in Progress”course with Faber Academy in 2017. Here’s why I think it helped my novel:

So, did it help? Our tutor, Rupert Wallis noted towards the end that our critiques were much more insightful. I think this is because we were reading more as writers than readers. As a welcome bonus, it had begun to show in our writing. When I compared the final chapter I wrote on Faber to what I’d written at the start, I could see a clear difference. I also had a better understanding of “macro” concepts like structure and character arcs.

As with anything in life, you do get what you put in. I didn’t know whether I was ever going to get feedback and tutor input again so I tried to hit every deadline. Tough, but it meant I got to the end of Aghni: Reign of Fire and was able to get valuable feedback about the denouement, not to mention, a successful submission later on down the line.

Have you been on a writing course? Done a creative writing MA? Please feel free to post your own experiences below.