Peg, I've been writing novels for many years now, but I still take the
occasional on-line writing class. I recently took one on pacing with Mary
Buckham, which I found worthwhile. It reminded me how important it is to
include hooks in our novels -- to keep our readers reading. And it helped me
understand the scene-sequel principle, which I suppose I've been doing
unconsciously as I write along. Do you find writing courses of value?
I thoroughly enjoy taking online classes. I learn something new from each one . What I find invaluable are classes where participants share their work and the feedback from the instructors. Sometimes it's easier to understand a principle when it's applied to someone else's writing! I've taken a number of classes from Mary Buckham, and she's an excellent instructor.
There's so much to keep in mind when working on a manuscript -- the plot, the characters, the setting, the tension. Taking courses reminds us of the various elements we need to incorporate to write a satisfying story.
I also love the camraderie in an online writing class. Most of my family and friends in "real" life aren't writers. It's wonderful to be steeped in a mileu where you can talk writing as much as you want without fear of boring someone! It makes the whole creative process feel more vivid.
I agree. Besides writing classes, I love the camaraderie we writers enjoy via our online discussions. On my recent trip to Turkey I found myself telling my new friends about my close email writing friends.
I think it's critical, though, to make sure you're taking a quality class. There are certain sites that offer excellent classes, and you can also get opinions from other writers. I like to check the instructor's bio--I prefer it if they're published in fiction or if they have experience teaching creative writing at the college level.