Coursework isn’t the key to an online writing course, it’s the quality of the tutor.
Any online writing course which enrols you sight unseen and without evaluating your work and current capabilities should be treated with caution. They have no way of knowing how much work would be required in bringing you up to a specific standard and are too eager to have you sign up and empty your wallet to be worthy of consideration. Ignore their promises and ask precisely what they can do for you.
Not everybody has the capabilities to be a professional creative writer and it would be cruel to say otherwise. Better to break the news gently and allow the learner to pursue other interests. This is not to say that the view of any particular writing tutor is to be taken as gospel, but if several see no promise in your submissions it may be wise to face up to the truth. However, the driven will see this as a challenge and this is to be encouraged, as long as they are impelled to learn their craft and not merely driven by some vague notion of becoming a literary superstar.
How Tutor’s Assess Writing Students
The first stage for any tutor should be in assessing the potential student’s strengths and weaknesses. Do they understand story structure, plot, character, narrative, dialogue, setting, description and how all these elements need to be merged together? It is very rare, verging on impossible, to find anyone with a mastery of all these factors.
The other important item is how well-read the trainee is. There is no need to have an academic’s knowledge of ancient texts but he should have a voracious and catholic appetite for reading. For those without access to a local, public, library just about every out-of-copyright classic is available to download in various formats from Project Gutenberg and it is a resource that should not be ignored. You will learn far more here than from reading every one of the Top 20 bestsellers.
Coursework for Writing Programs
The coursework for creative writing programs is available across the internet and sometimes for free, so what the trainee requires from a program is a course and personal tuition that provides encouragement and support as well as constructive criticism. The course should be designed to encourage the trainee through actual writing rather than working on theory. Each writing task should be analysed by the tutor and flaws pointed out, but progress should also be adequately praised.
The tutor should, through their very status, be able to give the trainee a measure of confidence because this is ultimately what the novice lacks. Encouragement gives confidence and confidence grows on itself.
The choice of creative writing course is important because everybody with a basic education can write a story, but professional training can lift naïve prose to a level where the novice can expect payment for their efforts.