The Learning Curve

It’s Wild Card Wednesday, the day anything can happen at Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie.  I rarely blog about writing, even though most of my readers are writers.  Today is going to be an exception.

A published writer once told me professional fiction writing has a steeper learning curve than any career she’d ever had.  I’ve found that to be true.  There’s always something to learn or to improve upon.

The following is a reference meant to assist in locating online writing classes.  I am not promoting any particular writing class or instructor.  Each writer has a unique mindset and a unique way of learning.  There is no right or wrong as long as you’re writing.

(The links will take you straight to workshop listings and registration information.)

Savvy Authors — They have short workshops as well as 6-12 month courses.  A $30 yearly membership has many benefits including a steep discount on most workshops.

Many Romance Writers of America chapters offer classes.  The classes cover a wide range of topics and are not necessarily just for romance writers.  The courses are usually conducted via Yahoo Email Loop.  The following list is by no means conclusive.

Low Country RWA — All their courses are $16 for everybody.

Kiss of Death RWA — RWA’s online mystery and suspense chapter.  They offer courses on crimes, corpses, psychopaths and everything in between.  Courses are $30 for non-members.

Orange County Chapter RWA — Courses here are on a variety of topics and cost $30 for non-members.

Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal RWA — This is RWA’s online chapter for writers of otherworldly or supernatural fiction.  They offer courses on a variety of other craft topics.  The cost is $20-$30 for non-members.

To search the online course offerings of more RWA Chapters, click here for chapter listings.  From there you can choose region or special interest.  Most of the special interest RWA chapters are online only, so there is a good possibility they might be offering online classes.  (hint, hint)

Side note on cop and crime scene resources:

The crime scene writer yahoo loop is an excellent resource for mystery, crime and suspense writers.  This yahoo loop is a place you can ask your “what if” questions for free.

Lee Lofland’s Police Procedure and Investigation will cover more particulars than a writing class on writing about cops.  Mr. Lofland also has an excellent blog where he discusses many aspects of police work.

D. P. Lyle has written an excellent called Howdunit Forensics.  This 448 page monster will cost you less than a writing class on crime scene forensics, and you’ll probably get more information.  Dr. Lyle also offers to answer questions or do story consulting here.

Announce Online Writing Classes — This yahoo loop is run by Julie Rowe.  It is an excellent clearing house for writing courses.  The best part: it’s free.  The downside is that once or twice a month,  you will receive tons of email.

An aside on Yahoo Loops:

The “I get too much mail from yahoo loops” complaint is one I’ve heard often.  There are work-arounds.

  1. Go to Edit Membership at the top of your yahoo group page.  Once there, select daily digest.  This will greatly reduce the number of emails that land in your inbox.
  2. Gmail users can create a filter.
  3. Yahoo Mail users can create a filter.

Writer — Offers classes on various aspects of writing.  If you’re looking for a Mary Buckham class, she often offers her courses here.  These courses run $30-$55.

An aside on Mary Buckham:  Her lecture packets can be purchased at any time for $20.

Lawson Writer’s Academy — Margie Lawson now has her own writing university where a variety of classes are offered.  The courses run $15-$75.   Margie is well known for her courses on editing (Empowering Character Emotions and Deep EDITS).  All of Margie’s courses can be purchased as lecture packets for only $22. — Offers a variety of courses on the craft of writing.  Most courses are $30.

Write it Forward Workshops — This is where you can find courses taught by Bob Mayer, Kristen Lamb, and Jen Talty.  The courses are $20-$40.

Bootcamp for Novelists online offers basic to advanced courses in the craft of fiction writing.  Connie Flynn and Linda Styles teach the classes.  Courses are $22 each, but can be bought in packages.

Angela James’s Before You Hit Send is a course about self-editing, but it’s like a course on steroids.  Angela covers more than you think she can in the space of three weeks.  Cost is $49.

Cheryl St. John — The author of over 30 Harlequin and Silhouette books.  She teaches classes on a variety of craft topics.  Classes are $20-$30.

Working with other Writers: 

Sometimes the only thing that will help is working with other writers.  It’s intimidating, though.  What if they say I should throw away my laptop and get a job collecting garbage?

The thing to remember is that we’re like a bunch of people gathered on a beach.  We all came together seeking a shared vision of paradise.  Sometimes finding paradise takes a group effort.

Ways to meet other writers:

(Listed cheapest to most expensive)

By far, the cheapest way to meet other writers is to tweet, visit blogs and make friends.  I met my critique parter, Stacy Green, by visiting her blog and commenting on some short fiction she had posted.

Savvy Authors has  critique groups and writing groups by genre.  A $30 membership is required.

Sisters in Crime is an organization aimed at female mystery and crime writers.  They have a sub group called Guppies (Great Unpublished Writers).  Guppies members can request placement in a critique group.  In order to join Guppies, one must also join Sisters in Crime.  Membership in Sisters in Crime is $40.  Membership in Guppies is $12.

RWA – is an organization aimed at both published and unpublished romance writers.  They have a variety of online special interest chapters as well as face-to-face chapters all over the world.  Membership starts at $110.  Each chapter charges a fee in addition to the basic membership.


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