A Student's View of the Creative Writing Course

Landing in my inbox today was an email from one of our Dreaming Spires' students who has studied English Literature with us for a fair few years now, but last year, she doubled up with our new creative writing course that we started for teens in 2018.

In the email was a link to her blog where she reviewed two different kinds of creative writing courses she has taken, and she gave me permission to copy it here. At the bottom of the post is a link to her blog, so if you have a budding writer, encourage him/her to check out Ruq's thorough and engaging blog.

(PS As your essay-writing teacher, Ruqs, I totally approve of the "curtain model" you've used here to be clear and structured when getting your points across! 😁)

"Where I’ve Been with My Writing | Creative Writing Courses (+ recommendations)

June 13, 2019 Ruqs

When I first started this blog, I had two main topics in mind I knew I wanted to talk about: reading books and writing books. The latter of which I have SORELY neglected. I thought I would do an update post from this post that I published over a year ago. I feel like a lot has happened but also absolutely nothing has happened which really sucks. I’ve been wanting to write I book for the past almost 6 years I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much… closer.

In summer 2018 I participated in Na’ima B. Robert’s writing course. I personally found this course overall underwhelming and disappointing. I had loved Na’ima B. Robert’s book “She Wore Red Trainers” and had been really excited to learn new things about writing and the entire process.

Instead of being a live class as I had thought it was, it ended up consisting of being sent weekly unlisted YouTube videos of her talking about a particular topic, such as character POVs. However, I found the content of these videos to cover quite basic things that I myself already knew from my own research I had done online. Some of her advice actually contradicted the advice of the teacher from my next creative writing course (which I’ll soon get to), who did a degree in creative writing in Oxford, as Na’ima B. Robert said I should write what I don’t know whereas my latest teacher discouraged this by saying that it leads to unoriginal writing.

Also, at the end of the course I received a prize to be a one year member of the “Muslimah Writers Academy”. Although I received lots of emails of live webinars where Na’ima B. Robert said she would be talking about writing, I also received many other emails (at least one email everyday without fail) advertising this or that – constantly. In fact, they weren’t even different things. I would get several emails on the same thing. Eventually I just had to unsubscribe because it came to the point where I was just deleting the email as soon as I saw her name.

However, I do understand that there are many other people who have benefited from the Muslimah Writers’ Academy and from the live webinars. I don’t mean to paint a purely negative image of this courseas it did give me good writing practice and her feedback on my final piece boosted my writing confidence, and some of it was also helpful to know. As well as that, in the middle of the course I got really stuck, so I sent her my draft and she responded with some helpful feedback and helped me to sculpt the outline and the dynamics of the story. It was also useful in covering many aspects of novel writing as well.

Overall, this course just wasn’t for me and that’s okay, and I would recommend it to teens who aren’t aware of the basics of story writing and want to learn more about it from there. For more advanced writers, I would recommend the following course which I am just about to talk about.

From September 2018 to May 2019 I participated in this online creative writing course with Dreaming Spires Home Learning. I’m really happy to say that it was a really amazing experience! The teacher of that course graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Language and Literature, and is also an author, so it’s safe to say that she knows this field very well.

What I loved about this course was how it wasn’t just limited to novel writing – but we explored so many other different types of writing, including short stories, screenplays, novels and radio plays. I had only ever done novel writing before, so this was a great learning experience for me. It was really fun and I loved being able to experiment with these different forms of writing. It was a live lesson and was very interactive (everyone was so kind and supportive!) – I think there were 10-15 students in my class (I’m not entirely sure).

We would also have these writer’s workshops where we would critique each other’s work which I found really fun. I received so much useful feedback as well as a big confidence boost since everyone would say something they liked and didn’t like. I could definitely see a good change in my writing by the end of the year.

So that’s where I’ve been this past year with my writing! I haven’t actually been doing any other writing outside of these two courses… which is disappointing. I’m also looking for another creative writing course because they’re really good at keeping me inspired and my writing juices flowing, so if any of you guys have any recommendations, please let me know

This summer I want to do my best to at least come out with an outline for a novel I’m interested in writing. Let’s see if I’m able to do it!! What’s your experience with writing been like for the past year?"


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