can anybody fill me on on this?

There’s a website called  Writers Online Classes that I’ve seen in passing now and then. It seems like a straight forward approach, solid groundwork without all the bells and whistles that tend to make me suspicious.

Do people really enroll in these classes, and if they do, how much do they get out of it? I realize every individual’s experiences will be different, but I’d still like to hear from anyone who’s participated. If you have things to say but don’t want to say them publically, you can use the contact form (link to the far right). I’m not using this information for anything more that feeding my ‘satiable curiosity.

On the business end of things, I can’t really imagine a working business model for this kind of thing. One individual teaching (say) four of these workshops at a time would be nearly a full time proposition. Say you’ve got ten people in each class, at $50 for a four week course. That’s a yearly income of about $24,000 before taxes. And maybe that would be satisfactory, but what about writing time of your own?

So in addition to anything you’d like to share about the classes in question, could you tell me

(1) Have you ever taken an online writing course that you had to pay for?

(2) If so, would you do so again?

(3) What features would you have to have in such a workshop before you’d even consider paying for it? How much are you willing to spend, and what do you expect in return?

(4) And while we’re at it, have you ever gone to a writing seminar or conference? If so, what did you like about the experience, and what didn’t work for you?

I know, I’m very nosy. Feel free to ignore me.

2 Replies to “can anybody fill me on on this?”

  1. No, I’ve never taken a writing course for money. However, Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer are doing a novel-writing course (no homework, no interaction except questions) at

    I became somewhat interested in writing a novel that really is one that teaches some basic everyday math for people who missed out in school and are afraid of math. You started me on this when you suggested on your forum that people submit and confer with each other on their work. Since then I’ve put together a few scattered chapters on a blog where people use it, ask for other topics, provide encouragement, and provide some feedback on what doesn’t make sense.

    Because my novel is not really a novel, it doesn’t fit into normal formats, and I’m not sure I could profit from a normal novel-writing workshop. I know the basic outline of the work, and have the first chapter in my head, but not written.

    I have attended a series of talks that included one person’s personal experiences and another of a publisher talking about the publishing side. Most informative for me.

    Bob Mayer also does intensive workshops on teaching with, apparently, volumes of feedback for the participants. You can look here for some info:

    I’ll be glad to give you my blog address privately. I’m not sure enough about where I’m going with it to publish the address here.

    Not what you asked, but my $0.02 anyway.

  2. I went to a one-week summer writing course a few years ago run by Victoria University, Wellington.
    What I liked about it:
    The writing exercises we did in class, particularly having to write about Cinderella from the various points of views of all the characters involved, even the mice that got changed into coachmen.
    Listening to what other people came up with for various excercises helped stretch the boundaries.
    I made a good friend out of it who has helped me and I hope I have helped her with our commitment to writing.
    What I didn’t like about it was they didn’t give us homework, which I would have liked … to add to the pressure, help keep us in the zone for that week.

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