I’ve gotten a lot of emails recently for writing classes. Classes on character development, hole proofing your plot, revising your novel, creating a best seller, etc. The thing is, they’re a load of crap. For 300 bucks we can perfect your novel. For five easy payments of 24.99 you can have the magical secrets of great writing. For your soul and hard earned cash we can trick you, the poor, naive writers of the world, into thinking that a novel is so easily quantifiable that one ridiculous class can change your future.
I mean honestly. If these assholes had the secret ingredient to producing novels that would make you as rich as Rowling, or as famous as Steven King, don’t you think they’d be out there, cashing in on their novels instead of widening the pool of writers with a million perfect manuscripts?
I find it all rather infuriating. Everything included in all the various how to write books and classes of the world, can, with a few dedicated hours on Google, be found and learned for free. There is tons of advice about how to plot, how to create memorable characters, how to edit and publish, that no matter who you are and how you want to do it, you’ll find something, eventually, that works for you.
Now aside from all the lovely articles out there on hundreds of thousands of various blogs and writing forums of the internet, you could always just go to your local library. If you really need guidance about writing, or editing, or whatever, libraries are the perfect place to not get sucked into this cashing sucking machine that takes advantage of inexperienced writers.
Now you may be thinking to yourself, hold up, wait a minute. Just because you pay for one of these classes instead of spending hours skimming web pages doesn’t mean you’ve been duped. And yeah, as much as I hate paying for anything I don’t have to, that is true. If you want someone to give you all their tips and tricks, whether they work for you or not, fine. You’re not a bad person or a bad writer for having a go at it. But let me just make one more point.
The biggest reason why I personally think writing courses are a load of shit is that no matter what they tell you, you will never be able to write a successful or meaningful book just by following their instructions. Why? Because these class teach all of the things you need to know about writing except the most important thing. Heart. The soul of your story isn’t in a bullet pointed list. It’s not in the dictionary or a grammar guide. The single most important part of your work, is you.
If you want to write stories, and you like reading, but you have no idea what your doing and need someone to tell you where to start, I personally don’t think you’re gonna make it.
If you need to write stories, and you love reading and you had no idea what you were doing and didn’t care and followed your heart to write a tale that meant something to you, and once you finished, took the time to learn about perfect grammar and spell checking, and cleaning up your dialogue and cutting out some of the fat from your world… Well, the most important thing for your story is already there. And no one else could have given that spark to your writing.
You can learn how to write. But you can’t learn passion or love for telling a tale.
So save you cash and just write. Please. Just write. All you need is your thirst for the story and some paper.