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How To Chose The Right Writer’s Course

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It is extremely difficult for a beginner writer (or even a more experienced one) to gauge whether a particular course or workshop is right for them. We can bite the bullet over wasted money if an evening lecture is a disappointment, but if we’ve shelled out a lot of money for a weekend, or week-long event, then we might be excused for coming away more than a little miffed if the tutoring hasn’t come up to expectations. So … what should we be looking for?
1: 
Don’t be tempted by ‘big names’ alone. Sometimes the most famous writers don’t make the best tutors. Those of an older generation may not even remember what it was like to be a beginner.
2: 
Listen to the recommendations of those who have attended the events before. Ask what they liked about each workshop/tutor, and why.
3: 
Choose a speciality workshop that caters for your particular type of writing. It’s no good taking a romantic fiction course, for example, if your interest is science fiction or westerns.
4: 
Make sure you get the level of tuition that is appropriate for your own level of writing. It’s pointless attending a master-class if you’ve barely managed the opening chapters of a first novel.
5: 
Workshops that request a sample submission in advance of the event will probably offer a harsher degree of criticism, so if you can’t stand the heat – stay out of the workshop!
6: 
Be prepared to participate. This doesn’t mean you will be expected to perform in front of strangers, but it will mean taking an active part in discussions and exercises in order to bounce ideas off other participants.
Conclusion: 
If chosen correctly, writers’ residential courses can be of immense benefit to writers of all levels of experience. It gives us the opportunity to spend a week or long weekend to talk about our ideas, problems and difficulties from morning to night with like-minded souls. Many people take an annual writer’s holiday to recharge their creative batteries because they like the ambiance of a particular course and meet up with old friends every year.
Tips: 
Ask other writers for their preferences before making your decision.
Warnings: 
Attending regular writers' workshops and courses don't make you a writer - geting your work out there in the market place does.

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