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  • Writers bureau courses
    by aliharris at 10:07 on 14 September 2007
    Hi everyone,

    I've recently started writing again but feel I need some guidance.
    Can everyone recommend the writers bureau courses or anywhere else
    I could get help.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by Nik Perring at 11:53 on 14 September 2007
    I did a W. B. course many moons ago and didn't find it all that helpful considering the price. The booklets were okay, if not a bit old fashioned, but the tutor's comments weren't particularly useful. That was a few years ago so things might have changed. I also remember googling their success stories, you know, XYZ received a six figure advance after the course and couldn't find their books or anything.

    There are plenty of other courses (the OU one supposed to be good) which other people herer are better qualified to tell you about.

    This http://blog.susan-hill.com/ may be of interest.



    Sorry for those typos!
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by EmmaD at 12:03 on 14 September 2007
    Yes, there are quite a few WWers who've tried Writers' Bureau, so you could do a search - as I remember, the feeling about them averaged out at mixed, if you see what I mean.

    Nik's right, the OU courses seem to be well-spoken of. There's also the Open College of the Arts for distance learning, and if you want to clear the decks for a week, Arvon and Ty Newydd do intensive residential ones that have kick-started (or kick-re-started) many people. They've all come up on threads, (OU less so because it's newer) so searching could find them. And some local college courses can be good, though like anything else to do with writing it can't help depending a lot on the tutor.

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by Account Closed at 19:13 on 14 September 2007
    And remember, you can learn a hell of a lot by uploading your work on here
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by aliharris at 12:54 on 15 September 2007
    Thanks for replies will check out OU and open college and of course more of this site.
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by foundit at 22:53 on 24 September 2007
    Hi Ali,
    I'm in the middle of one of these courses at the moment,
    if I have any problem it's with the tutor's being consistant.
    It seems that they swap and change them around. What one likes another hauls you over the coals for.
    At the moment all I can say is it's an experience.
    One thing that is interesting about the course is the structured route with writing ie being told what the subject of your next piece of writing is going to be.
    I write so much, as usual I'm in front of the schedule.
    Still it's a learning experience.

    Whichever path you take I wish you all the best.
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by aliharris at 14:07 on 28 September 2007
    Thanks for reply. I think Im going to apply for the writers bureau course, simply because I can get the course so cheap at the moment. OU courses seem to be around 450 and I can't afford that.

    How does the get your money back if you don't earn your money back when you've finished the course work? I've read reports on the web that very few people finish the course.

    Thanks for help! Ali
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by foundit at 22:19 on 11 October 2007
    My biggest problem as been I never passed any english exams. I left school at the age of fourteen.

    At the moment I'm at night school learning english grammer.

    When the writers bureau questioned my use of grammer etc

    they asked me to sign a disclaimer if I wasn't going to
    use writing as a career.

    I refused pointing out that they had all the information before I started the course.

    At the moment it's wait and see.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by NMott at 23:19 on 11 October 2007
    When the writers bureau questioned my use of grammer etc

    they asked me to sign a disclaimer if I wasn't going to
    use writing as a career.

    I'm sorry Joe, but why did they want you to sign a disclaimer? Is this to do with their promise to refund your tuition fees if you don't manage to sell anything?

    - NaomiM
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by foundit at 09:54 on 16 October 2007
    Hi NaomiM,

    That's exactly what they wanted me to do without going into details..
  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by debac at 10:29 on 16 October 2007
    I'm probably too late to influence you, and my info is somewhat out of date, but I started a Writers Bureau course about 20 years ago and thought it was pants. The tutor just told me everything I wrote was great, which didn't progress me.

    It might have changed, but I thought it very lightweight.

    I'd recommend Open College of the Arts courses, or Arvon.

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by caro55 at 11:53 on 16 October 2007
    I'm also a bit late to this discussion, but a friend of mine gave up on a WB course because the tutor's poor spelling didn't give her much confidence to continue.

    That disclaimer thing sounds really shabby, Joe. Well done for refusing to sign.

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by debac at 13:42 on 17 October 2007
    Agree completely about the disclaimer - yes, well done Joe for refusing! And FWIW your grammar looks fine, but good luck with honing it - well worth it if you feel there are holes in your knowledge.

    I was taught grammar in more of an 'absorption' way than with rules, so although I haven't had problems with it, I recently bought Crystal's 'Rediscovering Grammar' which has been highly recommended hereabouts. I felt it might be useful to know why something should be done a particular way, and what it's called, rather than just knowing/feeling that it should be.

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by kris at 09:59 on 31 October 2007
    Hi Ali,

    If you are still interested in the course I can help. I got all inspired, paid for the course, then realised I am actually not keen on writing after all. The course is fully transferable and is untouched - I would let you have it at a huge discount - I just want to get rid of it! Get in touch!

  • Re: Writers bureau courses
    by Colin-M at 10:43 on 01 November 2007
    Why not invest in a few decent books on creative writing instead? There are loads out there. The ones I would recommend would be:

    Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
    Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein
    Solutions for Novelists by Sol Stein
    On Writing by Stephen King
    Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

    plus a load of books on general grammar and punctuation. Go right back to basics on that and relearn all of the rules you've forgotten, or the ones you think you know but possibly don't.

    Just a note to add to this. That book by Orson Scott Card: some books only give a chapter to this subject. This is a whole book dedicated to just that one tricky area.

    For writers of younger fiction... I'm yet to see a decent book on the subject! The best thing you can do, for any genre, is get to know it inside out by reading everything you can.