Not sure if a course is right for you? Not sure if you’re a beginning, intermediate or advanced writer? Let us try to help.
Most of our courses are geared towards beginner to intermediate writers. If a course is more advanced, it will say so in the listing.
Writing is like any other art form. It takes time and it takes practice to get better at your craft.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about your experience level. We see it all the time, writers think they are more advanced than they are, they register for a class and end up feeling completely out of their element. Some stick it out regardless (and that’s awesome) while others get overwhelmed and discouraged.
Beginner – You have taken no formal creative writing instruction, or it’s been a really long time. You maybe write a bit – journal, dabble in short stories, are trying to write a novel – but you don’t know the difference between a protagonist or antagonist, you don’t know what point of view is, or the concept of showing vs. telling. What’s a scene? How do you write a scene? Does all of your poetry rhyme? What’s a stanza? If you don’t know, you’re probably a beginner.
Recommended Classes: Creative Writing Basics, Introduction to Poetry, any course with the word introduction or basic in it.
Intermediate – You have taken some formal creative writing instruction – through AWCS or another institution. You’ve finished a short story, or poem or essay, maybe you’ve even submitted something for publication, maybe you’ve even been published (congratulations). But you know that there is more to learn. You want to know all you can about craft. How to make your dialogue better, how to create characters that your readers really care about, what the heck is voice and how do I find it? You think you want to write fiction, but maybe you are being called to write something else. Don’t fight it. Explore your options. Explore your genres. There’s so much out there, so many choices, you might just surprise yourself. Write. Write. Write. Generate words, finish that full-length manuscript.
Recommended Classes: Anything on craft – voice, POV, dialogue, characters, world building, imagery etc. Short Story, Novel, Creative Nonfiction – personal essay, memoir, Playwriting, Screenwriting, 3 Month Novel Project.
Advanced – You have been published in literary magazines or anthologies that have a jury selection process. Been short-listed or won contests/awards. You have probably taken several classes, you know what you’re doing but also realize there is always more to be learned. You’ve probably completed a full-length manuscript of some sort, but it needs work. Maybe you’ve even published a novel but you’re having trouble with a second project.
Recommended Classes – Author Development Program, any class on a topic you’re interested in exploring, Feature Workshops, 3 Month Novel Project, Manuscript Workshop, Manuscript Bootcamp. Watch for classes that say Advanced in them.
It’s not a perfect system. Most of us bridge categories. The best advice is to be willing and open to learning new things. Take the challenge, explore your options.