Like many of the other prepublished writers out there working to be published, I take advantage of some of the craft courses available to help improve my writing. Some are very helpful, and others are not so much. I think that what a person gets out of these classes depends in large part on where they are in their understanding of what it takes to make a good story.
My first classes helped me grasp the broader strokes, and in later classes I was able to build upon some of the lessons I'd learned previously. One class I recently signed up for really stood out for me, and so I wanted to share it with you. Its called Prose and Contests, taught by Amy Atwell.
I signed up for Prose and Contests because I plan to enter several contests this year and thought it would help me prepare for the entries and get an idea of what to expect. And because I thought the name was clever--I admit it. It gave me what I'd expected, and much more. In addition to discussing the best ways to choose, evaluate and format contest entries, Amy helped me to evaluate my own manuscript through the eyes of a judge, looking for multiple things that can weaken an entry, and on a larger scale, can ruin your manuscipt.
So, in what seems to be a pattern, I'm going back to my work in revision, to use all the fantastic things Amy taught me to make it stronger and better than it is right now. Sometimes it feels like a never ending process, but I'm glad to have new tools to make it better, even if it does mean more work.
My recommendation for the month is below. (I'm not affiliated with Amy or lowcountry RWA in any way--I just took the class and thought it was fabulous enough to warrant a reccomendation.)
March 2010 — Prose And Contests: Everything You Wanted To Know About Writing Contests But Were Afraid To Ask, Presented by Amy Atwell. Dates: March 5-31, Deadline: March 2, Fee: $16.00
Read more about Amy at her website: http://www.amyatwell.com/
If you do sign up, I hope you get as much out of it as I have. And what about you guys? Anyone planning to enter contests this year? Anyone else taking craft classes? Anyone have a recommendation for a can't miss class? Do share--I'd love to hear from y'all.