Earth: Truly One of the More Terrifying Planets

January 20th, 2005 · 4 Comments
by Booksquare

Or maybe Los Angeles is one of the more terrifying towns. We often get this stuff mixed up. J-Fly (who’s un-on hiatus, and if we’d been playing more and working less, we’d know this) has decided to try a novel writing class at UCLA. We’ve done that, right down to the unfortunate runny nose (our conveniently timed allergy attack had a nice woman in a striped dress moving her desk away inch-by-inch. She never returned to class.).

Based on our research, there are a few types who take these classes: earnest souls who really, really want to be published writers when they grow up; people who think a novel writing class is just the ticket to get out of house on Wednesday nights; and people who have had the kind of real lives they think would make for a dandy novel. The final group can be scary. Really scary. There is such a thing as sharing too much.

As far as learning the nuts and bolts of writing novels went, we didn’t learn much (though we may be a bit more advanced in POV than most). The workshops, well, we liked the workshops. Mostly. When you have a lot of writers at different levels, critiquing tends to be a bit uneven. And then there was the class overachiever. There’s always a class overachiever. Ours, we can only hope, has moved on from workshopping Chapter One. (Via TEV)

P.S. J-Fly, Occidental College. You can’t get lost if you try.

File Under: Tools and Craft

4 responses so far ↓

  • j-fly // Jan 20, 2005 at 8:43 pm

    Last night, I actually lost my car. It took me a good 45 minutes to figure out where I parked it on Hilgard. I will try Occidental if there is a next time (not quite sure I want to workshop this novel to death thought.) But Leslie Schwartz is teaching the same workshop on that campus and I hear she is marvelous.

  • booksquare // Jan 20, 2005 at 10:19 pm

    Leslie is marvelous. Very supportive and very honest. I wish I could have had her holding my hand forever. She probably wishes otherwise! Since you won’t get through the whole novel in a single class, you can always pick up where you left off, or test drive new concepts on a new audience…

    The UCLA campus scares me. Big time. I took a Women Who Write Fiction (title escapes me, but it was great class) there once and had to buy a new car. I’m sure my old one is somewhere in a parking garage, but I have no idea where. This is why I avoid the LA Times Festival of Books. By the time I find it, everyone else has gone home!

  • Karen // Jan 21, 2005 at 12:11 pm

    The main problem with novel workshops at universities is that there are usually too many people in the class. I teach these things now and again, and it’s upsetting to see someone who is writing their heart out get only 2 chapters critiqued over the course of an entire term On the plus side, students make friends with each and sometimes manage to pick up a couple of good readers for their work.

  • Stephanie // Jan 21, 2005 at 11:27 pm

    i’ve taken a bunch of classes at ucla and really the only teacher worth your time for novel writing is tod goldberg. funny, smart, doesn’t give a shit if he hurts your feelings and actually wants you to get published.