----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: You Get What You Pay For

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Friday, August 24, 2007

You Get What You Pay For

Wednesday night was the first night of my novel writing class at Saddleback College. Let's just say it's not what I had hoped for.

Our instructor seems like a very nice man, but I have some qualms about taking a novel writing course from someone who hasn't written a published novel. I don't know for a fact that he hasn't written a novel, but a search of Amazon.com and Google turns up no books by his name. Besides, don't you think you would mention your published works when introducing yourself to the class? He didn't. He did mention some creative writing contests he had won, though.

The other thing is that the instructor is a high-school dropout. He eventually got his GED, of course, and then he got his BA and MFA from Long Beach State. And he's been teaching at Saddleback ever since. He is also a postman. Well, that's not strictly true. he retired from the post office last week.

There are a wide range of students in the class, many of whom have never written anything before. I personally find it difficult to be in classes where people at so many different levels of ability are mixed together. I just don't know how the instructor is going to be able to teach beginning writing and advanced writing at the same time.

Finally, this is an ongoing class. You can take it several times for credit to continue to work on your writing. Some people in the class have been there for two or three semesters already, so a few of them brought in writing samples for the rest of us to critique and discuss at the next class. Based on what I've read so far, if I continue to take this class, I will be forced to read a lot of bad writing. Bad writing frustrates me. I don't know if I want to invite that frustration into my life. (I would post samples of the writing quality here, but I think that would just be too mean.)

So, here are the pros of staying in the class:

1. I would have external deadlines that would force me to write and turn in pages.
2. I would receive critiques of my work.

Here are the cons:

1. I don't feel like I would be learning a lot about the craft of writing.
2. I'm not sure how good the instructor will be.
3. I will have to read a lot of bad writing.

Is it worth it? I don't know. I would really rather take the Chick Lit online course, but that costs $475. Since I've taken a seminar from that instructor, though, I know that the quality of the course would be much higher. We'll see...after all, you do get what you pay for.


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