A Creative Writing Course Junkie Writes . .
Guttridge, Peter, The Independent (London, England)
Britain is awash with writing courses for wannabe, likely-to-be and not-a-chance-in-hell-they-will-be writers. The unpublished can learn How To from hundreds of professional writers unselfish - or skint - enough to share the secrets of their publi shing successes. The thousands of hopefuls who join writers' groups or subscribe to national writers' magazines like Acclaim can try everthing from inexpensive local adult evening institute courses to, say, a week of sun, sand and Sue Townsend on the Gre ek island of Skyros.
I'm a sucker for these courses, even though I know they can't show you how to write in any fundamental way. I have learned some mantras: screenwriting is structure, a novel is change, don't forget the backstory, remember to plant your seeds early. And I've been offered sound practical advice. Of a dizzy Victorian adventure set in a Grand Guignol Venice that I wrote, the tutor remarked: "If your hero has his hand cut off early in the book, you must remember later. When you have him attempt to escape under cover of darkness down the Grand Canal in a rowing boat won't the villains find him at dawn rowing in circles? …