Monday, February 23, 2009

Develop Your Novel

Tonight is my first session teaching a 6 week writing course entitled "Develop Your Novel". It is taking place at the Adult Education College in Leicester and is organised by the wonderful Writing School Leicester.

I'm sure I will know some of the students from other courses. Several of my students from the previous course will probably sign up. And there will be others I have had the pleasure of teaching at other times before that.

So the question is: what can I possibly tell them that I haven't told them already? Ultimately, the only way to learn to write a novel is to write one. There doesn't seem to be a shortcut.

I am reminded of a pottery course I went on a couple of years ago. My dream was to learn to throw pots on a wheel. That is still my dream. Does that mean the course was a failure? No. I did throw some pots. One or two of them I am quite proud of. But if I had the time and a suitable course came along, I would surely take it. Because there is no end to how much better I could get with practice and occasional hints from the teacher.

I think it is the same for creative writing. Perhaps I won't cover much ground that is fundamentally new. But I have no doubt that the students will learn. In fact, I have no doubt that I will learn too. The day I stop learning is the day I give it up.

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