Robert N Stephenson – Writing Tutor for Careerline Courses
Finding the right course is always a struggle for the new writer because they aren’t sure about what they want to achieve or whether they have the right skill set to succeed. Some new writers dive straight into a complex course that delivers specific writing challenges and once you start and discover it isn’t what you are looking for it can be hard to change direction.
One thing I have learned in my twenty-two years as an author is that no writing is ever a waste, no skill ever lost, or words written down ever forgotten. Everything you write teaches you something and with every word you learn better ways to say the most mundane of things in ways that are exciting and tantalising.
When I started as a writer, there were few courses that examined what I wanted to write. What I wanted to write was based on what I loved reading. The most popular books at the moment are in the fantasy and science fiction fields, and these also have strong connections to horror writing or dark paranormal storytelling. I had to read short stories from an expensive magazine I managed to buy from overseas. I learned from the best writers publishing at the time, and I still learn from the best writers publishing today, but in Australia, a course dealing in these speculative genres was hard to find. I had to learn writing the hard way. I couldn’t afford to do an Arts Degree which would only ever tough on a small part of the genres, and I would have learned a great deal about history when all I wanted to learn was how to write.
This brings us to the Journey of the Fantastic, or the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing course. This course has been structured to deal with the start of writing, the adventure of learning something new while developing the stories you will want to read. As a writer in all genres, I have found a wonderful place of expression through the creative fields, and this course takes you from the early stages of working out what skills you have, how to learn new skills and then how to use them to create stories and even novels others might want to read. This isn’t a hard course; you are not required to buy special books, learn complex patterns or apply anything other than your view of the world.
For an experienced writer, this will come as a good chance to work with a writer who has been successful and continues to be successful across all forms of writing. For the new writer you get to establish your voice quickly, almost from the initial assignment you will be expressing in your voice and not the tutors. There is no right or wrong way to write; there are only better ways to express what you know and better ways to think through what you want to say through your fictions. This course doesn’t teach you to write by some formula or design, but more guides you through your skills, your creativity and helps you explore what you want to say, your way. Very few courses follow this path, but all writers agree; writing what you want to read is a must, and as a tutor, I will guide this development in a way that you are satisfied when completed.
It would be easy to teach someone to write like me, but would that be ideal for you? Would that approach get the best out of your imagination and would you be expressing your thoughts, or just mimicking mine?
Part of the course does look at editing, publishing and even the self-publishing idea that is sometimes popular with new writers. Heading into the publishing world not knowing how things function can be heartbreaking and even expensive if you come across unscrupulous publishers; there are plenty, but rest assured you are guided through understanding how the industry works, what is acceptable and what might not be of benefit to you or your writing. This course equips you for the business of writing, and while you may not be writing award-winning fiction by the end of the course, you will have a more professional attitude and a manner that will serve you well for years to come.
Publishing does differ in different regions, and the requirements of copyright, plagiarism and the dos and don’t of specific markets can be addressed through direct questions to me during the course. No, all learning is carried out through assignments and grading, some learning comes through the interaction between us and my understanding of your desires and requirements. Never be afraid to ask a question. There are no dumb questions, and there are no questions that are too hard to answer. Some may require complex thinking, but this is not impossible. After working for a decade as a literary agent I have seen everything that can go right and wrong in the industry, and if I can save you from some of that turmoil, I will.
If you are starting, unsure if what you want to be writing but enjoy fantasy, horror, paranormal romance, science fiction, historical time travel then starting with this course will get you headed in the right direction. By the end, you will hopefully be more confident in what you are writing and more confident in how you want to express your feelings, thoughts and ideas.