29 August 2012

We all need editors

by Anna Davis Opinion, Our Courses

One of the best things that writers can get from a good novel-writing course is a group of attentive readers; people who can deliver carefully-considered editorial insights in a positive way, getting right to the heart of the matter. We might turn to our partner or friend for this, but few readers can provide the detailed comments we’re after, and the writer’s need for constructive criticism can put pressure on relationships. Published authors have their agents and editors for this, but who does the unpublished author turn to? Yes, there are writing forums and online communities, but I reckon it’s hard to beat the support, encouragement and thoughtful criticism you can get from a group of like-minded individuals all working hard on that all-important debut. This isn’t about writing-by-focus-group: It’s about finding your optimum readers and using them to help you figure out how to make your novel as good as it can possibly be.

At Curtis Brown Creative we select our students very carefully, offering places only to the most talented applicants. This selection process for our novel-writing course has resulted so far in 3 very lovely groups of people who have bonded and become each other’s readers and editors beyond the end of the course. All three course groups have set up private social networking groups to share comments. Some of Group 1 are just heading off to Italy for a writing break; Group 2 are recently back from a similar (though no doubt chillier!) trip to the the Isle of Wight. Group 3 have just finished their course and are now putting together a plan for monthly meetings to critique each other’s work as they press on to the end of their novels.

For me this has been an unexpected and terrific bonus of the Curtis Brown Creative writing courses. For the students it’s something more than that:

‘Having this group of entirely lovely, talented, and encouraging people has been such an incredible treat – I think we all appreciate just what an amazing support network we’ve come away from CBC with, so I just wanted to say thank you. It’s made the course even more invaluable that it already was.’ (Kate Bulpitt, Novel-Writing Course 2)

As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.

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