What others say:
Of course it would be so nice to meet all these wonderful teachers and co-writers in person. As for critiquing, though, I think, the online format probably works a lot better. You have more time to think about it and give more coherent answers in writing, than you probably would otherwise. This, I think, especially accounts for the more introverted among us. Besides, online allows for more internationality in the group, which is part of the excitement, because you get such diverse views. I loved this!
The teacher was very careful while giving feedback. She never judged my writing and her feedback was very constructive. It is the first time I've taken such a course and I loved it.
Teaching online is challenging and our instructor did an awesome job at keeping the sessions extremely dynamic and lively. She created a safe environment, always cheering us on in our writing journey. I learned a lot on writing techniques and I felt that my writing has improved a lot thanks to weekly exercises that we have to hand in. I also enjoyed reading others’ pieces and critiquing them. Most of all, I gained more confidence in my writing and am feeling upbeat about writing more despite the “shitty first drafts”!
I think the whole structure of these courses is very well thought out. We get clear examples of different types of narrators, tone and mood and then we must practice the style ourselves. Also that we must critique others. For me, having to do all of these steps, although not always easy on a weekly basis, ensured that I really learned and internalized the different styles.
The instructor was knowledgeable and open in sharing. Credentials are not at the forefront, but growth. I love that. The format really worked for me and helped me see the value of critique.
I was very pleased with the professionalism of the teacher. She clearly is very experienced and knows a lot about writing. She could always give insightful information or name relevant examples of books and writers when a question came up during class. Online classes can sometimes be awkward, for instance, if the teacher poses a question in general and everybody is too polite or shy to answer; somehow, that never happens in these classes.
I do like the format of the IWC classes in general. Once again, I was pleased with the example texts and the exercises. This was my first Level 2 and I felt significantly challenged, the high expectations and the level of other participants kept me on my toes, I loved it!
The assignments were just hard enough for me to get them done without being too discouraged. This was stimulating! The readings suggested and the authors were surprising sometimes and even a little dark at other times, but I appreciated how it forced me to get out of the ordinary. If it wasn't for this course, I most probably would have not discovered or read these on my own. I really enjoyed learning about writing, having the weekly challenging assignments, reading and critiquing. Of course, the critiquing part was the trickiest. I also loved meeting the group and simply getting reconnected to English as a spoken language. Simply hearing everyone talk in English was a treat. This course is very well structure, focused, enjoyable and humane.
Level II is aimed at encouraging students to think about building on previously written material. The course was cleverly devised with this in mind. It catered not only for the students who were already writing larger pieces but also for students yet to make that step. As the latter, I found being in a class with others who were already fully engaged with their own writing was very inspiring. For the first part of the course we were provided with prompts while the last two classes were about writing forward from previous exercises. The sample pieces were entire short stories which we would discuss during class focusing on certain elements of craft such as dialogue and story structure amongst others. I always learnt so much during these discussions, deconstructing successful pieces of writing in order to understand why they work so well.
I really enjoyed all of the information, exercises, specific examples, direction. It was incredibly useful and encouraging--for the first time, I'm not so daunted by structure and feel like I have real tools to continue my draft. I also really enjoyed the breakout sessions, if only to shake up the class and offer up some variety and the opportunity to interact more with the participants.
The material covered in this course was easy to grasp but challenging to write, the [exercises] were very well alternated and kept me on my toes. The atmosphere in the class I was in, was great. I felt comfortable and we talked a lot about the exercises during the class, what we found difficult or what we wanted to try and focus on.
This course was much more practical than another course I did on novel writing (not at IWC). This course really managed to break some big things down and give some very specific and practical guidelines.