Monday, February 13, 2012

You get what you pay for...

The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.   
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Well I’ve just about seen it all. I’ll ask you a question. What would YOU, as a writer, expect from a FREE online writing course, that gives you 7 weeks of the basics in writing. Well I feel that some people join the free course to gain something from all the knowledgeable people there, but there is one problem. The majority of students are just that, student beginners who came to learn a few techniques to see if writing is for them.

Some people come expecting professional critique of their work. Or very high standard lessons where you might be able to nail this writing craft down, for free. Now you all know I am no longer a mentor with the course, but I have continued to be an assistant for Bob (the creator, owner, and administrator), sitting back and watching all the folks scramble from room to room, laugh and chat, make friends and enjoy the free-spirited, gung-ho atmosphere. But I scratch my head when someone comes in expecting more than what they paid for. Oh wait, they PAID nothing because it is a FREE course!

The lessons are basically character introduction, senses, point of view, dialogue, conflict and characterization, then a complete short story as your finale. It was bad enough when you have eager writers NOT wanting their work published. The site is pretty proud of the new writers and wants to highlight their lessons by publishing them in a smalltime ezine, but some students fought the powers that be on that one, not wanting to be highlighted. They’d rather turn their first lesson into a best seller and find a publisher who wants their lessons. ???

Then there are students who don’t want to dissect another authors writing, to see just where they might better themselves in their own writing skills.

Then there is the students who expect a professional critique, from a free online writing course for beginners. What I don’t understand is this. You join, its free, you gain knowledge of different writing techniques that you might not have known. You’re asked to READ, follow guidelines, use the tips that the mentors give, but you want more? Bullying is not what they sign up for, and if you’re not in the clique, bullying is what you get and soon, a great writer decides, writing isn’t for them.

In the long line of writing, you get what you paid for. You paid nothing and a you get nothing; you will only get out of the course what you, as a new writer, puts into the course. So why all the hullabaloo over whether you’re getting a professional critique, from beginning writers? I don’t get it. I’d be happy to get ANYone to read my work, good feedback, juicy tidbits and I’ll be on my way, thanks for your time.

Now the mother site has writers who can really kick some butt with all their knowledge. People from the beginning stages to the very advanced stages of writing. Not a baby site at all for the people of the playground mentality. To some it’s a serious, dig your heels in and write site, is a paid for site.

One tip for you that covers many a ground: You get what you pay for! And while your at it, if the playground mentality isn’t for you, flee the site! All that was built up will come crashing down...eventually.

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