Orson Scott Card says you learn more from writing a 100,000-word novel than you do taking all the classes in the world. Of course, when I first read this, I took that to mean that I didn't need to take any writing classes. In fact, I came this close (I'm pinching my thumb and index finger together here) to signing up for Uncle Orson's Boot Camp. I decided that the time wasn't right, the budget was tight, and I went back to working on my 100,000-word novel.
Then a couple of weeks ago, an opportunity arose to attend a local, cheaper writing class. Now, almost a year after rejecting the Orson Boot Camp, and after receiving several rejection letters, I decided it was time to learn what I was doing wrong.
Tonight was that first night. I had sent in the first 20 pages of my upcoming "Depths of Inner Space" short story, and tonight we went over the first two pages. We talked about everything that wasn't quite working and how we could fix it.
And let me tell you -- IT HURT! When the class was over, I had to go get some comfort food (a Big Mac). There's just something about seeing one of your babies torn up like that...
Well, after about an hour, it didn't hurt so much. I realized that the essence of my story was not what was being attacked, but the techniques I was applying (or misapplying). The instructor gave very useful information and suggestions on how to fix the story. Now that I've been educated, I can begin to understand why some of my stories come out better than others, and I can know better how to fix this one story. IT CAN BE SALVAGED!
This class goes for on for six weeks. When it's done, I'm going to feel a lot better, and I'll have a great new "fixed" story to show for it.
My advice to all you fellow aspiring writers: please take at least one writing class in your life before you hurt someone!