With one exception, my course was a waste of time. Sometimes it seemed that the only thing I learned (outside of that one exception) was that if you wish to write commercially, don’t go to university.
Because many of university lecturers had no experience outside academia. They had no idea of what was commercial, and by commercial here I mean business writing as well as fiction.
The one exception was the professor who taught screenwriting. He had been a screenwriter for 30 years before he took up teaching, and it showed in what he taught and how he taught it.
I learned more about screenwriting from him in one semester than I did in the rest of the course.
Sadly, he died in my first year (vale Peter, you were fantastic). The new screenwriting professor had spent his life in academia, and it showed.
The individual professors I had were lovely people, but they really needed some practical experience if the real world about what they were teaching.
My experience was not unique, as the Rejecter’s blog shows, but others have done such courses and got real value out of them.
Interestingly enough, the university I originally contacted to do my MA recommended I try elsewhere, as they didn’t have anyone on the faculty who wrote in the genre I like to work in.
So what makes a good writing course?