Keep on Learning

Today,  I am delighted to welcome my guest blogger and friend, the lovely Kath McGurl, owner and author of Womag. Kath is talking about writing classes.

Kath has just written a fabulous little writing book called Ghost Stories and How to Write Them. Do please check it out here.

Ghost Stories and How to Write Them

Keeping on Learning

I’ve been attending Della’s evening writing classes for about six years now. You might think there is nothing new to learn about writing after so much time, but that’s not true. We may sometimes cover topics I’ve done before, but we will cover them in a different way and every time I get something new from it. The classes are always inspiring and I come away buzzing with ideas.

My book, Ghost Stories and How to Write Them, owes a lot to Della’s classes. Two of the stories contained in it were originally written for our class end-of-term competitions which are always great fun. One is Play With Me about a child-ghost in a swimming pool. For this competition we had to write a story with a single setting. The other is Letting Go, for which we had to put our main character out of his or her comfort zone. I came up with the idea of a reclusive ghost, who was forced to share the space he haunted with another ghost.

And a third story in my book began life as a writing-class exercise. In these exercises, Della sets a kitchen timer and gives us six minutes to write. She might set us to write the start of a story or a piece of characterisation or a chunk of dialogue – always something different. My story What’s Up with Benjy?, in which a ghostly dog needs to be laid to rest, began as a paragraph or two scribbled furiously in my notebook for one of these exercises.

So if you’re serious about writing and have the chance to attend writing classes locally, I’d strongly urge you to do so for the continual inspiration you’ll get from them. If there are none locally, consider joining an online class, or going to one-off workshops at the weekends. They’re always worth it!

And Della says…

Thanks so much for all that, Kath, and yes I couldn’t agree more. I teach writing classes now, but I also attend one as a student. I started going twenty six years ago and I have no plans to stop. It’s a great place to get inspired, check out whether my stories work before an editor sees them, and get help with endings of stories, which are the bane of my life.


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3 Responses to Keep on Learning

  1. Thanks for the great post. I attended the same adult ed. writing class in Birmingham for 7 years – and met one of my best friends there. We covered the same topics every year but the people were different and I always got something new from it and, as you say, Kath, came away buzzing with ideas. Now I teach classes myself (new one just started in Moreton-in-Marsh if anyone’s interested…!) but I’d love to be a student in a class too, if only I could find one!

  2. kath says:

    Thanks Della for hosting me.

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