Next came, 'Writing Dark Fiction' - great teacher, knowledgeable teacher. in fact, the most helpful teacher I had all summer - I like monster stories, not like Godzilla monsters, more like the Stephen King kind of monsters - not what Dark Fiction is entirely about - not entirely classic horror, but...
Then July brought me to 'Location, Location, Location', about the importance of POV and location description, and the impact it has on your story. I was the only male in the class. I found women are no different than men when there is an unequal amount of gender in the room. As a feminist, I had no problem, as a male, there were trials, but all in all, I had a good teacher and she knew her stuff - however this brings me to what I find the most difficult, the rough and rocky road of relationship and dealing with my reactions to people. My final class was, 'Character Building in Genre Fiction'. Impressive young teacher, graduate of the Writers Workshop (I suspect all are!). I learned more here than any of the other three. I became more involved with my classmates than in the other three. I became more emotional in this class than the other three. I made an enemy. Not my intention of course, but sometimes it just happens, and mostly because of misunderstanding.
There is this thing going on where writers are writing stories, and then self-publishing without the assistance of a editor, beta reader, proof reader, etc. Making remarks like 'The Elements of Style' is unnecessary" or "Hell, I can edit my own work". Then going to Amazon, they try to sell their books. The reviews are what the buyer gives AFTER purchasing the book! Of course, then there can be scathing reviews, warning future readers/buyers, but only after money has been spent by the unwary few- -buyer/reader be damned, buyer/reader beware. Now, I feel a good writer should try to craft their story well and remain forthright in their query for a publisher. Not fast-track into authordom by trying to slip a poorly crafted story through the system in order to make a sell. Smells like snake oil salesman to me!
I suspected one of my classmates of such a thing, especially when he showed up in class (after waiting until the last day to workshop his piece) with a finished book in hand, photo copies of maybe ten pages of the book for us to view, and with a list of questions for us to answer (trying to control outcome). I protested and refused to critique. He felt this implied that I thought his work was crap and even though he egged me on, I refused by simply saying that no work is a piece of crap, because no story is ever finished, just abandoned. Meaning, that there is always room (time) for improvement. Still, he later sent me an email actually bashing my story and telling me how much he didn't like it. I was immediately transported back to grade school.
Now its all behind me. I'm moving on. I have several new friends and some new stories to write. My path is clearer and I am a wiser writer for it.
The best of days to you! Slainte!