As the next of our children’s writing courses closes for applications shortly, we thought you’d be interested in hearing from one of the students who’s just completed the course. Sophie Joelle studied with tutor Catherine Johnson and 14 other writers for children and Young Adults at the end of last year, and was part of a particularly stellar student group (despite only finishing in December, four of her coursemates have now found agents and are preparing to submit their novels to publishers). Here, in a piece we’ve borrowed from Sophie’s own blog, she tells us about her time with Curtis Brown Creative.
In September last year, I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of fifteen successful applicants to take part in a Writing YA and Children’s Fiction course with Curtis Brown Creative. The wonderful Catherine Johnson was the tutor for the course so, as you can imagine, I was so excited to take part.
Each week I had to give feedback on three pieces of work (which was a LOT of reading). I was expecting to find this a much harder process than I did. The thing is, the work submitted is wonderful. It’s seriously amazing. And as each of my fellow CBC writers was also writing Young Adult or Children’s Fiction, the style of writing was right up my street. It’s been a new and exciting experience to read and feed back on different styles and genres during my MA course, but to work closely on other YA pieces was a real treat.
I learnt such a lot from Catherine Johnson, too. As part of the course we had the chance to have two one-to-one Skype calls with her, and they were so invaluable. The criticism was spot on, and my work in progress has improved such a lot since chatting with her and the other writers in the group. I think writing is often such a singular process, you forget how important another pair of eyes are. Let alone 15.
The ‘all online’ style of the course has its benefits, but it also has some potential downsides. The main one being that it was easy to feel stranded in the online world. However, I was fortunate enough to be grouped with some of the best, most supportive writers I’ve ever met. So for us the online world provided us with a platform to communicate and support each other virtually. Rather than force us to drift away, we had to work extra hard to take part and contribute to the discussions we were all part of online. We’ve also continued to talk and share our writing news way after the course has finished and now almost a third of the group have been signed with agents – what a talented bunch.
So for those dedicated to working hard and delicately honing their craft with the guidance and support of lovely writers, I’d wholeheartedly recommend applying for a Curtis Brown Creative course.
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our three- and six-month novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.