555 8th Ave Ste 1402, New York, NY | Directions 1001840.754563 -73.991739
Neighborhoods: Midtown, Garment District
I recently took a Beginning SF Writer's on-line course from GWW. The material, lectures and assignments, were appropriate. However the instructor, Marta Randall, was less than fully involved and totally absent the last four weeks of the ten week course. Assignments and a short story from week 7 on were not reviewed nor were questions answered.
Originally I intended to take a follow-on SF writing course but the instructor is the same so I will not. My advice is to not take any GWW courses. The GWW managers clearly do not keep track of their instructors.
I am a student of the Mystery Writing class level I at Gotham Writing Workshop. It was a great experience! I not only read lectures from my instructor who is an experienced and famous writer (Carole Bugge a.k.a. C.E. Lawrence), but also wrote my first mystery story, which was critiqued by the teacher also. The entire classroom is an enjoyable experience because I was able to not only communicate with other classmates as well as the instructor in the discussions, but also joined as a team to critique each others stories twice. It's an exciting 10-week experience! And we also have an online lounge to chat with each other if we want to go there too. I learned a lot of writing skills and other great stuff too, such as the business of writing also.
Take this Workshop? That depends. – Taking Fiction I and II from Gotham helped me realize what I want out of a writing group and what I don't.
Your mileage will vary depending on instructor and enrolled classmates. You may actually have a good experience. For example, my first instructor was very cordial, funny, and open, and the classmates were the same -- a good fit. Comments were fair and encouraging, but the class content was fairly introductory.
In the second class, Fiction II -- the instructor liked to hear himself talk. His critiques lacked generosity of spirit. Hung up on certain faults of a piece, he forgot to encourage. I don't think he cared about making the writer better, as his comments seemed more limiting rather than inspiring. Of course, some points he made were good. Another problem is that the instructor did not know how to set limits. Student comments took way too long, and he did not set deadlines for submissions. For instance, the night before class via email, I would sometimes get another 20 pages to read on top of 60-80 pages from 2-3 other students.
Some might say we learn from every example of writing what to do and what not to do. But I don't know about you, I am a busy person who works 60+ hours weekly, goes to school, etc. I don't like to take so much time critiquing other people's pieces that I don’t have time to write my own.
Guys, if you want someone who will be invested in your work, join a real writer's group -- one that doesn't have any fees -- or make one yourself. Audition people, set the rules, etc. -- make it your own. Don't pay Gotham for it.
Writing is meant to be read, and best with eyes that understand where you are coming from, with constructive criticism aimed at making your writing better from the standpoint of a person you have built a relationship with. You care that they grow; they care that you grow. Gotham wants cash. From my experience, many people who either attend the workshops don't know how to comment on someone's work -- giving too few, too harsh, or impractical comments. You may have so many comments you don't know what to do with them. Many people I have talked to seem blocked after Gotham workshops.
My question to you is this: Do you want to feel encouraged to improve your work or do you want to feel inhibited and doubtful about your abilities?
Have faith in yourself and find others who are willing to give the same. Gotham is just not that serious about you.
I heart Gotham! – When I arrived in NYC ten years ago I signed up for my first Gotham Writers' Workshop class and haven't stopped taking them. I have taken fiction, nonfiction, business writing, and memoir. I have yet to come across a teacher that was not effective and knowledgeable in and adept at teaching their genre. I have recommended Gotham to anyone and everyone interested in getting feedback on their work or in just becoming a better writer. The Gotham staff is super and devoted to helping others become better writers. I love Gotham!
Gotham Writers' Workshop: High Priced But Legit – I am currently (5/2010) enrolled in an online version of Gotham's Fiction Writing Workshop. While I did research their teaching credentials and was impressed by the many positive reviews posted on the Web, I have to say that overall I am disappointed with my experience.
First, out of sixteen people enrolled in the class, only fifty percent were actively giving responses to posted work. Second, the critique of the teacher amounted to two, perhaps three, short paragraphs (equivalent to about how much I've typed here). Third, their book "Writing Fiction," available at any major bookseller for about fifteen bucks, is much more informational than the "lessons" posted each week.
I hate bashing anyone, but the bottom line is "buyer beware." I know several other workshop groups that do much more for a lot less.
My only answer for people that are happy shelling out over $400 for a substandard workshop is that they just haven't shopped around.
Powerful Motivational Writing classes – I am a first time student, and am just now finishing my last week of my Memoir class online. This class is the most powerful, constructive, and instructive course I've ever taken! I like how I was motivated to write without fear. And the critiquing was a great resource helping me to show more of what I am writing instead of saying what I am writing. I loved every minute of this class! I am looking forward to taking Memoir IIa in the future.
Not Convinced – I've been seeking feedback on Gotham Writing Classes. I've called the school a few times regarding information on teachers and more than once I've been treated rude. I don't want to register for a class without knowing who the teacher is and reading a sample of their writing. I don't want to learn from a person who I don't even like their writing style. Make sense?
If the reviews that I've read here reflect in anyway what these students learned at Gotham, I'm not impressed. A basic review would contain a short description of the class one took, something about the professor and the class participants, maybe something they improved about their own writing as well as something that could be improved. Besides the one negative review (which is believable) did any of the reviews here help anybody get more insight on what Gotham offers? Would you make a decision about a restuarant because somebody said yummy. And we all know that these citysearch reviews are often done from the inside. Now, I'm not saying the classes are bad or these reviews were not written by very happy students but I for one I'm not going to register for a class until I hear some honest, balanced, well written feedback.
A Wonderful Place for Writers – The classes are taught by teaches who have been in the situations of their students. They take the time to listen and mature the skills of the writer. The diversity of the classes make it easy for every writer to find the class that suits them.
you get more than you pay for! – I had nothing but the best experience with Gotham. As a Creative Writing major at a small and strong liberals arts university, I was very wary about the professionalism and feedback I would receive with the Gotham program at first. After taking their advanced poetry class, I was completely blown away. Not only are their teachers extremely talented and knowledgeable writers of their own (Gotham only takes back teachers who got excellent reviews in prior classes), but the individualized feedback I received on my writing style and progression was incredibly informative. Even though the class was online, I felt like the lively discussions and teaching of craft was occurring right in my own living room. I would recommend Gotham over any other craft-based writing school.
Great writing classes! – I've taken several Gotham classes now, and I've found them to be invaluable. Being in the class motivates me to keep writing, and the knowledgeable instructors have given me loads of useful in-depth criticism. Yes the classes are expensive, but how can you expect a 3-hour 10 week class to be cheap? You get what you pay for, and with Gotham you're getting a really great class for your money.
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