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Writers Bureau
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# 1
Old 14-01-2010, 7:17 PM
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Default Writers Bureau


Does anyone have any experience of the Writers Bureau either good or bad as I am thinking of possibly enrolling to improve my writing skills with the possibility of selling some of my work.
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# 2
Old 14-01-2010, 8:03 PM
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Yes, it's a waste of money - nothing you can't get from creative writing books on Amazon etc. If it's feedback you want, you're better off joining a creative writing group. Lists of publishers are easily found on the internet, also agents etc. The advice about getting published is pretty standard - stick to house style, send material on spec etc.
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# 3
Old 14-01-2010, 8:12 PM
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Location: Scotland
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I use It's free to join and review other work, but if you put any writing on there it's a $2.80 subscription monthly. (Can cancel at any time - no grief)
Don't let the sub put you off. My writing has imporved tremendously since I started writing on there.
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# 4
Old 15-01-2010, 1:16 AM
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Writers Bureau sounds like a bit of a ripp off to me.

You could consider a local college evening course.

Then you get to meet interesting people also
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# 5
Old 15-01-2010, 1:42 AM
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I actually did it many years ago when I had more money than sense. The money back guarantee was in writing, and I'd checked the T's & C's so I basically theorised that if I followed the course as it was laid out, I could at least get the money back at the end of it.

So in a sense, it was a glorified savings account

Anyway, I started the course and did the first assignment. Sent if off and the tutor liked it, gave me a few pointers and told me which assignment to do next.

And that's when I basically had complete writer's block. Had absolutely no idea on how to continue - I really can't remember what the particular assignment was, but I know the tutor did try to help. After about 3 months I just realised that it wasn't going to work so I wrote off the money and sold the books on ebay.

Just noticed someone else doing exactly the same ..

If you've got the money to spare, and you're willing to potentially write it off (pardon the pun), then go for it.

It's zero guarantee of being a successful, published writer but i do think it could be a rewarding course.
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# 6
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Old 15-01-2010, 9:55 AM
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Personally I'd avoid it. I guess it suits some people, but it wasn't for me. The guarantee is that you earn the amount of your fee back by the end of the course, but that means you have to complete the course in order to claim your money back... and personally I found some of the reports did not interest me in the slightest. It covers all kinds of writing, so you have to do assignments that may not be what you want to study. For example there was one where you had to write a radio play. I have no interest in writing plays, but if you want to complete the course you have to do them all. My guess is that the vast majority of people do not complete the course and that's how they make their money. You start off full of enthusiasm and complete the assignments as quickly as possible because you're so keen to do it, and then start to lose hope as the negative reports come in.

Also, I didn't like the tutor - she would make a criticism but there didn't seem much dialogue about it. If you were doing a face to face college course you could have a proper conversation with the tutor about where you are going wrong - and you could question them to give more info, but I wasn't able to get this from my tutor. She would say something negative but didn't seem to offer advice on how to improve it, just what she thought was wrong with it. I don't mind constructive criticism if I'm 'told this isn't working, why don't you try this instead'... but I just got the 'this isn't working' part.

I agree with the earlier poster who said if you want feedback you can get that from a writers' group or a college course. in fact, one of the writing magazines (can't remember if it's Writer's Forum or Writing) do offer a tick box of feedback when you submit short stories to them.

I don't want to sound entirely negative. I'm sure Writers' Bureau would suit some people... and to be fair I did get a book published because of an idea I got through doing one of their assignments - but really they don't tell you anything you can't get cheaper elsewhere.

Thanks to the poster who mentioned selling the books - I'll look into that as I've still got mine sitting here gathering dust!
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# 7
Old 15-01-2010, 1:53 PM
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I've just had my first novella published and found to be the most useful resource to hone my skills. Plenty of tips, people who offer critiques and editing and other peoples examples of writing. Membership to the forum is, of course totally free.
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# 8
Old 16-01-2010, 12:36 PM
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I tried the writers bureau - sent off my first assignment but they were so critical. Also the next assignment was completely unrealistic so felt it was a complete rip off
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# 9
Old 16-01-2010, 2:44 PM
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I personally think you'd be better off with some creative writing books and a local group. If you do want to go the distance learning route though why don't you try the Open University. They are not cheap, but at least they are a very respectable name and you'd presumably get some uni credits too.
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# 10
Old 02-06-2010, 10:29 PM
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My friends mum is using the writers bureau and doing well. I am considering it alongside the oxford open learning writiting course. unsure really
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# 11
Old 03-06-2010, 2:50 AM
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You don't mention what kind of writing that you would like to do, so I would suggest that you start with 'Wannabe a Writer?' by Jane Wenham-Jones as it covers most of the writing style and is an excellent 'kick start' book. If you enjoy fiction then do join your local group, it can be invaluable. I'd also recommend that you purchase the most up to date copy of 'The Artist and Writer's Handbook', and a copy of McNae's for Journalists. Even if you don't think that you will be even close to a journalist, it's worth knowing the law, because even a passing comment about a real person in a short story needs to abide by the law, or you could be sued.

I earn a reasonable income for the hours that I do as a freelance writer, it's not mega-money but it's relatively easy for me, and I enjoy it so vastly preferable to working in a shop or bar. It's not easy on the whole, there's no easy way to go about it, and you won't get the help where you'll feel you need it. Those that are already successful won't have the time to critique your work and they will not share their contacts. That's not being rude, but contacts are money, and no one sane would give up information that they have worked hard to get. You have to be prepared to work very hard at nurturing these contacts and making sure that you can produce top quality work in a very short time frame, or you won't get repeat work and you may not be paid for the work that you have done if it's not up to standard. And people talk so if you try to run before you walk you may not be even heard again.

If you have the talent, drive, thick skin and sheer bloody-mindedness to do this then good luck. If not, then keep it as a hobby and don't have the expectation of making easy money, and just enjoy writing and hopefully one day it'll just click into place and you could make a bit of money from it. Good luck!
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# 12
Old 03-06-2010, 8:44 AM
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I'd steer clear! I thought it would be a great idea, thought the money back thing would be great but it ended up being so impossible to complete that I gave up. I tried to pick it up again recently, I wrote an article, sent it off and the tutor was amazingly critical, so much so that it made me cry as it was a very personal article that I had written. I opted then never to write again for them as it was just so rude.

I still have all the books taking up space and I keep thinking about just flogging them on ebay. I did sign up about 8 years ago so maybe then it was the only viable option but now there are so many good sites where you don't have to pay I'd advise you check out some of them instead.
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# 13
Old 08-06-2010, 9:33 PM
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Most local adult learning places offer creative writing courses so it may be worth looking in to that before signing up to WB. Writing is a personal thing though, so what I'd really say is you need to think about the best environment for you to work, learn and write in!
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