What’s It Like To Take A Long Intensive Writing Course?

My Contemporary Dark Fiction writing and reading class is finally over. Well, almost over. I still have a couple assignments to turn in and I owe critiques on my classmates’ stories. Want to know what it was like? Is a class like this something for you? Read on to find out.

I will have 4 brand new stories after everything is done and turned in. One of which I’ve already submitted to an open market. I also have a ton of new story ideas from all the writing assignments. It will be a while before I get to them since I have to spend some time catching up with writing projects I’d set aside.

I’ve also made some new writer friends that I hope to continue working with. I love my local critique group, but not many of them read, or write, horror. It’s nice to have critique buddies that write and read in the same genre.

Class was a ton of fun, but I’m glad it’s over. It was intense and was the focus of my life since the start of the year. I only had time for one other blog entry during the course. Every week, I had something new to read and turn in. All of this got my mental gears spinning and provided a ton of opportunity to put down new words. The class pushed me to achieve a higher standard in my writing.

New Stories!

I usually only write one or two decent stories within a year, and, during the class, I’d already finished three that I see a lot of potential in.

The first was about a Magic 8-Ball wreaking havoc on a group of teenagers partying in a basement. I still have quite a bit of work to do on this one.

The next is a far future tale about a man skilled in occult origami-tech scripting in a setting infused with magic emanating from a world encompassing space fungus.

The third is the one I’ve already reworded and sent out for submission already. It’s my own twist on a post-apocalyptic zombie story.

I’m still working on the fourth, but it will be the start of my Patreon [https://www.patreon.com/jwdonley] exclusive stories series for my $1+ Patrons. The first installment will come out in June. Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss it!

The Readings and Class

I also read a lot of interesting new-to-me authors in the class. I’d already read all four novels ahead of time, but it was nice reading them again, paying extra attention to story mechanics, trying to figure out how the author put everything together and glean new techniques for our own writing. In the weekly short story readings I found new authors to look out for, like: Stephen Graham Jones, Kyle Minor, Craig Davidson, Brian Evenson, Letitia Trent, and Rebecca Jones-Howe.

My copy of Perdido Street Station after this course.

Every week we got together on a virtual video conference and discussed the writing assignments and readings for that week. There were even a few times when the author of that week’s story was on the call for a fun Q&A.


I highly recommend checking out any of Richard’s courses over at Storyville Studio [https://storyvilleonline.com/]. Yes, there is a referral rewards program, but even if there wasn’t, I’d still highly recommend checking them out. If you’re just getting started in things, look at his Short Story Mechanics. Then, move on to Contemporary Dark Fiction. I hope to take the Advanced Creative Writing Workshop sometime soon.


Joe's Smiling Face

Have you taken any writing courses that you enjoyed? Let me know in the comments down below.

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