I routinely ask my students for testimonials after a course ends and indeed I have many which will be transferred to a dedicated Testimonials page on this website soon. However I have just received this long testimonial from a student who was on the most recent Short Story course and just had to share it!
Wishing you all the best and thank you for reading the account. I hope you may wish to join one of my writing courses yourself, there are still places if you want to join the upcoming Creative Writing course starting 30th April! You can find all course details at any time by looking under the Live Events tab on this website. Or see this link: http://www.freewriterscentre.org/freewriterscentre/live-events/
Testimonial: Short Story Course with Linda Cleary
This course was incredibly well structured, facilitated expertly, with tactful and skilful differentiation by task. We were given realistic expectations and achievable goals, and right from the beginning we were given an easy-to-understand map of how we might get there. Boundaries were set out clearly, but within those boundaries Linda was incredibly supportive in the support and guidance she provided. There was no time wasting in the class. Every second counted and we were learning or trying out skills all the time. Yet within that we had fun, were encouraged to speak out and comment, had many a laugh and the opportunity to share our work and our concerns. All the time I felt we were in the hands of a thoroughly experienced practitioner and facilitator whose hand was firmly on the tiller. It was incredible value for money as we were given well selected material, additional links to follow up ideas for ourselves and outside of sessions Linda provided skilful and insightful support, when assignments were sent in.
The group was not particularly diverse in age, gender or ethnicity. There was only one non-white student, no men and I suspect no more than one person under 40. Yet within this was a whole range of ability, confidence and experience as well as personality types and approaches. Some were very new to writing, while others were published authors. Some were shy to contribute, while others could hardly keep their mouths shut! Linda dealt with all this without ever coming across as patronising or bossy! The final goal set (to write a 1000 word story) was challenging enough for experienced writers, but also made less daunting because step by step guidance was given through the course and the homework assignments. It was also made clear the final goal did NOT have to be achieved within the four week time scale, but everyone managed to have enough material for the group to comment on.
The material selected was brilliant! A variety of stories each providing loads of useful learning points. I loved the way that we were given additional links to follow. It extended the course way beyond the four weeks and the four walls of the Morrab library.
Though her support beyond the sessions was based on-line, she was generous in offering postal support to those without access to the Internet or indeed computers.
My only critique of the course is that I think Linda was over-generous with her time and support, and I would worry that by stressing that the final draft had almost no time limit, she could be offering almost limitless support to non-finishers, such as myself. I suppose all I’m trying to say is that I hope she doesn’t burn herself out and can continue to offer such excellence to our community.
I gained a great deal from the course myself, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody serious about improving their writing. Indeed, I already have recommended it to many people.