'Creative Writing' course experiences? - just got a bad mark

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Sarafina
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Since I was a kid, I've wanted to write - I love writing, and I've been told I'm good at it. It's the one thing I came to university to do, and to learn more about, and I actually quite dislike standard English Literature and analysing since I came to uni. I'm now in my second year, studying English Literature and Japanese (I took a creative writing course in my first year and got a borderline first on it). I honestly think I'm quite good at it, however subjective a subject it is, and in seminar I've rarely been criticised.

I was completely shocked this morning to get a very bad mark on my second year Creative Writing course. I had to write a short story and a poem, and I knew I wouldn't do as well on the short story and predicted myself a 60-65 for it, and more for the poem. (don't know if all degrees are the same, but 50 is the 3/2:2 boundary, 60 is the 2.2/2.1 boundary, 70 is the 2.1/1st boundary) I received a mark of 71 for my research project, but a 51 on my creative writing exam (a 61 overall). What's more, I got 50 for my story and a 52 on my poem - a mark I am really shocked and saddened to receive, as I thought my poem was good and have had no indication so far by my tutors that I'd receive less than 65. I'm not sure if I was marked badly on the poem because I was marked badly on the short story, or if I'm actually just a terrible writer.
(I have been averaging a 68/70 on every essay and assignment so far, and my lowest mark ever has been a 64)

What I guess I'm asking here is what experience have you English people had with creative writing courses? Do you find that you get great marks all the time, or that sometimes it completely knocks you for six?

I was going to do a creative writing course and dissertation in my third year, but now I have absolutely no desire to do this and have to do some serious rethinking on what modules I'm actually going to take now. Stupid, but I'd rather get a 1st doing topics I absolutely hate than a borderline 2:2/3rd on creative writing.

(Also it's my birthday, which makes all this much more depressing! Thankfully I'm not the only one to get bad marks on the exam - but no one got as bad as I did )

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm conceited. I just feel like this mark is out of the blue, and so I wanted to know whether anyone else had felt this way in a creative writing course.
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FilthyYouth
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You're studying English Literature with Japanese but you're also doing creative writing? I'm very confused!

Anyway, I'm studying English Literature and Creative Writing and in my final year. I'd be interested to read the poetry/short story if you were willing to show it?
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catoswyn
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(Original post by Sarafina)
Since I was a kid, I've wanted to write - I love writing, and I've been told I'm good at it. It's the one thing I came to university to do, and to learn more about, and I actually quite dislike standard English Literature and analysing since I came to uni. I'm now in my second year, studying English Literature and Japanese (I took a creative writing course in my first year and got a borderline first on it). I honestly think I'm quite good at it, however subjective a subject it is, and in seminar I've rarely been criticised.

I was completely shocked this morning to get a very bad mark on my second year Creative Writing course. I had to write a short story and a poem, and I knew I wouldn't do as well on the short story and predicted myself a 60-65 for it, and more for the poem. (don't know if all degrees are the same, but 50 is the 3/2:2 boundary, 60 is the 2.2/2.1 boundary, 70 is the 2.1/1st boundary) I received a mark of 71 for my research project, but a 51 on my creative writing exam (a 61 overall). What's more, I got 50 for my story and a 52 on my poem - a mark I am really shocked and saddened to receive, as I thought my poem was good and have had no indication so far by my tutors that I'd receive less than 65. I'm not sure if I was marked badly on the poem because I was marked badly on the short story, or if I'm actually just a terrible writer.
(I have been averaging a 68/70 on every essay and assignment so far, and my lowest mark ever has been a 64)

What I guess I'm asking here is what experience have you English people had with creative writing courses? Do you find that you get great marks all the time, or that sometimes it completely knocks you for six?

I was going to do a creative writing course and dissertation in my third year, but now I have absolutely no desire to do this and have to do some serious rethinking on what modules I'm actually going to take now. Stupid, but I'd rather get a 1st doing topics I absolutely hate than a borderline 2:2/3rd on creative writing.

(Also it's my birthday, which makes all this much more depressing! Thankfully I'm not the only one to get bad marks on the exam - but no one got as bad as I did )

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm conceited. I just feel like this mark is out of the blue, and so I wanted to know whether anyone else had felt this way in a creative writing course.
It must be a shock coming out the blue like this. Maybe the mark is not due to the quality of your writing as such but because it didn't fulfil some criteria of the task? Is that possible? Sounds as if the examiner was tough on everyone though..... he could just be very set about writing and what it should be like.

The number one thing I would say is that it is all very subjective. Just wait for the publisher's letters sending back manuscripts... in precis they can range from: 'sorry to tell you but we only publish good writers....' to 'why are you bothering.' Of course that's if they reply at all. And yet publishers have famously turned down in this manner a whole variety of famous books. Look at Watership Down which had to be published by a tiny non-fiction house in the end... or Emily Dickinson who locked her poems away for a lifetime because of unfavourable feedback from someone.

So:

a). Go and find out what they didn't like about it and why it got a low mark. Use the feedback reflectively. No use being too precious about it. You're still learning your craft. If it is due to not meeting some specific criteria try to work out why you missed this... did they tell you clearly?

b). On the other hand, don't let ANYTHING they say discourage you.

c. If the person giving out the marks is likely to be the one marking you next year you'll find yourself beginning to write to please them or risk a lower grade. Either case would be worrying. Think about the feedback and decide whether to drop this unit next year or not. Only because you want to nail a high degree classification. Don't stop actually writing.

You're welcome to PM the work. I too would be interested to see it.

Anyway, good luck with your writing, maybe its just one of those blips!

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Ra Ra Ra
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Because someone didn't like your work? Surely this is all part of being a writer? Art's subjective, after all: for example, I don't think Harry Potter's that well written, but I can probably find hundreds of people who think otherwise. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what others think, it's about writing for yourself, and no one else. A quote from Mr. Steinbeck:

"Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the *******."
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WhiskeyPrincess
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Art is very subjective. It might just be the case that they didn't enjoy it, rather than it being bad. Personally, it might not have been to their taste. I'm no expert but if you messaged me I'd be happy to look at a piece of your writing.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by WhiskeyPrincess)
Art is very subjective. It might just be the case that they didn't enjoy it, rather than it being bad. Personally, it might not have been to their taste. I'm no expert but if you messaged me I'd be happy to look at a piece of your writing.
I doubt they they will be bothered given that the thread is more than four years old...
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WhiskeyPrincess
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
I doubt they they will be bothered given that the thread is more than four years old...
Haha why are you here then
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by WhiskeyPrincess)
Haha why are you here then
Because your post caused the thread title to appear in 'Latest Discussions' on the right hand side.
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