I finally signed up for the Neil Gaiman class on Masterclass. I’d been debating that for a while, but it’s been a while since I splurged on something new for my writing. And given the massive student-to-teacher ratio, the chance of suffering a panic attack and dying is remarkably low.
So, the first impression that I have of the class is the relatively high production values. (Cue well-known fiction writer walking through the winter woods.) The workbook has a certain artistic quality and polish that feels like a real production. It’s illustrated. With drawings not entirely related to novel-writing.
The classes I usually take are a lot grittier. Straight-up pdf files, written by the author as one-man-band. And they most certainly offer more direct access to the teachers. No artistic frills.
As far as the content… I’ve listened to all 19 videos at this point, and I’ve started on the first assignment. (Which happens to be in lesson 2. Lesson #1 is basically explaining who Neil Gaiman is.)
Let’s be blunt. This class is not intended for the rabid fangirl. If you are a Neil Gaiman fan, and you happen to be a writer, there’s an excellent chance that you’ve already encountered all of the information in this course through his YouTube videos and blogs. What this class does is distill some of the hours and hours of information that’s out there, if you hunt for it into one concise bundle.
For me, the value is in the “homework”. That is, I’m more likely to actually do a writing exercise if someone like Neil Gaiman suggests it than I am, if I find the exact same exercise in a book by somebody I’ve never heard of. (And, quite frankly, if I’ve paid a lot of money to get the exercise, that helps, too.) So, yes. I’m actually getting a separate notebook for the class, and yes, I’m actually doing the exercises. (Even the psycho-babble nonsense ones.)
As for the “community”? Well, I’ve been there for about a month, and I’ve just now been promoted to a “trust level” where I’m allowed to add a website to my profile. (I got a notice.) It seems to be very focused on the assignments. (Hey, what did you get for number 42?) And, it seems that most of the others are not interpreting the assignments in the same way I am.
I’ll be sitting over here with my nifty new Leuchtturm notebook, doing my homework.