THanks for the interesting post @richardb. 🙂 I did laugh at Harry critisising the very services that JW offer! I guess their taught courses are less in depth than an MA, but it’s the same principal. As someone said (@janeshuff?) I love that the SE course attracts a wide range of writing genres/styles so there seemed no gravitation towards some homogenous central style. It’s human nature to adapt our language to fit better with the people around us, so I guess there is that inclination on top of any effect of teaching styles, although from my own perspective, I think we writers are rabid magpies anyway – picking up mannerisms, voices, looks etc from everywhere to use in our stories, so where’s the harm in being influenced by other writers? I do wonder though (from the education/location/financial filters) if MA classes are more homogenous to start with. So an MA group starts out non-random already, making it easy to then point at them and say ‘aha, they all write the same stuff’.
(although I read a lot of ‘book group’ books which are I guess the targets of this label, and yes, there is some commonality of tone but isnt that more to do with the post-hoc genre definition than the authors’ own voices?)
I think @sandra is onto something with the self-consciousness thing – having been taught all this tenchnicque stuff, it must then take a while for that to be fully absorbed into your own voice, rather than sitting on top of it like … i dunno, make-up? Personally, I’d LOVE to do an MA, becuase there just seems so much to learn, and MA grads/grads from the prestigious courses definitely seem to have a higher success rate in getting published. Although I put some of that down to simply the direct contact with industry professionals – it’s who you know etc.