I learned a great deal from writing classes. I don’t sneer at them. In fact, I often give people — when I get a letter from someone and perhaps they have enclosed a few pages of a story, and they obviously have a raw talent but they’re completely untutored — I often tell them to go to the nearest writing class they can find. And what I tell them in the letter — and later I put that, I think, into The Spooky Art — was that it doesn’t matter if the teacher is not extraordinary. After all, if you’re going to take a writing class in some community college, the odds are that the person who is teaching the course may be dedicated, but they are not necessarily the best writing teacher in the state, but nonetheless what is good is you get a wonderful sense of audience. You come to learn that your story is not what you thought it was, that if ten people are reading it you’re likely to find that there will be two or three at each end – you really have a bell-shaped curve. There will be one, two or three people at either end who love it or hate it much more than you thought they would. And it also chops down that terribly unstable vanity that young writers have, you know, where they think, “I’m a great writer,” and at the same time they can’t take a single criticism, and writing courses are good for that; they weather you. It’s a little bit like a kid who wants to play varsity football but never tries out for the team. So you go to that writing class and you get toughened up a little.