It seems like such a long time since I registered for my Open University degree (and it was – January 2014) and so far all I’ve done is an introduction to Humanities module …
… and my beginners French module …
… but this October – finally – I am starting the Creative Writing element of my degree with – and if that wasn’t reason enough to get all excited, I received an email with a link to some “bridging materials”. These consist of a couple of podcasts and three exercises to try out before it all kicks off…
I say that anything that starts to get my creative juices flowing for whatever reason can only be a good thing!
I’ve not done a lot of writing lately. NaNo came and went without so much as a twitch from me in November. Winter has so far left me somewhat dyspeptic when it’s come to writing. But in the back of my head has lain the knowledge that next year my OU course stops focussing on the French element of my degree and shifts to the Creative Writing. And I’ll be expected to produce works in a variety of formats at prescribed times. Terrifying.
So when, rather out of the blue, my friend Jamie decided to throw down the gauntlet (yet again, it has to be said!) and have us a little challenge (possibly too strong a word …) whereby we share a picture that acts as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction (under 1000 words) for us both, it seemed like something that would a) pass the time, b) get some sort of juices flowing, and c) be a bit of fun!
This time next week it’ll be Day Two of this year’s National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or just NaNo) – and I still have a curious ambivalence about it …
Not about the concept of NaNo, nor about the good that comes out of it, but about my journey through it this year. (On the off-chance that you have no clue what the point of NaNo is – participants agree to write a 50,000 word manuscript in the 30 days of November – James Snaith has a nice round up and makes some valid points that are kind of outside of this post.)
Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?
Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.
Thankfully the subject of yesterday’s assignment can be fictional in nature.
I’ve ‘met’ several new people (i.e. bloggers) since taking part in Blogging U this year. However, I don’t feel that I know them well enough to turn them into a character study – and I don’t have that much of a life that I regularly meet new and interesting people. In fact, most of the people I do meet are more likely to be faintly irritating if not down right annoying than interesting or beguiling. (Which may say more about me than about them, but there we are.)
You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.
Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.
The last assignment for the challenge came from my own head (following discussion) and consisted of three parts. (You can read the full assignment details here – and Jamie’s take on this one on his blog.)
- Finish plot outlines.
- Create combined timelines.
- Continue story with 5 pages.
During – or perhaps it was right at the beginning – of this assignment Jamie and I agreed that our stories, already existing in the same universe and featuring a character from the other story, would become part of one whole. Not too much of a stretch. But then … oh, then … that idea combined with the ‘Scene Unseen‘ assignment and something more was born …
My original story was that of the relationship between the two men – but told from the POV of just one of them. The other – the ‘straight’ colleague who finds himself in a relationship with another guy – was only going to be seen in the form of his reactions. You’ll have noticed the past tense in that sentence: was.
Aaaaand that’s all the hint I’m giving you.
Which is quite a big hint, to be fair.
Luckily, I did complete the second part, and the third part made it to four pages. The first part? Not so much. I think I know where the two of them are heading. I have something I want to throw into the mix … which I’m not even talking about … but I need to sit down and scribble it all out.
With a pencil.
Whilst I’m not quite at the slash your wrists and bleed onto the page part quite yet, but this is turning out to be something bigger than either of us imagined …
At least there isn’t a map involved.