creative writing

Creative Writing Degree Prep

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 …

tumblr_n2j440kV9d1sgl0ajo1_500

… and my beginners French module …

tumblr_mvvvavdtZH1sgl0ajo1_500

… 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…

tumblr_msj7ye7efk1sgl0ajo1_500

I say that anything that starts to get my creative juices flowing for whatever reason can only be a good thing!

tumblr_msumvz85X51sgl0ajo1_500

The Voice In An Old Man’s Ear

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!

(more…)

NaNo Approacheth – Well, Sort Of

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 …

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

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.)

(more…)

Writing 101: Character Building

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.)

Continue reading

Writing 101: Brevity

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.

 

I know.

TAC: Plots and Timelines

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.)

  1. Finish plot outlines.
  2. Create combined timelines.
  3. 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.

On paper.

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.

In a creative slump? Take a walk.

I’d certainly agree that this works for me whenever I’m in a particularly tricky situation when I’m writing.

What do you think?

FIGHT BOREDOM, SPREAD HAPPINESS

Walking “Walkers had more thoughts, but they also had a higher density of creative thoughts than sitters,” said one researcher. Above, hikers in the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve near Lancaster. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / April 23, 2014)

Want to get creative? Get up and go for a walk.

People generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit, according to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

“Everyone always says going on a walk gives you new ideas, but nobody had ever proved it before,” said Marily Oppezzo, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University and the lead author of the study.

To test for creativity, Oppezzo asked volunteers (mostly college students) to come up with alternative uses for a common item like a tire or a tweezer. Creative suggestions for a button, for example, might include tiny…

View original post 467 more words