Writing 'n' Stuff

OU Writing Course – progress report!

Hello fellow blogpeeps and writerpeeps!

As promised, by myself to myself, (not sure that anyone else is listening!) here is my progress report. It covers weeks 3 and 4, as I didn’t bother posting about it last week. I wasn’t at all sure that it’s really that interesting to people out there in Internet Land, but if one of YOU is thinking of doing an online course, it may be of use to you! So here goes…

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WEEK 3: WRITING IS EDITING

bord

This week was all about the thing I am most scared by,  and the most inept at; e-e-e-editing! We learnt how many established authors go about editing their own work. Apparently they hate it as much as I think I do! We were given a long, wordy, paragraph from a story, and told to edit it down into two sentences. An almost impossible task for an over-egger such as myself! I may not quote the original paragraph here, obviously for copyright reasons, but here is my reduction:

The heavy black and blue winter sky groaned awfully with rain clouds that were about to fall crashing heavily down upon the street. A street where so many people scampered and strolled about the place, oblivious to what was about to happen. Hilary smiled. Concealed inside her voluminous coat she carried a loaded, snub-nosed gun, and she stood waiting, looking towards the tempestuous thundery heavens.

As you can see – I only managed to get it down to four sentences. FAIL!!!  I’m not too worried though… it’s a learning curve after all, and I’m curving for my life here!

Next we had to write an original short story, from 200 – 350 words, submit it; and have it reviewed by random members of the course. Also, we had to critique 1 – 3 samples from other students. This was so HARD!  I have never ever attempted this, apart from the odd Amazon book review! It really made you contemplate the structure and quality of writing, and I think (hope!) I managed to give three constructive yet fair reviews. We were also asked to keep the negative comments down to one per review, for which I was thankful!

I gingerly took a look at the reviews for my own work, and was very pleasantly surprised! Amongst the reviewer’s comments were:

‘the portrayal of the characters was very clear and extremely well written’,

This story…  is so good, it’s difficult to find something to correct’,

and ‘Your story set-up is charming…  catchy descriptions…  relatable characters’

To say I was bowled over is a bliddy understatement! It was so very heartening to find that people had enjoyed my work, and had even taken the time to write nice things about it! Of course there were some negatives, which I will use constructively in the future. All in all, it was a successful week! Thank you, Open University! If you want to read my exercise piece I will link it below, (no obs, obvs!) 😉

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OU Assignment 3

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WEEK 4: BUILDING YOUR STORY

blocks

This is now the half way point. Woo Hoo!!  Today we learnt how to build a story, using the notes from our journals. Wait! What? We were supposed to be keeping a journal? Lol. Only jesting – this has been drummed into us from week 1. We are required to keep a journal/writing notebook, and use it to store notes, observations, sudden flashes of inspiration, (Hedgehog score = 0) or snippets from the radio/media that interests us. I must admit that I am completely rubbish at keeping a diary, and did not prove myself wrong with this task! Managed to get a few random thoughts down (bar the shopping list!) throughout the weekend, but really?  To quote from a wonderful viral video last year: Ain’t nobody got time for dat!!!  Shhhh, don’t tell my tutor! 😉

Anyway, this week we were shown how to research effectively. We listened to podcasts from three different authors, explaining how, and why they research. One of them warned of the dangers of over-researching, because it could be a shifty little side step, and used more as a procrastinating tool. I was very glad to hear this, because I’d rather write, write, write…  and then fill in the ‘fact gaps’ later! Hip Hip Hurrah for Author C!

Lastly, we were asked to plan a story, and find three areas where research could be used. I decided to plot a historical piece, set in the 1920’s, and research the setting, fashions and customs of the day. It kept me busy for a good few hours. Blessed, happy, uninterrupted hours!

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Oh Google, how I love Thee; let me google the ways!

A. Hedgehog, 2015.

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Next we were asked to keep all the research and plotline handy, and save it on a Word document. We MAY be asked to use it at a later date! Oooh, this is exciting. A future license to write! I almost feel like 007; instead of the gun holster, a pencil case! Instead of the Martini, the…  Oh go on!  I’ll have the Martini then!! 😀

Week 4 was all over before I knew it. (Must have been the Martini.) 🙂

Thanks for checking in, to read my progress report. Hope I haven’t bored you into an early nap!

Roll on the next 4 weeks!

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Writerly regards,

The Hedgehog x

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14 thoughts on “OU Writing Course – progress report!

  1. I don’t mind editing so much. I have served as an editor before and I always thought I wanted to edit full-time. I have been doing some editing in the process of writing this WIP. It’s not as fun as writing, to be sure and it can be quite a process to fine tune and fine tune. I have a loooooong way to go once I finish rewriting my current novel. Lots of chopping or sorting it into more than one project or what I’m not sure yet. But no worries. We’re young, right! I’m having lots of fun working on my writing right now and not worrying about the editing so much at the moment. How great that you’re enrolled in this course. Enjoy, my friend! Waving across the ocean to you! You are not alone at all. I hope you’re having fun.

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  2. I’m following your progress too and find it interesting. We can always learn more. I spent a few years on FanStory. I just plunged in and posted a couple of poems, then more, then short stories, then a novel. Feedback is essential, I think, and it’s thrilling to hear what someone else thinks of your writing. Well done you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Writing courses are great. I started one many years ago but had to give it up as my husband had his accident when I was in the middle of it. I’ve done a few odd courses in other subjects with the OU, but not writing. It’s all grist to the mill, as they say and the feedback is always good. And they do go so fast with the help of a Martini or two! 🙂 I hope you really enjoy the rest of it and get a lot out of it, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. First, I am listening 🙂
    Second, you are inspiring me to try this whole writing course thing. I think I need it. I also don’t journal well, in spite of my counselor’s reminders.
    Third, I’m so glad you are getting the feedback you deserve for your lovely writing! Keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh thank God! There IS somebody out there! Lol.
      Bless you, my dear LD ( are you incognito? So many people are; and I forget which/who/what???) See? It gets me all confusable!

      Anyway, THANK YOU! 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

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