We’re now into week two of the course and so reems of writing should be streaming from my fingers and into novel form.
Whilst this is not quite the case I am getting on well with the activities and have even *wait for it* posted work in my tutor group forum!
So far only one person has given me any feedback so it hasn’t been a roaring success. It seems that people are fine with introducing themselves on the first day but things have slackened off a bit in terms of posting and discussing work.
The feedback I received was good and it was great to have a fresh pair of eyes on the work (a poem, I know, I’m full of surprises today!)
I didn’t agree with some of the points that were made but it’s always useful to know if people are missing the point because they probably wouldn’t be alone.
I think the course material suggests waiting until you have received all your feedback before responding and summarising but it seems unlikely I will get anymore now it has been up for almost a week. Maybe the weekend will encourage more people to drop in.
In general I have been far too busy to write as much as I would like so I have only completed the activities and nothing else but on the plus side, the wedding plans are coming on fantastically!
Most people on this course have now been told who their tutor will be when we start in just over a week (ahhh!)
In an interesting twist of fate, mine is a lecturer from the University of Sussex, the very institution I dropped out of after a term. It’s an exciting coincidence as I’ve always wondered whether I would have carried on had I been studying English Lit rather than Law and this may well partially answer that question!
It’s rather nice to have my knowledge that I am in no way missing out by choosing the OU confirmed by getting the same tutor I might well have had if I’d stuck with traditional university.
He will also be my first male tutor which is not particularly relevant but could mean and very different perspective on my writing which can only be good for me.
I’ve just been watching this video of him speaking about one of his plays - not what you might expect a lecturer to look like buthopefully he’ll bring a brand new perspective.
What’s new with you?
My course books arrived for A363 today which means it’s term time again and that’s time to restart the blog! I’ll be picking this up and continuing to let you know how I’m finding it studying alongside a full time job.
This is my second creative writing course and writing drama is on the agenda - scary stuff. Now that the mailing has arrived I can start to prepare for the start of the course and eliminate that fear.
Since I was last here a lot has changed so let me just catch you up with what you’e missed!
Apologies for bombarding you with lots of big news but I’m sure all of these things will have an impact on my studies this year in one way or another!
I handed in the third TMA of the creative writing course about one week ago now and just wanted to reflect on it before I got the result back because that will have an impact on my feelings about poetry one way or another.
I loved the poetry section of this course. The textbook is pretty much useless at teaching anything but the titles of the chapters give clues as to what you should be thinking about and my tutor wrote a fab page of advice on the forums and I felt that that was all I really needed.
Unlike with the short stories I slogged out for TMAs one and two, the poetry just flowed out of me. Not terribly helpful when I came to write my commentary but much less stressful during the actual creative process.
Now I am hoping beyond hope that this fluidity and ease that I felt will be rewarded with a great mark but if it isn’t I will just have to try and console myself with the fact that I have produced something I am actually proud of.
I’m not sure what kind of mark to expect, with an 85 followed by a 75 this one could be anywhere, but another distinction would be nice.
… And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
I hate waiting.
I think that AA100 has left me feeling that it’s completely normal to receive every assignment back within a week of the submission deadline. This is not the case. Tutors are supposed to return 80% of scripts within two weeks and have returned everything within three. This doesn’t sound like a long time, but when you are trying to get on with other things, it can really feel like it!
It is particularly frustrating if you find yourself in a position where you are getting on with the next TMA without any feedback from the last one. With most assignments being placed around four weeks apart, it’s not too surprising that you begin working on the next quite soon after you submit the last.
A215 is fine for this. It’s creative writing and we are using different forms from one assignment to the next, so the comments aren’t always applicable immediately. My tutor is also pretty good about getting the marking done, generally more than a week, but never near two.
A230 on the other hand is becoming quite a struggle. Both TMA 1 and 2 were returned after the two week window that we have come to expect assignments back in. We are now approaching that time again for TMA3 and it is getting quite frustrating.
I understand that only 80% need to be returned in two weeks, but I never submit right up to the deadline, it’s always at least the day before. If we have to stick to the deadlines, why can’t some of the tutors?
Obviously not all tutors are the same. I read great reports on Facebook about how good other tutors are. Even the ones that return scripts late send helpful messages explaining when their students can expect their marks.
My tutor sends nothing. I think it’s this not knowing that’s the worst part.
I am just working on TMA3 for A230 - Reading and studying literature. It’s a compare and contrast including Wordsworth…hence the daffodils.
The course is going pretty well so far. I was a bit nervous about it being the first presentation, that means we’re guinea pigs for the whole thing. It’s up to us to find whoopsies in the textbooks and say if something’s not working.
There is a lot of moaning on the Facebook forum about the course. The main gripe is that there is too much reading but I think that’s unfair - who was expecting to get an English Literature degree only dipping in to texts they fancied? It is a lot, about a novel a week, but I don’t think that’s more than you would be expected to get through at a brick uni.
Except of course that we are not at a brick uni and maybe if we had time to read a novel a week that’s where we would have gone. Alongside another 60 credit module, it’s quite hard going. At least my other one is creative writing (=almost zero reading)
The first assignment was a close textual analysis of a passage from The Duchess of Malfi. I got 74 which was disappointing but this course has been hard from day one so I tried not to beat myself up too much.
Next was a compare and contrast on two of the Atlantic slavery texts which I felt went much better. My tutor disagreed and gave me 75. At least I went in the right direction.
Now I am comparing De Quincey and Wordsworth. Or should I say, that’s what I should be doing. I was pretty behind in my reading for both courses so have really knuckled down this week and completely caught up but I haven’t managed to start this assignment and it’s due on Thursday.
I have printed it out though so that’s a start.
I meant for this to be a video update but apparently I no longer possess the technology for that, apologies!
It has been a whopping three months since I last posted and I’m sure it will come as no surprise that that coincides with the start of these two modules! Turns out two level twos is a lot more work than one level one…who knew?!
I will not pretend that I spend all my time studying and therefore have no time to blog but sometimes when you have spent your whole day writing you just can’t bear to write a single word more.
There is lots to update you on but I won’t rush it all out today. The biggest news that you have missed is my AA100 result…Eek!
I achieved a score of 85 in my EMA (yay, distinction!) but I only had 80 as an average across all the TMAs from the course so thought that I was on for a pass. Au contraire! It just so happens that the exam board reviews every grade and if you have been pretty close and consistent throughout, they can up your TMA grade to match your EMA one…and they did!
I am so thrilled to have a distinction on my very first module. I do not have terribly high hopes for many more but I have at least proved to myself that I can do it.
Yes, I might be nuts for taking on two at once, but I have done four TMAs with no extensions so far and that is reason enough to be proud of myself at the moment!
I will be back with more news about these two courses. Perhaps this should be my New Year’s resolution?
I have been studying creative writing for about two weeks, but what does that even mean?
I hoped it meant that a book would pop out of my head fully formed just because I was giving it attention. Sadly not.
Everyone has a book in them, that’s what they say, but I think mine might be a book of poems. I love to write but I am not the kind of person who can sustain a piece of writing much longer than a page.
If the only thing that comes from this course is that I write a five page short story, that will be enough for me.
So far in the first week we have learned about generating ideas from single words and letting the ideas flow by switching off our brains and juts writing.
This is easier said than done.
My brain will not just let the words out, I have an editor that never sleeps, right behind my eyes. I have been practicing this though and lately my mind is making some more abstract leaps, so maybe I am getting somewhere.
This is called freewriting. The other technique we have been using is called clustering, which is basically a spider diagram.
As with freewriting the idea is just to extend the train of thought out from a central word, making whatever connections come naturally.
I am finding, somewhat worryingly, that my mind immediately takes the most sinister route. I am trying not to read too much into this as lots of people on the forums have commented on this too, perhaps the act of sitting down to write brings out the drama in us all!
The idea of both of these is to generate interesting ideas that we want to develop into more substantial pieces of writing, even if they are just words or phrases that stick out from a whole heap of nonsense at the moment.
Here’s hoping one of these abstract exercises leads to a short story some day.
And they’re off…two of them!
That’s right, A215 and A230 have officially begun, the forums are open and full of annoying people who have read all the books and are already starting the first TMA.
Deep breath needed already…
So I had good intentions for lots of preparation but when it came down to it, there just wasn’t time. I am exceedingly pleased to have handed in the EMA for AA100 at 1927 words (of a possible 2000) and it’s not the best thing I have ever written, but I did it, and it’s time to move on!
Week one of reading and studying literature is just an introduction week where you go on the forums and watch a ten minute video, so far I feel positively ahead of myself because I have also opened a notebook!
Meanwhile in Creative Writing…I have filled several pages of my open notebook! I know, me, writing notes, it’s a miracle. Though, to be honest, it was unlikely I was going to get far in a writing course without making any notes.
Still, this is the time to celebrate the baby steps. These two massive courses are staring me down and it’s incredibly intimidating so I am congratulating myself wherever I can.
I have yet to take down the AA100 course map from my wall, with all the weeks reassuringly crossed out. There is no printed map for either of these courses and fittingly I feel a little lost without one, so perhaps for now the useless old one needs to stay, if only as a comfort blanket…