A363 Advanced Creative Writing – TMA5 ‘Room Twelve’

This got the lowest mark I’ve ever had (just above a passing grade) so it’s obviously not a great story. Feel free to enjoy or not.

Incidentally, just in case you were wondering what happened to assignments 2 – 4. Assignment 2 was a script adaptation of assignment 1 and I want to work on this a little more and submit it to a short film contest so probably won’t post that for awhile. Assignment 3 was a commentary on someone else’s assignment so bit pointless and assignment 4 is a plan for the final assignment. Assignment 6 is an extract of the final plan.

Considering it’s a creative writing course, you do very little assigned creative writing (2 pieces of fiction, 1 script and one free choice).

Anyway, here is my story ‘Room Twelve’.

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A215 Creative Writing – Assignment 5 ‘Number Thirty’

Going through my A215 folder (looking for inspiration for my fifth A363 advanced creative writing assignment!), I found the story I wrote for my 5th A215 assignment and figured I’d post it for fun.

Number Thirty

They thought it was a misprint when the estate agent emailed them with the details of a large one bedroom property within easy walking distance from a mainline station and a garden. When the agent replied that no, the price was correct they were sceptical. The asking price was almost £30,000 cheaper than anything else they had looked at and their dream of a garden had been abandoned as it simply didn’t exist in their budget.

It’s a repossession.” The estate agent explained as he searched for the right key to open the security door. “Been empty for about two years.”

The metal shutters on the windows let in grimy slimmers of light which caught the floating dust particles. The carpets had been removed leaving stained hardwood floorboards and the peeling paint on the walls completed the neglect.

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A363 Advanced Creative Writing – Activity 1.2 ‘My Problem with Peyote’

As I knew would happen, despite the OU forums being an essential part of this module…mine is deader than the dodo. Frustratingly, there are people posting on the Facebook group talking about how busy their forums are. I’m in the London region for tutorials. Either everyone in the London region is too busy to interact or they’re not interested. I hope it’s because they’re too busy because as a student who can’t make tutorials, it gets very frustrating when you’re the lone voice in the internet wilderness.

Anyway.

I’m going to post some of my activities here.

Activity 1.2 is about genre. We’ve been given an opening paragraph and some titles and asked to continue it in a genre. It’s supposed to be 500 words but I ran out of steam on mine because I couldn’t work out what direction it was really going in. It’s also not very good but heh…

‘My Problem with Peyote’

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When it’s time to admit defeat

I’m in my final year of studying with the Open University.

I chose to finish my degree with AA316 – 19th Century Liteature.

I knew going in that there were books on the list which were not to my taste but I figured that was fine, you don’t have to like every book on a reading list. I should have listened to my doubts because I’ve struggled. Really struggled. I have an essay due on Thursday which asks me to compare & contrast the portrayal of women in Germinal by Emile Zola and Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I got through Germinal, didn’t like it it (it makes me think of stories children tell “this happened, then this happened, then I did this, and he said this but I said this and then this happened and there was an alien and…”) and I’m only eight chapters into Far From the Madding Crowd but already my heart is sinking because it’s another romantic-made-for-TV-movie. In addition to the books we have a book of critical responses to the books and many of them I don’t understand. I just don’t, and I’m not that stupid. The next assignment asks for Portrait of a Lady, Woman in White and Madame Bovary. Only one of those I’ve read before.

The idea of doing an exam on books I’ve barely got through and critics I’ve barely understood is filling me with much more than dread. It’s also filling all my free time. I’ve not read a non-OU required book in so long and whenever I’m not at home reading OU stuff I feel guitly, and I want to enjoy myself more. Today I had some plans to get up early and go swimming but I ended up hiding in bed until I really had to get up and start my day…by reading critical essays of a book I’ve not yet finished in order to write an assignment I don’t understand.

So I’ve listened to myself and decided to that the best thing to do is to withdraw and end my degree with a module I’m going to enjoy….or at least one I’m not going to go stir crazy finishing. Hopefully Advanced Creative Writing as I enjoyed and did quite well in my Creative Writing module. I think this may mean I have to change my degree pathway from just English Literature to English Literature & Creative Writing, which if I’m honest I should have done from the start.

NaNoWrimo: Day Three

Words written…er, none. Not even on my essay (oops).

BUT

I did spend some time sorting out my plot. You might be thinking “WTF didn’t you do that earlier??!” and you’d be right, but doing NaNoWrimo was a very spur of the moment and I hadn’t really thought beyond chapter one originally. I do have an outline and I know what’s happening next but the more I think about what is happening next I realise there are things that need to happen first.

I have a good idea of my main character and one of the secondary characters but I have nothing sorted for the bad guy. At the moment he’s just a name and a vague description, he needs to be more. I think I’m going to spend the next couple of days sorting out my bad guys. I have a feeling NaNoWrimo is going to turn more into “Steph actually starts planning her novel”, but if I get it all planned and plotted out during this month that means I have a good basis to work properly on it. I don’t need to wait until it’s NaNoWrimo again.

Have a screenshot (btw, I bought Scrivener two years ago for my creative writing module – bloody brilliant programme! I used it to write my final essays on my children’s lit & history modules)

storyOh, BTW – won my FitBit. In six months time I hope to be lighter and have half a novel. Perfectly achievable goals!

NaNoWrimo: Day Two – An Epiphany was Had

Words written: 260 on novel / 637 on essay

I don’t know how to start my second chapter but I had an epiphany about the first.

When I was writing it originally it was for my final creative writing assignment so I was writing with a word count and a deadline in mind. Reading it back I feel the events at the end of chapter one are happening to too early in the novel. I don’t need my character to see the that the bad guys are in the area at the very end of chapter one because that means chapter two is all about the heroes putting together their plan to trap the bad guys, which means the story will end by chapter five at the latests. Not what I want.

Chapter One deals with the arrival of the ship on King William island prior to their patrol. I think I need to spend more time on the island. My main character is heading off to a brothel and encounters the pirates in the bar but as I’ve created various types of pleasure automations I’m wondering if my character should meet the pirates after he’s handed over some of his credits. Not that I’m about to write a sex scene, I’m just saying my character should get to have a bit of fun 😉

Also as I’m no longer writing with a word count of 3000, I’ve been going back over chapter one and taking my time in setting the scenes and describing things in more detail. I’m mildly concerned one of my female characters is too cliché but I think that’s because I’ve read far too many essays and criticisms of female characters that I’m allowing those thoughts to enter my mind instead of thinking about how my character works within the world and her role in my novel.

I wonder if I should actually call today ‘NaNoWrimo Day One’ as I didn’t start yesterday.