I went to a creative writing course recently, held in Denman College. Denman is in the village of Marcham in Oxfordshire and belongs to the Women’s Institute. Being the WI, of course there are lots of cooking, craft and flower arranging courses. But they also run a lot of “lifestyle” courses, and writing is part of that category. The course I went there for was “characters come first”, run by Chrissie Hall.
I’ve taken a course run by Chrissie before and she is wonderful! She’s an enthusiastic, helpful and supportive cheerleader for would-be writers. I took my fledgling idea for “Something Rich and Strange” and came away with a plot outline, a cast of characters and a definite idea of what I want to do. It is not the same story as the one I originally thought of, when I was going to “do” Nanowrimo a while back. (The one for which I made the banner below.) But it’s a far better story and I am raring to get on with it!
So far I have worked out the whole thing, to 12 and a half A4 pages. I’m now working on creating the characters and more closely plotting the chapters. The photo above is one from my collection, of a family taken in WWI. They are my inspiration, along with Chrissie’s invaluable support. This time I may just make it to the end. Wish me luck!
P.S. Oh yes, Cantre’r Gwaelod is included in the story.
I was looking at the Nanowrimo site. Apparently I joined on October 11 2010. What an innocent time that was. I was just 20 days away from starting Nano and the creative writing module I was doing for my degree, with the Open University. Why innocent? Because my Mother was just 20 days away from dying of lymphoma.
That was hell. Mum newly dead and I had to go on with the module. I began the novel I wanted to write “Stone Field”, but it had changed into a story about motherhood. I was filled with an unfocused rage and could barely see beyond the edge of the paper.
This year I’m 18 days away from Nano with another novel that has motherhood at its centre. No one else that I love had better die this time. I don’t think I could survive it this time.
Yes, once more into the breach dear friends. Here we go again! It’s coming up to mid october so it’s time to sharpen up the typewriter and degunge the Chromebook. Nanowrimo will be starting soon and I’ve decided to give it another go. I actually missed the silliness last year, but I was really far too busy on the last module of my degree. Because it was the last module I felt I had to give it a bit more time and attention. But now I’ve finished, the certificate arrived today and I am a real, live, BA Open (hons) with a 2:1. Woo hoo!
I still have not worked on or knocked into shape, the novel I was originally writing the last time I “did” Nanowrimo. To be honest, though I still want to finish it, I am getting sick and tired of it. So, I have a new plot, a new title and one character. I have come up with the ending and basic idea. Want to know what it’s called?
Something Rich and Strange
I’ve accepted that I am somewhat obsessed with the sea, (hence, y’know, the title of this blog) this will also be along the lines of the sea, motherhood, Welsh legends and general strangeness.
Business as usual.
I’m researching the Camp Fire Girls for a book I’ve decided to write. Yes, a novel. Shelving the Novel for a while and writing a novel instead. (Note the capital and small letters.) It’s to be called “Lone Guide Nesta” and is a school story set in the 1920’s. Nesta goes to a small boarding school, aged 16, after the death of her last parent. To her horror, the school is based along Kibbo Kift ideals as the two elderly headmistresses have a son/nephew in that organisation. She thinks it’s something of a “crank” school, especially as there are no Guides at the school, only the Camp Fire.
Nesta is a keen Guide and she decided to become a Lone Guide. Encounters with her classmates make her realise that the two are not in competition. However, she decides not to join the Camp Fire,though she is invited to attend meetings and the monthly camp fire.
So, I’ve been doing research and getting tangled up in side issues. It’s all too easy to go down one path and then be led along another. I ended up looking at the websites of girls’ groups that have recently sprung up in the US, as alternatives to the Girl Scouts. It’s all very fascinating, but has nothing to do with 1920’s Britain. I can see a National Library reader’s ticket in my future!
I have no idea why I feel so angry at the idea of having to write a poem. So I am not surprised that the tutor and the rest of the class were taken aback at how passionate I was about not writing poetry. I can’t understand it myself, but it does make me feel very angry. I love reading poetry, but I am not a poet and I know. It’s fashionable to tell people to “think outside the box” (horrible phrase) and that’s all very well. But I am all for people also knowing and understanding their limitations. Poetry is my limitation.
I am also angry about a creative writing tutor telling his or her students to write a poem. Just like that! With no discussion of what a poem is, what makes a poem and the forms of poetry. There are rules for poetry. Oh yes, there are rules for short story and novel writing too, but poetry is different. We all know what a story is and it’s basic form. We learn that as children, listening to bedtime stories and being read to at school. But poetry has special rules about rhythm, rhyme and language. If someone feels that poetry is their kind of thing, then good for them. But it is not mine. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading poetry, but not writing it.
I had to write a short story based on a piece of freewriting, for the creativity class tomorrow. But I hate, loathe and detest freewriting. To begin with, I can’t handwrite quickly for more than a few minutes at a time. And certainly not long enough to write anything that could be used later. So I cheated, and didn’t do the freewrite!
I suppose what I did was freewrite in my head. I find that if my hands are busy with the washing up, then my mind is free to wander about all over the place. I often come up with characters, plots etc. while I’m scrubbing the pots. And this time, I came up with a zombie story. The freewrite prompt was “After the door shut” and it just all came tumbling out!
The story is called “The Ones You Leave Behind” and I decided to give myself the target limit of 1,500 words. Any more and it would not work, any less and ditto. 1,500 was just enough. I wrote some of it last night and then finished it just now. And I’m quite pleased with it. I wonder how they’ll take it in class tomorrow. I’ve already got a bit of a reputation for being the one who likes to take the morbid and creepy side.
Only two more weeks left of class after tomorrow. I’ll miss them.
The obligatory first post. So, hello world and welcome to my new writing blog. I decided that I wanted to blog about writing, about writers and anything to do with writing. So here it is.
I am currently working towards getting a Certificate of Education in creative writing at Aberystwyth university. I have completed the module on creative writing with the Open University The plan, when I’ve finished the BA I’m doing with the OU, is to go in for an MA in creative writing with Aberystwyth university. So it will be all creative writing all the time!
Of course, I am writing this as a nice piece of procrastination. I have a short story due on monday for the class I am taking on creativity. But more of that later, I’ll probably discuss it when I’ve finished it. As part of the class work, I had to keep a journal about my progress (or, ha, yes…) in writing. This will be a digital version of that journal. I’ll probably put in some entries from the paper journal and go on with it here. Anyway, that’s the plan! Comments very welcome!