Last Wednesday, I handed in my first piece of coursework to be assessed for my Creative Writing course. Eep! I should hear this week how I got on. I got it in a day ahead of the deadline, so some things have improved. When I was last at University, I was mistress of the ‘completed-at-4am-essay’.
So-o-o…what have I learned from Part 1 of my course? Well, I scribbled down these points in my writer’s notebook:
I quite like ‘clustering’
I struggle to freewrite ‘free’ enough
I like Haiku
Character maps are good
You’ll never get me out of my bed early enough to do ‘morning pages’
A lot of what we’ve been practising in Part 1 of the course are techniques for generating ideas, freeing up your writing, and getting words flowing across the page. For those who don’t know, ‘clustering’ is a bit like mind-mapping; you start with a word or phrase and then write down several ‘branches’ of other words or phrases that are suggested by the original. Now that I’ve got the hang of it, I’ve found it a useful technique for getting over a block. My freewrites tend to come out in proper sentences and grammar, which they’re not supposed to – my brain just thinks like that! Morning pages – you’re meant to get up half an hour earlier than you need to, and just write whatever comes into your head. I can tell you now; this is NEVER going to happen with me. I can’t be dragged out of bed earlier than necessary for ANY reason.
The first assessment consisted of a freewrite, a piece of fiction inspired by the freewrite, and a commentary on how I created the piece.
I also made some notes about my tutor (who I love so far, but let’s see what mark she gives me ;-)):
She likes erotica
She likes VAMPIRE erotica
She doesn’t mind sweary words, or blood, or gore
She’s happy for pieces to be written in Scots
That last point…I don’t write in Scots very often – it’s more likely to turn up in my dialogue rather than throughout a whole piece. But I love the fact that my tutor is happy to accept work written in the Scots language. For those who don’t know what I mean by Scots, here’s an example:
‘Ah’m nae gettin’ oot ma bed early jis’ tae write doon a load o’ wurds ah willnae use onyway’.
Translation: ‘I’m not getting out of my bed early just to write down a lot of words I won’t use anyway’.
(Yes, I’m still grumbling about morning pages…)
As for the rest, as I write erotica (including vampire erotica), and horror, I’m delighted that my tutor won’t mind any of these genres turning up in my coursework. The only thing she advised against was using any extremes of sex, violence, etc in the final assessment, as that is marked by a different tutor, and apparently not all of them are as liberal as she is. Fair warning.
Apart from coursework, what else have I been up to? Well, starting on Tuesday 5th November, my friend in all things spooky, Mari Wells , will be running a weekly series of posts by me, on the Witches of Scotland. Be sure to check out her blog. Don’t worry; I’ll be posting links from here to remind you all!
On the subject of witches, the piece I submitted for my course was a ‘spin-off’ from my story ‘The Summoning‘. Many of you have been kind enough to say you want to hear more about the Lochie coven. Once the piece has been marked, you can read more about what that young minx Evie is up to… 😉