My EMA

In the final exam-based assignment, I decided to go with a piece of fiction. This had a limit of 2500 words. The genre chosen for the EMA was thriller/horror.

During this assignment there were many drafts as it needed to be good in order to pass the module. Then, previous feedback was re-read from the TMA’s and notes were taken. Also, in the past I had mixed tenses, repeated words and had a lack of description and I wanted to get this assignment right.

Therefore, it was important to get everything right. The title of the story was ‘Writer’s Block.’ Many writers will suffer from this time to time so, I wanted to show what it can be like. The character who works from home for an advertising company, is trying to put a campaign together for a horror film. However, when the ideas are not flowing the character starts to have nightmares. After a few days in this situation she receives an advanced copy of the film. This in turn helps her to create ideas and put her presentation together.

Finally, due to this being an exam-based assignment, feedback was not given. However, I did pass the module with a good grade and I am now in my last year.

Due to being back at university, I hope to update my progress once a month.

My Fifth assignment

The prompt I had to chose from didn’t inspire me this time. So, I went with me own story. This had a limit of 2000 words. I decided to use the topic of domestic violence for this story however, it is all fiction.

Although, this is a piece of fiction, the story was based from the perpetrator’s point of view. It shows how he has picked a woman who he believes he can mould. Even though there was description in the piece, there were mistakes which had been overlooked in the editing process.

The story was switching tenses and it made it harder to follow. Also, silly mistakes were made for example, ‘He asks me’ at the end of a speech should have been ‘he asks me.’ The ‘h’ needed to be lower case and not a capital letter. A question mark was put in when an exclamation mark should have been there instead.

In one part of the story, the narrator sounds too naive and this wasn’t obvious until the feedback came in and I re-read the passage again. So, as practice I have been re-writing the story in order to fix the flaws and make myself more aware of the issues. However, halfway through the piece of fiction, it was said the story read well, as it portrays the narrator in a negative light. Although, in the second half of the story I was spelling things out rather than ‘showing’ the reader.

Even though the story was powerful, if I had shown more rather than tell then it would have been easier to read and less generic as it didn’t shed any new light on the characters. As I said before I am re-doing this piece in the hopes it can and will improve.

Finally, I did pass the assignment but if mistakes had not been made then the score would have been higher. Editing seems to be my weakness and I will need to focus on this in order to have improvements on my marks.

Next week I will share the feedback I received which helped shape my finally assignment, EMA…

My Fourth assignment

The prompt I chose for my assignment was ‘a place to call home.’ This story had a limit of 1500 words.  This assignment had to be a piece of life writing. So, I took a memory and expanded it and turned it into a piece of fiction.

Looking at the feedback from the last assignment, it wouldn’t help here as it was in reference to poetry. Therefore, I glanced over the other feedback instead. The story had more description. Although, the it was shifting from first person to second person within the assignment.

In one paragraph, a word was being repeated in quick succession several times ‘big’. This made the scene busy and hard to follow. Therefore, if the editing had been done properly, it would have been spotted. Another word in the place of ‘big’ would have said the same thing but made it easier to follow.

Secondly, in another paragraph, the start had not been indented. The dialogue didn’t have a comma, at the end of the speech. For example, ‘I’ll race you.’ I replied. This should read ‘I’ll race you,’ I replied However, despite this, the feedback said this was an intriguing piece. It was rich in atmosphere and description. Although, a piece of life writing the characters had different names from any real person. The reason for this was that the memory from my life had taken a life of its own. However, this did not sit well with the tutor. This was an area I disagreed with because as a writer, it is up to you what names are used.

The type of story I was trying to achieve in this assignment did not come through in the way I had intended. The word limit for me was too restrictive for the story. In other words, if I had written something different it would have worked.

Finally, I did pass the assignment but this could have gone better. Above all, editing is a vital part of writing and so I will be focusing on this a lot more in future.

Next week assignment five…

Mama

Frozen in time.

You looked so beautiful, so proud,

so in love.

I don’t remember you from then.

I know you from another time.

We shared so much in the little time we had.

If there was a problem, I always came to you.

Now I can’t because you are gone.

Looking at your picture sometimes tears me in two.                                       

As I remember the good times,

the stories you read,

the songs you sang,

and the smiles you gave.

Then I remember you are no longer here.

But remember the love you shared

and that keeps me going.

Still!

I remember your number

and every once in a while, I pick up the phone,

then I remember you can’t answer. 

There is so much to tell you,

so much you have missed.

You are still in my heart and I think of you often,

I remember your birthday,

giving your card and present.

But now you are gone.

I hate not giving you a card and present.

I remember the birthday card I received, after you were gone.

It was like you knew

I needed one last reminder,                                       

to know that you were thinking of me.

That you loved me,

and to let me know that you’d always be there.

When we meet again,

we will laugh and cry,

but until then,

I look at the picture,

and remember the love you gave.

Take care up there

‘til we meet again.      

My third assignment

For this assignment I had to write a poem. I had been dreading this the most. The last attempt at a poem was in school and even back then I couldn’t write one. The prompt I chose for my poem was ‘a picture’. The poem had to be no more than 40 lines. However, if we wanted to do two or three poems this was fine but they had to be a total 40 lines.

When I looked through previous feedback, I was not sure how this would help this assignment. This was my first attempt at a poem as an adult. So, I took a picture of my grandparents’ and let the words flow. To say writing the poem wasn’t emotional, would be a lie. It felt very real and it went through many changes.

Finally, after working on the poem, it only had 28 lines. I kept looking at the picture for inspiration and it soon expanded to 40 lines. It was a continuous poem. However, referring back to the study guide for help, the poem would be easier to read if it was broken into stanzas.   

When the feedback came in, I had mixed feelings. I had used clichés in my opening, ‘frozen in time’. Although the sentiments were good, I could have conveyed them in a better way. However, I had used another cliché ‘Looking at your picture sometimes tears me in two’.

Therefore, it was suggested to make the experiences for the reader more vivid, it could have included names of stories and songs. For instance, I had given the reader visualisation when using the line ‘I pick up the phone’. A few other lines were good as it refers to something concrete within the poem. However, the poem did more ‘telling’ than ‘showing’. If I had gone through the poem a few more times, it would have been better.

Even though I did pass this assignment, I do agree with some of the feedback. I found writing this poem to be hard work and emotional. Although I love poetry, writing a poem is definitely not for me and writing something like this was out of my depth and made me uncomfortable. Finally, it was an interesting experience but an avenue I know is not for me.

Next week assignment four…

My first assignment

The prompt I chose for my assignment was ‘a bunch of keys’. This story had a limit of 750 words. However, during this assignment I found it difficult to incorporate everything in such a short amount of words. My story lacked senses in the initial description. For example, I forgot to include what the key might feel like or how much it would weigh.

In the editing process, I scanned for spelling and punctuation mistakes. However, I overlooked how the dialogue should be presented within the story.

The characters in this story came across as typical victim/villain type people. I should have given them complexity adding more depth.

I remember feeling very confined and under an extreme amount of pressure to write a story to a deadline. In which I made many mistakes. Although, given more time, I would have spotted these errors. Even though, it had a limited word count, I felt I was unable to give my best. Finally, I did pass the assignment. However, if I’d been given more time, I believe I would have achieved a better mark.

Next week assignment two…

My Second assignment

The prompt I chose for my assignment was ‘what do you mean you are leaving?’ This story had a limit of 2200 words. I was excited about this assignment as I could expand on a story because of the word length. In the search for what to write, I went through a few ideas. Finally, I decided to use my personal experience of writing a novel and getting it published.

Looking at the feedback from the last assignment, I was determined to give more description within the story. When I had improved the description and senses, I received compliments such as ‘tangible and realistic’. It was also nice to see my dialogue had improved as I’d cut down on the use of “speech tags.” Such as, said, says or argued.

The setting in the story was good in parts but should include more observational detail, expanding the external world of the story. What I used well in the story was action and sensation. For example, ‘dry mouth; the pacing; the dash to the kitchen’. These are known as a “living moment”.

However, during this assignment I discovered from the feedback, I was shifting from present to past, which would not help the flow of the story. I also used clichés like ‘emotionally drained’ and ‘let the news sink in.’ Although, I disagreed with this because clichés are apart of the real world. When writing, sometimes using these everyday terms such as clichés can’t be helped. You want your character to come across as more real. I haven’t come across any person who doesn’t use a cliché every now and then. Although, I was starting to realise editing my work might involve more than just writing the story.

Finally, I did pass the assignment but looking back, I could have improved the story. This also was a hard lesson in taking on board critical feedback in order to achieve better.

Next week assignment three

Student Blog

Life as a student

In the first year of university, you study a wide-range of topics. As this helps you study, focus and develop your academic skills for writing. Although most students have a clear sense of what they want to do, some will decide on a different path for their studies.

In my first-year as a student my focus changed slightly. For example, I went from studying English literature to English language alongside creative writing. As I felt the language side would be more beneficial to me. Entering year two meant going into depth on my chosen subjects.

Concentrating on the subject creative writing, I will share my insight as a student.

My first assignment

Before the book

The concept of the cover was really tough when discussing this with the publisher. However, when a my husband put together a drawing, it quickly developed from there.

As you can see its not far from the cover that helped shape the final design.

Awards Evening

Attended an Inspire awards evening at the beginning of July, taking my mum as she has shown a lot of support.

Nominated for a ‘Life Change and Progression Award’.

Even though I didn’t win, my life has changed since returning to education. Not only am I on a course with ‘The Open University’, but now I’m a tutor and a self published author.

Congratulations to the other nominees and the winner. All well deserved.