Fourth assignment for A363

For this assignment, I had to submit a plan. We could choose from either poetry, short story or the opening of a novel for our final exam-based assignment. I decided to submit a plan for the opening of a novel. The plan had to be submitted or you could not pass the module. The word count could not be more than 750 words.

When it was marked and returned, the tutor was reluctant for me to submit an opening of a novel, as this is not taught as part of the module. However, the proposal that I had submitted the tutor was intrigued to see where this might go. He admitted that a short story version of this would not do it justice. The genre of the proposal was fictional thriller. In addition, the three characters I presented who would appear in the story, the tutor liked. However, it was recommended two of the characters were similar and one may need to be altered for the story or dropped altogether. As the one male character offered more tension and suspense within the story.

In the feedback, it was suggested to read the opening of a few different thriller books. This was to see how the opening engaged the reader from the start. I would also need to consider the tone of the opening. Also, if I used first person, to remember to give the main character a strong and engaging voice. Although, I hadn’t decided the style of language to be used by the main character, I did have an idea that the main character would be polite in her daily life, compared to when she is angry.

When the tutor read the plan, he did like the idea for the opening but I had to remember to create tension and suspense with the possibility of another character finding out the main character’s secret.

Finally, I was pleased that the tutor liked my plan and it give me ideas that I hadn’t considered before. So, I will use the feedback to expand my story further.

Third assignment for A363

In this assignment, I had to critique a piece of work that had been put on the group forum and discuss the comments relating to the works that I had chosen. The one I had chosen was a ‘Possible idea.’

When discussing the work, I referred to group members as ‘commentator.’ Even though the tutor would know who commented on the work, I never mentioned the person’s name. However, the feedback I received revealed that I should have said the commentator’s name. Next, I went into a brief detail about the idea the student had shared. Again, it was advised there should have been a brief summary, so that the reader would have an idea of the work and its flavour. Furthermore, when I cited a comment in the bibliography, I cited the original student instead of the person who made the comment.

When reading at the original work and comments, I agreed with a commentator. There could have been more description of what the shop looked like. The feedback on this meant the tutor agreed this could be useful if the student planned to take the story further for a future assignment. In the same way, when I commented in the critique that the reader was left wanting more, the tutor also agreed with this. As the story was a good premise. In addition, when the student put more of the story on the forum, they mentioned things like ‘cassette tape’ giving us the reader, a certain feel to that period in time.

However, I did make silly mistakes, such as forgetting to indent the first line of the paragraph. I didn’t think this applied as it was a critique and not a story. Then, when I read the story again, I stated the student had swapped between past and present tense. Whereas, the tutor disagreed with my comment within my critique. Additionally, when I stated that working on the main character’s parents in which it had taken a darker tone. I had forgotten not only to give an example of the tone, but state whether it was an improvement or not. I also had forgotten to use terminology employed on the course.

As the story progressed and changes were made, the student had improved the story by creating tension which engaged the reader. And yet, when commenting how I felt for character’s mother as the tension grows, I didn’t elaborate on this by giving an example, which I should have done.

Finally, I found doing a critique of someone’s work very hard and the mark wasn’t as bad as it could have been. This is something I didn’t like doing as an assignment but I understand the reasoning behind it. So, if I had to do another critique, I would analyse it better and learn from the feedback given.

Second assignment for A363

In this assignment, I could either create a film, play or radio piece based on my first assignment. I looked over the options carefully but after mulling it over, I decided to go with the play. The stage play had to be 15 minutes in length, equal to 15 pages.

The way I tackled this was to gather all the speak from the story and put it into a document. Then, this gave me a total of 5 pages for my play. Considering, I had never written a play, this was very daunting.

So, I read through some plays to give me an idea on the layout, Also, the amount of description they use, so not only would it help the director and stage crew but allow the actors room to make the characters their own. Next, I read through the university material in what they expected in the script. I shared some of my work in the university forum in order to get feedback. This helped a great deal with shaping the play.

However, I found in writing this script that scenes were cut that were in the original story and some scenes were expanded on to give some characters a bigger role. More importantly, the story was able to keep most of the original essence without losing crucial storyline.

Consequently, when the tutor handed back the assignment, I received a better score than expected. Although, the feedback was mixed, it could have been worse. For example, I had a good description of the scene. This line was funny. Good use of a phone call to drop intriguing hints. On the other hand, there were comments like, the scene doesn’t move the action forward so you could have combined it with another scene. This direction is demanding but just about possible.

Finally, it was a demanding assignment but towards the end I found it enjoyable to do as I had attempted something, I never thought of doing. Having said that, would I do another play; well I’m still thinking on that.

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…

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…