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When did you last stumble upon such words of encouragement?

Is

Fig.1. Words of encouragement

Isn’t this all that we need? Someone who believes?

(On the inside of a folder of  ‘creative writing’ from my teens – short stories, a novel, a TV screenplay, poems and lyrics. Lyrics that the author of these words put to music).

Don’t tell me I am not still that 19 year old.

This is the human condition.

Days before my mother died, with barely any faculties functioning I span her through grabs of famous artworks on an iPad – her last cogniscent words were ‘Louvre, Paris’ while all but my sister and I say a dead person waiting to die.

Creativity is improvisation … Edmund de Waal on pots, netsuke, writing and his desert island discs

Fig 1. Pots, Writing, Music and on being a Smarty Pants

Listen to it for yourself. What intrigued me where his thoughts on the creative process.

Edmund de Waal
Desert Island Discs
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01p067p
Sunday 25th November 2012

On describing his pots

“Rigorous but humane –  I’d like that on my gravestone if possible”.
“The rest of the world falls away”.
“The challenge is always the same, what are you going to do next?”

On a very particular recording of Ella FitzgeraldMack the Knife – forgetting the words and improvising.

Ella FitzGerald sings : “What’s the next chorus to this song now. It’s the one – I don’t know. It’s a swing song, that’s the tune … Something about Louis Miller and something about cash … tell me … ”

“This is music as it should be. This is making it up as you go along. This matters to me because this is what the experience of making things is like. That’s improvisation. That’s when when you think you’ve  got it made before you start. And then …   it all goes … it doesn’t go wrong – it goes different. And then you have to … then you’re alive. That’s the moment of absolute aliveness. Which is what music is about … and about what I do is about”.

A course on creativity could be constructed from interviews and music featured on Desert Island Discs. Like any frustrated creative I listen to this and find myself turning to a short story or a sheet of cartridge paper.

(A netsuke of the kind Edmund de Waal shows Kirsty Young, a signed piece from the early 18th century, is likely to be worth £10,000 to £12,000.).

I  prefer invention over recreation.

Others I’ve caught on Desert Island Discs include

Grayson Perry

Another potter, form whom ‘creativity is mistakes’.

Story Writing: Edith Ronald Mirrielees – as recommended by John Steinbeck

‘A story to be effective had to convey something from writer to reader and the power of its offering was the measure of its excellence’.

So wrote John Steinbeck in 1962 in a letter to his Stanford Creative writing tutor Edith Ronald Mirrieless.

Through Amazon I have got a copy of ‘Story Writing’ and will apply it in due course. The necessary pain will be returning to a story and sticking with it through all the rewriting.

A card-based learning design system and a card-based system for writers too.

From HLM Flash Demo

For someone who does NOT have a formal teaching background this for me is the first time in 13 months that I have something practical that is based in learning, not ‘e-learning’ that I feel can apply immediately to any learning context: instructing sailing, teaching swimming, advising on digital marketing, supporting a team making a short film … and especially thinking of ways to occupy children who are now on a three week holiday.

Blogspot from conference presentation of HLM

Institutional e-learning services

HLM Grid

I found this exercise extraordinarily useful. In the space of an hour I felt I assembled the makings of a series of activities, a module that might take place over a weekend, or a week or two. Thinking of this as learning first, and e-learning second helped.

I decided on creating a course on ‘marketing to the social web.’

I’ve always fallen back on system, surveys and so on. A set of questions, in this case cards, that you can mix about, sets the process up. A similar end result might be achieved in different ways, but here, falling back on the cards and working with these options helps you to get something down. Indeed, having the cards makes you appreciate at every stage you could approach it differently. It would highlight any repetitive approach, something some online educators are guilty of i.e. a course where every activity is a person talking to camera with a transcript of what they say. And no better than the weekly lecture and reading list which was almost my entire three year undergraduate experience.

The graphics worry me. I do think there is value in engaging the best graphic designer for things like this, to come up with something universal. I wonder how some learners would interpret a class that involved the use of flash cards with coloured in cartoons on them. Given the ability of the www to offer choices I’d give users a choice of a dozen alternative images for each activity.

As I’m looking at various courses on digital marketing I’ll see how I can add to this.

Activity/Task –Objective

Learning Event

Teacher’s Role

Learner’s Role

Resources

Tools (inc. Technologies)

Other comments

Survey on current awareness of advertising/marketing in social networks

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

24 hours of Google Alerts, Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin.

EXPLORES

Coach

Research

WWW

Min six people sharing task to cover entire 24 hour period.

Write in a blog, microblog. As text from the spoken word. Writing within parameters, not just Twitter’s 140 characters, but other word counts.

IMITATES

Perform

Apply

Perform

Reflect

WWW

Twitter

WordPress

LiveJournal

Blogger

Writers & Artists Handbook.

Voice Recognition Software

Touch Typing Software

Trying to develop a fluid, immediate, even ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to writing.

Image only in a blog.

CREATES

Coach

Create

WWW

Flickr

Tumblr

Facebook

Digital Camera

Mobile Phone

Webcam

Comment on blogs, join in forum discussion .

EXPERIMENTERS

Explain

Practice

WWW

Blogging for Dummies.

Letters to the editor. Letters.

RSS

Within the group and beyond

Add sound to a blog … voice, music, live (Skype) and broadcast (podcast).

PRACTICES

Coach

Perform

WWW

Podbean

Headset

Microphone

Group

Measure

RECEIVES

Apply

Questions

WWW

Analytics

Neilsen

Research companies

Tools

Technorati

Google Analytics

Buzzmetrics

Group

Promote (PR, advertising, marketing)

EXPERIMENT

Perform

Explains

Explore

Perform

WWW

Viral Video

Event

D&AD DVD

Mobile platforms

DVD player

Group

Survey on final awareness of advertising/marketing in/to social networks.

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

 

The Writer’s Tool Kit

All these cards had me thinking of  a writer’s tool kit, ‘The Observation Deck’ by Naomi Epel. In that period where I wrote fiction all day I often dipped into this, simply to keep me going. In pratise it is far more useful for someone who blogs all the time as it triggers a line of thought.

If you’re running a creative writing course this IS your learning design done; each week take a different card from the box and do.

The card-based Hybrid Learning Model and a card-based Tool Kit for writers.

From HLM Flash Demo

For someone who does NOT have a formal teaching background this for me is the first time in 13 months that I have something practical that is based in learning, not ‘e-learning’ that I feel can apply immediately to any learning context: instructing sailing, teaching swimming, advising on digital marketing, supporting a team making a short film … and especially thinking of ways to occupy children who are now on a three week holiday.

Blogspot from conference presentation of HLM

Institutional e-learning services

HLM Grid

I found this exercise extraordinarily useful. In the space of an hour I felt I assembled the makings of a series of activities, a module that might take place over a weekend, or a week or two. Thinking of this as learning first, and e-learning second helped.

I decided on creating a course on ‘marketing to the social web.’

I’ve always fallen back on system, surveys and so on. A set of questions, in this case cards, that you can mix about, sets the process up. A similar end result might be achieved in different ways, but here, falling back on the cards and working with these options helps you to get something down. Indeed, having the cards makes you appreciate at every stage you could approach it differently. It would highlight any repetitive approach, something some online educators are guilty of i.e. a course where every activity is a person talking to camera with a transcript of what they say. And no better than the weekly lecture and reading list which was almost my entire three year undergraduate experience.

The graphics worry me. I do think there is value in engaging the best graphic designer for things like this, to come up with something universal. I wonder how some learners would interpret a class that involved the use of flash cards with coloured in cartoons on them. Given the ability of the www to offer choices I’d give users a choice of a dozen alternative images for each activity.

As I’m looking at various courses on digital marketing I’ll see how I can add to this.

 

Activity/Task –Objective Learning Event Teacher’s Role Learner’s Role Resources Tools (inc. Technologies) Other comments
Survey on current awareness of advertising/marketing in social networks RECEIVES Explain Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual
24 hours of Google Alerts, Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin. EXPLORES Coach Research WWW Min six people sharing task to cover entire 24 hour period.
Write in a blog, microblog. As text from the spoken word. Writing within parameters, not just Twitter’s 140 characters, but other word counts. IMITATES Perform Apply

Perform

Reflect

WWW

Twitter

WordPress

LiveJournal

Blogger

Writers & Artists Handbook.

Voice Recognition Software

Touch Typing Software

Trying to develop a fluid, immediate, even ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to writing.
Image only in a blog. CREATES Coach Create WWW

Flickr

Tumblr

Facebook

Digital Camera

Mobile Phone

Webcam

Comment on blogs, join in forum discussion . EXPERIMENTERS Explain Practice WWW

Blogging for Dummies.

Letters to the editor. Letters.

RSS Within the group and beyond
Add sound to a blog … voice, music, live (Skype) and broadcast (podcast). PRACTICES Coach Perform WWW

Podbean

Headset

Microphone

Group
Measure RECEIVES Apply Questions WWW

Analytics

Neilsen

Research companies

Tools

Technorati

Google Analytics

Buzzmetrics

Group
Promote (PR, advertising, marketing) EXPERIMENT Perform

Explains

Explore

Perform

WWW

Viral Video

Event

D&AD DVD

Mobile platforms

DVD player Group
Survey on final awareness of advertising/marketing in/to social networks. RECEIVES Explain Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

 

The Writer’s Tool Kit

All these cards had me thinking of  a writer’s tool kit, ‘The Observation Deck’ by Naomi Epel. In that period where I wrote fiction all day I often dipped into this, simply to keep me going. In pratise it is far more useful for someone who blogs all the time as it triggers a line of thought.

If you’re running a creative writing course this IS your learning design done; each week take a different card from the box and do.

A checklist of essential elements in fiction

‘The Fiction Writer’s Handbook.’ By Nancy Smith

Some notes and quotes on writing fiction.

‘Real life events, all too frequently, are anything but logical; fiction must be.’

Nancy Smith, ‘The Fiction Writer’s Handbook.’

‘Life is all inclusion and confusion. Art is all discrimination and selection.’

Henry James

Emotive Themes

  • Rejection
  • Loneliness
  • Pain of being misunderstood
  • Death of a loved one
  • Enforced separation from a love one, animal or place
  • A feeling of always being on the outside, looking in.

‘One should evoke in oneself a sensation which one has experienced before, and having evoked it in oneself, to communicate this same sensation in such a way that others may experience the same sensation …’

Tolstoy

‘A newly-invented metaphor assists thought by evoking visual images.’

George Orwell

‘The novelist destroys the house of his life and uses its stone to build the house of his novel.’

Milan Kundera

‘I write about the same things all storytellers have concentrate on … money, power and love.’

Judith Krantz

Ref: Georges Polti, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations.

Checklist of essential elements in fiction

  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Background
  • Setting
  • Characterisation
  • Dialogue
  • Theme
  • Tone/atmosphere
  • Suspense/Tension
  • Reader identification
  • Pace
  • Emotion
  • Symbolism
  • Motivation
  • Use of five senses
  • Viewpoint
  • Indirect exposition (show, don’t tell)
  • Flashback
  • Structure/shape
  • Immediacy
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