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Week 7 ‘Start Writing Fiction’ The OU @ FutureLearn

From E-Learning V

Fig.1. My mashup from the FutureLearn App using Studio

I continue to wonder what impact FutureLearn will have on future models for e-learning platforms. I turn screengrabs into aide memoires like the one above.

Comments on the ‘Start Writing Fiction’ threads are now down from 3000 per thread to a few hundred … a fall out of 95% is usual for a myriad of reasons. It’ll be interesting to find out how many make it to the end … and in due course who ends up a published author, and most especially how many migrate from a FREE MOOC to a paid-for course with The OU. I have a sense that most on the module are over 60 and broke.

We’ve just listened to a handful of authors talking about the importance of reading.

I found this insightful and helpful across the board. I relate to Louis de Bernieres in terms of reading habits – different authors, same approach entering and re-entering writing/reading modes in months … something I need to change i.e. write, edit and read a daily pattern. Patricia Duncker says she read and views everything – a philosophy of Francois Truffaut who I was a fan of, especially trashy novels in his case. And from Alex Garner I see the value of seeing a novel as a screenplay, even as a director setting scenes, something incidentally Hilary Mantel talks about in an OU / BBC interview – write in scenes. Succinct. No messing. It relates to her understanding of how we reader in the 21st century – that we are used to and know the snappiness of the movie and TV. She says that the lengthy descriptions of Victorian novels are no longer palatable. I take from this that we have far too great a vivid view of the world. We know what slums, jungles and places globally look like. We see through time in documentaries, and film and now online. You mention the mud of Passchendaele and most people can picture it from commonly shared photographs and documentaries. An editing exercise reduced 500 words to 50. Most novice writers grossly overwrite. This OU MOOC favours pithy craft.

What love is

Fig.1. Recently engaged – early summer 1990 – showing off her engagement ring

To mark 20 years we exchanged platinum rings. Here's to the next 20.

To mark 20 years we exchanged platinum rings. Here’s to the next 20.

Fig.2 23 years on from the above in 1990,  20 years on from our marriage in December 1993 – showing off our rings to mark our 20th wedding anniversary

‘Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body.

That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

We have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom has fallen from our branches we find that we were one tree and not two.

(Slightly adapted from Louis de Bernieres, 1994, ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’)

Fig. 3.  Just Married – 29th December 1993, Barton-on-the-Heath … and straight onto a pane to go skiing.

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