I have to write a character sketch of an invented person, even if he does resemble someone I might know. Easy enough, I thought, but I always find these exercises strangely remote and detached so I've been playing with the idea of coming to know this bloke through the opinions of others, expressed after his death. Naturally, being a crime writer, his death is just a tiny bit controversial. It's really about the tight communities that revolve around pubs. So I've gone from struggling with a few hundred words of dry analysis to a whole short story, complete with resident mystery!
The other part of the assignment is a piece of fiction including a substantial bit of dialogue - much harder to get inspired at the moment but I'm working on it. So for I've come up with a confrontation between two people, a child in a posh school who just doesn't fit in, and the deputy head teacher who is trying to keep them from getting expelled. The twist is the head came from a similar background, but the dilemma is, how much of your past do you share with a child or for that matter, anyone? I'm writing 'what I know' at the moment, as a similar conversation took place for a different reason at my school. I'm finding A215 is coming in useful everywhere, and the OCA course has really got me thinking. The deadline is 30th September, which is beginning to feel a bit tight.
The A215 course has a message forum but frankly, they are a lot less helpful than the facebook lot. I got told off pretty promptly for, after reading a dozen messages along the lines of 'can't wait for the course!!!', suggesting that they a) get on with the course and enjoy it and b) get a little ahead. I was spanked for 'making people feel inadequate if they aren't ahead' - even though my critic was herself doing the same thing. One thing I have learned about distance learning, children, is always, always get ahead if you can - in 8 months there will be 'flu, sick children/parents/pets, extra workload, holidays, birthdays and just moments of little motivation. These are not allowed for in the course!