Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Started the MA!

Yesterday, I went along to my first class, called theories of creativity and writing. This module, which was the one I was mostly concerned about, turned out to be completely bearable! We are going to be exposed to various theories, and our assignment asks us to draw on that theory in a creative way. So we could have two characters discussing a theory, or parody a style, or do anything that draws on what we have looked at. The theory doesn't have to be something discussed in the course, it could be beyond it, so maybe a psychological theory will inspire a bit of creative writing. We are starting with the classics: Aristotle 'The Art of Poetry', a bit of the Iliad and Sappho's love poems (which I love). I love anything Troy and have read the Iliad and the Odyssey several times, and the Aristotle gets quoted everywhere. Lovely stuff.

The other module the tutor teaches is online, the Writer's Toolkit (which I think is a funny name). It's a series of weekly tasks we work creatively on. This week we have to pick a favourite author and research their theories about writing, looking for ideas on aesthetics and practice. Basically, what can we say about their aesthetic ideas from their writing? And how can I use that in my writing? Manageable stuff. Again, each week we are supposed to come up with a creative piece and at the end of the semester, submit 4000 words of the best/most interesting ones. The two modules complement each other, and he's going to teach them alongside each other so we can use them to inform each other.

The group was very quiet but hopefully will warm up over time. We did some writing exercises but didn't read anything (thankfully, I was so nervous!). Some of the time was taken up with people stressing about the assignment. The tutor is cool with it though - no rationale (unless we want to write one), no fussy formatting and presentation, just make sure it's neat and tidy and got your name on it! Fiction tonight. Plus I have week 6 off, so can go home for an extended break, which will be lovely because I feel disconnected with my other life, the one I'm going back to at some point. I ned to immerse myself in autumn and make jam and the solstice cake. I feel like the Devon house isn't mine any nore, I need to reclaim it.

I woke up full of a new start for the 'other novel', the grown up story I'm working on alongside the YA story. I wrote it down immediately and I think it does the job, introduces a lot of background without loads of scene setting. Here's a (very first draft) sample:

We went back to Chancel Hall in our funeral blacks, our shiny shoes. The police were waiting there. Tim stepped forward and put an arm around me. We hugged briefly, but I was conscious of his hand held in Samantha’s; her shiny new ring entitling her to share in even the private moments between us. Then the faces circling us, some tearful, some blank, a few accusing. As a policeman took my arm gently, murmuring something about time, my eyes found Rory. He was sitting under a table, already filling himself with the cakes my sisters had brought with them. And finally, Marley, eyes on my every move. Her eyes filled the world, so like Sorcha’s yet so alive, so intelligent. She lifted her chin, we had rehearsed this. But as people stared, it was me who broke down, sobbing in the arms of two police officers, at the thought that not only would I never see Sorcha again, but maybe Marley and Rory were lost to me as well.  


  1. Sounds fantastic. I'm officially jealous!

  2. Sounds good to me, when do i get the next instalment?