Tag Archives: script writing

A363: Advanced Creative Writing….. Result!

I’ve been awaiting the result of the level 3 module I completed back in May with some trepidation.

As any of you who were reading my progress throughout the module might remember, I received a very mediocre mark for my stage play adaptation in TMA02.  That completely scuppered my chances of achieving a top rate pass for the module.

The overall result was expected to be published on 3rd August, but it turned up yesterday.  Much to my relief, as I’d been clicking on the student home page like a mad thing since this time last week just to see if it was there.

The final assignment (I submitted a piece of life writing) mark was pretty much along the lines of the average for the whole module, and overall I managed a Pass 2.

Must admit to feeling a bit deflated, even though it was the best I could hope for after the stage play.  Probably more so, because I unlinked the module from my degree.  I have sufficient points under my belt to claim the BA I’ve been working towards for the past three years if I tick the box to link the module back in.  However, I am now in the position where I can take two more level 3 modules under the OU’s transitional fee arrangements, because that’s what I would need to complete the BA(Hons) if I leave A363 unlinked.  It would give me an extra year of less expensive learning (about £750 instead of £2500 per module).

I think I’ll see how the new module goes.  Signed up for E301, The Art of English, a couple of weeks ago.  If I find I’m no better at writing essays about creativity in linguistics than creative writing, I’ll link A363 back in and settle for a 2.1 !


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A363 – Creative Writing and a Spot of Polishing

Right, I’m on the case having bounced back from the depths of despair after the scriptwriting malarkey.  Having looked again, I can see that I went a bit too far with the ending, and turned what was essentially a sitcom into a melodrama.  Still a bit surprised though that a wrong turn like that had such a major effect on the overall mark.  Oh well, it’s in the past and hopefully, a lesson has been learned.

The critique assignment went off on Tuesday having held it back for a couple of days in case something popped up that I wasn’t happy with, but nothing did.  That was an interesting exercise, and will help somewhat in the future.  Looking for problem areas as well as things that work well in other people’s writing is very therapeutic!

The next assignment (TMA4) is drafted and almost ready to go, although it isn’t due for a couple of weeks.  I’m hoping the tutor is going to like the idea I’ve come up with for the EMA, but if not I’m happy to change direction.  Looking forward to reading  what he says when he’s been through the plan.

Been having some fun this week writing villanelles.  Quite an interesting form of poetry, and quite a challenge since there are 19 lines and only two rhyme patterns.  The first line gets to be re-used in lines six, twelve and eighteen, and the third line reappears as the ninth, fifteenth and final line.  It’s made up of five tercets and a quatrain.  The difficulty is in getting enough words to rhyme (remember there are only two rhymes), and making the whole thing make sense having re-used earlier lines.  Challenge for this week?  Try a couple of pantoums!

Just realised this morning that there’re only three and half months left before the end of this module, the EMA being due in mid-May.  Time is flashing past like an accelerating bullet train these days.  One of the disadvantages of advancing years!

Having got the polishing bug with the stair banister last week, we decided to have a go at the dining chairs.  They’ve faded badly though, and so has the table surface, so we called in an expert to have a look.  We’ve had the suite for many years, and it’s absolutely ideal for us. Modern ones just don’t seem to come close.  ‘Ah, a McIntosh,’ said the nice man.  ‘Just look at that grain.  Beautiful.’  as he rubbed the table surface lovingly.  Then said he could remove the old coating, steam the wood to get rid of the surface scratches, sand down and repair the chair stretchers where one of our puppies had used it for chewing practice, re-polish and add a protective coating.  Wonderful we thought.  Then had to sit down.  £800 if we had it all done at the same time.  Still sitting down…

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A363 – Creative Writing TMA02 uploaded

The decorations have been taken down, the tree folded ready for next year, and greetings cards re-read and heaped up for recycling.  The turkey, Christmas cake, and mince pies are finished (it was only a small Christmas cake!), which just leaves the chocolate.  That is going to be tough.  I’m looking at four huge bars of Toblerone (I said once that I liked it) weighing in at 2000 calories each, a massive double layer box of Milk Tray, and assorted chocolate treats from our friends in Australia with odd sounding names (the chocolate bars, not our friends).  I reckon there must be about 12000 calories altogether and heavens knows how much fat.  So, at present I am sucking in my tummy muscles and just looking.

Just turned over my year planner to 2012, and gasped out loud when I saw how close together the remainder of the assignments are on A363.  The stage adaptation for TMA02 is due Thursday this week, a 1000 word critique for TMA03 is next on the cards for 26th January, TMA04, an initial proposal for the EMA is needed for 16th February, a 2500 word short story deadlines on 15th March for TMA05, more proposal writing for the EMA for 5th April and the final EMA itself has to be completed on 17th May.  That’s six assignments in four and a half months.  Cripes!

After a great deal of procrastination, rewriting, consideration of excellent criticism and advice, the stage adaptation for TMA02 is now complete.  I wondered whether to let it sit and mature right up to the cut-off date but decided enough was enough.  The button has been poked and the words have whizzed off at approximately the speed of light to the Big Computer at the OU in Milton Keynes.  I feel a sense of relief that it’s gone, but that will be replaced by a sense of urgency to get the next assignment under way.  Two more chapters of coursework to read first, though!

May I wish you a happy, prosperous and fulfilling 2012.

Now, where’s that first Toblerone…

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A363 – TMA02, Stage Adaptation

This has been a funny old week, not least because I’m totally confused as to whether it has been week 6 or week 7 of the course.  Obviously I thought last week was ‘Week 7’, hence the blog header, but now I’m not so sure.  Maybe I’m getting chapters and weeks muddled up.  But, what the heck, does it matter?!

Having flicked through the three main chapters covering stage, radio and film scripting, I decided to head along the stage adaptation route for my TMA01 short story.  To be fair, when I wrote it, this is what I had in mind from the start, so it came as no surprise to me that stage looked the best bet.

Radio would have been an interesting challenge, and there’s still time to go for that since I’m fairly well in front time-wise, but there’s something that’s telling me no.  I think it’s the target  length.  Fifteen minutes.  The Archers is on for fifteen minutes.  I was potty-trained listening to The Archers, and every time the music (dum de dum de dum de dum) comes on…

Film just seems much too grand for my tale based around four friends playing Scrabble in a field on a long caravanning weekend.  Well, it just does.

So stage it is.  Simple set.  A table, four chairs, a Scrabble board.  Seaside backdrop, caravan door stage left, seagull soundtrack.  One scene (well, it is only 15 minutes from start to finish) and four characters (on the verge of being too many for the short story, but I’m hoping it works for the script) complete the simplicity.

We’re allowed to deviate from the original story if we want to, so long as there’s a good reason and this is explained in the commentary.  As it happens, I’ve kept faith with what I submitted for TMA01, and added in a more substantial and slightly darker plot.  A couple more minutes to write, but I’m hoping that by the end of the coming week there will be a fifteen minute play which I can start knocking into shape.

If you’re interested in writing stage scripts, I can recommend Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘The Crafty Art of Playmaking.’  Even though I’m only halfway through, I can see there are many gems of wisdom in there, and hopefully these will add further to the OU chapters in this part of the course.

Watch out for ‘The Final Score’ in the West End !

Fat chance!!

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A363 – Creative Writing Week 7 – Marks are In!

True to his word, our tutor returned the marked assignments on Wednesday (except for those from students who had asked for an extension).  His comments were very, very useful and will help no end with the next offering.  Mark?  Well, not too bad, not too good.  Actually we’re not allowed to publish actual marks on the OU forums so I’ll use that as an excuse not to post them here either!  Enough to say that my 1500 words scored a ‘Good Pass’ so I was pretty chuffed.

Still no signs of life on the tutor group Handbook Activities forum, and I resisted posting up any activities last week.  I think this is a great shame, and an important part of the whole distance learning experience.  We’re all sitting at our own desks in our own bubbles doing our own learning, and the only time we are being judged on our progress is every few weeks by our tutor.  Why wouldn’t we all wish to put our work out there to share with the rest of the group and get some useful feedback?  Maybe everyone is just too busy with other things.  I’m so lucky to be retired (very early, don’t forget!) and able to spend more or less as much time as I like on studying.  I sometimes forget that there are students juggling work and families around their courses.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m just talking ‘activities’ here.  There is some discussion going on about cake, and also at least one ‘informal’ meeting is being set up to talk about the assignment progress and give face to face feedback, which is great for students who are able to join in.  And, fair to say that there were many posts asking for feedback (and replies too) on TMA01 work in progress.  Maybe I’m just being too touchy about the learning activities, and should accept that everyone would rather keep them private.  Yawn.  I promise to never mention them again!

So, on to TMA02.  This has to be an adaptation of TMA01 for stage, radio or television.  Fifteen minutes.  I’ve already done the obvious, and stripped out everything but dialogue from my story just to see what it looks like.  Horrified to discover that it now takes up barely five pages of A4, which in terms of performance time is less than five minutes.  Five minutes!  I need fifteen.  My favourite critique-producer (remember her?) said, ‘Easy.  Just have them talk slowly.’  Needless to say, that might not cut much ice with the tutor so I can see I’m going to be spending hours nursing cappuccini  in the local coffee shops with my notebook and pencil, seeking inspiration for a suitable plot change which will triple the content.

Plenty of time, though.  Let’s see.  Today is… and it has to be in… and I need to have it ready to go a week early…  Just over five weeks.  Including Christmas.

Wish me luck!


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