First, let’s talk about the creative writing part of my degree.
Each of my two years on my creative writing part of the course has taught me that there are different forms of writing as well as genres. It has encouraged me to write in other genres other than the fantasy fiction genre that I am used to writing in. It has taught me to expand my range of language and description to enhance my story or creative pieces further to build a stronger connection with the reader and to build whatever world in a clearer dynamic. I did enjoy these units this year compared to last year as we had more control over what we could do for our assignment.
There were two units which made up the second year’s creative writing degree. One called Word Image and Sound and the other called Writing Place.
Word, Image & Sound
- Hypertext Assignment & Reflective Essay
- Film Script & Reflective Essay
There were two assignments in this unit as shown above. Unfortunately, though, all of the assignments in this part of the course are accompanied by a reflective essay. They are vain of my life. They are very annoying, but I guess they have to be done.
The first assignment within this unit comprised of three different choices, in which a student was to pick one to do. There was an audio-visual piece, in which we could create any type of video that we wanted to.
When I was practising, I found it very fiddly due to difficulties with my motor skills caused by my Congenital Cerebral Palsy. I constructed a writer’s block video using images of:
- A notebook,
- a pen,
- a pencil,
- and typed words.
I also added some sound effects to this. However, because of the motor skill difficulties, I decided not to do this audio-visual piece for my assignment.
My other two options consisted of poetry and a new type of writing and computer software called hypertext. Preferably, I didn’t want to do poetry for this assignment, I don’t have much interest in poetry. Though I haven’t used hypertext software before, I fancied trying out something different and learning something new.
Hypertext is a way to be more interactive between the story content and the reader. You as the writer create the develop the readers see But then provide options within content and links to other pages of the story. The way I describe it is, it’s like branches to a tree. Each link and content grows from the one previous to it. Whichever option the reader selects, the content makes sense and it allows the piece to be full of twists and turns.
After learning how to operate the software, I found it was a new creative way to write. I really enjoyed constructing this piece through the hypertext software. As the writer, it also allowed me to create, write and develop exciting new scenarios, which is different from the other option. The reader will never know what is going to happen next as it is full of twists of turns and no journey is predictable. It was a new way of writing and creating a story that is both interesting and gripping to the reader and the writer. Also, it allowed me to give the reader the opportunity to be more interactive and engaged with the content and allow them to make their own story. I really enjoyed this new way of writing and might try creating another hypertext piece soon.
The next and final assignment within this unit was also our choice to decide what form and piece to create. So was the choice to write and draw a comic strip of our own story for the assignment or another option was poetry.
Once again I decided not to do poetry for this assignment. As for creating a comic strip, I really wanted to try this out and create my own comic strip as I’ve always had a passion for art and being able to combine my writing with my drawings has always been something I wanted to do. However, I decided not to do a comic strip as I thought about the bigger picture and my difficulty to be able to draw clearly for it to be an effective comic strip and a good enough assignment to get a high enough grade. This left me with two options, a radio script or a film script.
I considered a radio script, but I decided I am a more a visual writer and I have always wanted to create my own mini film. Though I was pleased with this decision, I did struggle to come up with a plot for my 15 page/15 minute script.
After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided to write a short film script based on the biggest story that I am currently writing. Without spoiling the bigger plot to my story, I decided to write a short police drama about a young girl reporting a case of grooming abuse to the police. My character, Brooke, has been suffering abuse and being groomed by her stepfather for many years but has just found the courage to report it. The scripts start out when Broke starts the police interview with officer Torrass and she starts talking about her ordeal. The Script then flits between the police station interview and flashbacks to what happened to her as she slowly gives evidence.
It allowed me to get real industry experience and has encouraged me to build on this 15 page/15 minute script into a bigger one, so it tells a bigger story that I hope has a strong impact than my original 15-minute script. Then I can appeal to two types of audiences by having it as a script and a prose.
I really enjoyed writing this script and I plan to write more in the future.
- Field – Trip Piece & Reflective Essay
- World – Building Piece & Reflective Essay
The first assignment within this unit was a field trip assignment which meant we as the student could pick any location of research and base either a poem or a short story based around that location. Identical to the unit above, we had to write a reflective essay to accompany the assignment. This particular one would go into detail about the research I conducted within my chosen location to build a strong enough creative piece. Then how this research slowly fed into my characters and overall matrix of the story. I also had to include detailed accounts of my time at my location and what I observed while there.
I decided to base my creative piece around Birmingham New Street station. I spent a lot of time there, while going back and fourth from Birmingham to Blister on a regular basis. I was able to pick up on a lot of detail in which I could use in my piece. I slowly built up detailed research including observations I made on the groups of people I saw pass through the station. This is what caused me to get the idea of writing a story from three different prospective and transmit an event of a big snow storm from three points of view.
A 35 year old male, a 40 year old homeless woman and a disabled university 3rd year student.
I did find it difficult to build up these characters to the right extent other than using my research to build up their appearances. It was fun and challenging to delve into the character’s backstories. As I didn’t conduct any interviews or talk to the three people that I chose to write as, I had to spend a lot of time constructing the characters themselves and their individual stories before I could create the overall story. Though it was fun to create the layers of the characters from a blank canvas and mould them to the story, this assignment was very challenging and I think I will need a lot more practise before I attempt something like this again.
The other assignment in this unit had the theme of ‘world-building’. As soon as I heard this theme, I was very excited. Straight away I decided that I wanted to write a fantasy fiction piece. While I stated to plan this piece, I changed my idea of a story taking place in a fantasy world throughout to one which took place in the real world and half in a fantasy world. I thought it through more and I decided to create a protagonist that is mistreated and suffers abuse at the hands of her dad and then how she draws as a form of escape and soon finds herself within these pages. I want to show the contrast between the two worlds and get my protagonist to go on a ‘journey’ within this imagined world and accomplish things which would help her overcome the difficulties in her reality.
I thoroughly enjoyed creating and developing this project, but unfortunately, I was unable to create and develop it to the extent I wanted too as it wouldn’t of not fitted the brief otherwise. So now, I am working on the story in my own time and can’t wait to see it take shape.