Into week seven of the Start Writing Fiction course with FutureLearn. We are nearing the end of the whole course. Next week is the last one. Like others on this course I am working towards a 1,000 word fiction story to be posted and reviewed by other students.
Although I had done some short pieces of between 200 and 500 words for character building when it came to writing a story none of the characters I had written about or the pieces I started really worked in this context and I was stumped. I had a few false starts which I abandoned after a few sentences because they didn't interest me and I couldn't see where they were going. As I began again a voice took over and a character started emerging. I began the story as a serious plot but it soon became obvious that it didn't want to be serious and skipped into a bit of a farce! I've always gone with gut feelings so I went with it and let it follow whichever direction it seemed to be going. I was worried I wouldn't reach close to the word count, then that I'd go over but when I'd finished I was at around 940 words. I read it back and liked it. I did a small amount of editing and have let it lay for several days.
This week we are beginning our editing properly and I have looked at my story and amended a few things. We have also been looking at how we read and we were asked to write a review of a book we liked and one we didn't. The notes we were given for considering books was comprehensive and useful and no doubt I will be referring to them when I next write a book review!
This is the only course with FutureLearn where I have signed up to their Facebook page. Hopefully that will keep going after the course finishes as it is a nice way to keep in touch with others and offer mutual support.
For some on the course (there are well over 20,000 people on this) they have struggled or they felt it was too basic. With something like this you get from it what is relevant. Yes, some of the stages have been very basic but there are new learners here and for me it was nice to have things reinforced and to comment on questions asked by those with less experience and to comment on my own doubts and share ideas. There is quite a mixture of learners and I've been enjoying this course from the beginning. Nothing seems too scary!
For me it's been a chance to try my hand at fiction writing and to receive feedback without the hell of reading it out in a class! Not only this but the course is free! I have gained confidence in my ability to write and even I can see that I'm not as bad as I thought I was at writing. Of course the proof will be in the 1,000 piece to be submitted next week. However, one thing I have learnt is that some people will enjoy it and some will hate it. Having seen the comments on a story we had to read, it was obvious that everyone has a different opinion because everyone has preferences which is why we choose to read the books we do and not others.