Sunday, 11 March 2012


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The End Of An Era

I finished my final assignment for the OCA yesterday and will be submitting it tomorrow.

Wow! 11 months has gone really quickly.

The original plan was to take the course and hopefully achieve a degree in Creative Writing....but, I've decided that life's too short and I'd like to concentrate on my short story writing and I can't do that if I'm studying and having to do assignments.

I have learnt so much doing this course, I don't regret taking it one little bit :)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Final OCA Reflective Comentary

With this final reflective commentary, I’m not quite sure where to start. The last eleven
months have been one hell of a ride. Mentally exhausting is the expression that springs to
mind, but, in a good way. I’ve been challenged, that’s for sure.

When I first started the course I had had little experience of writing, apart from an attempt
at Nanowrimo in October 2010. I hadn’t studied English (grammar and punctuation)
for many years and didn’t know the different between an adverb and a noun.

This course has taught me so much it’s incredible. I’ve learnt about so many things I
would never have been able to tackle in my writing and I feel that my writing has greatly improved due to the course. I am now more confident in what I write. Although I still
have my bad habits and faults, I can see a future in my writing, I can see that I can
improve those things and will strive to do so in the future.

I’ve enjoyed doing a Learning Log; I just wish I had decided to use my Blog for it earlier.
It’s a great resource, being able to look back on things and see where your strengths and
weaknesses are, how you felt about particular aspects of the course.
I now know where my strengths (characterisation) and weaknesses (poetry) are and
my notebook collection is expanding, I have 10 full up ones now, full of ideas, short
stories and characterisations.

I have been using writing prompts every day which has been brilliant. It makes me write
every day, and I have now built up a large body of work (all of which needs editing,
expanding and possibly rewriting) which I can use in the future.

I have decided not to continue my studies with the OCA, not because I haven’t enjoyed
the course, but because I think I have learnt enough to give me a good grounding in
basic writing skills. I feel that it would be more beneficial to me to put my
energies into concentrating on my short stories, which is where my interest lies.

Friday, 17 February 2012

OCA Part 5 Project 6 Exercise

This exercise was about theme and symbolism.

I chose to work on a short story I wrote back in January from a prompt "A Twilight Memory".

The "theme" of the story is "LOST LOVE"

It is the eve of Kim's wedding and at 36 she is finally getting married, to a guy called Alan, who she met a couple of years ago. Alan is a widower, kind, gentle, thoughtful, the kind of man you can depend on.

Sitting alone in her old bedroom at her mothers house she finds herself dreaming of the lost love of her 20's, Stephen. He was exciting, passionate and dangerous. They were engaged, but Stephen got a job offer in the States, too good to refuse. Kim couldn't go, as her father was dying of cancer and she felt she couldn't leave her mother to deal with it alone. Their long distance relationship made things impossible and they decided to split.

She wears a small heart shaped gold locket that Stephen bought her just before he left for America, she never takes it off. She's told Alan that a dear friend bought it.

Part of her is still in love with Stephen, always has been, but now, she's faced with the choice of spending the rest of her life waiting for Stephen or trying to be happy with a good man who loves her......

I'm really struggling fitting "symbolism" into this story. Hearts symbolise love so I guess the gold locket could play a large part in the story. I'm not sure that I would naturally use symbolism in my work.

OCA Part 5 Project 5 Ex 2 part 2

So let's see what nasty things I can subject poor Vince to ;)

1. His son could go missing?
Journey - Quest - Monsters - Tragedy (depending on the outcome) - Rags to Riches (or rather Riches to Rags) depending on what it takes to get his son back.

2. His daughter could be kidnapped?
Exactly the same as No 1 above

3. His wife has an affair?
Journey - Quest (to get her back) - Monster (the other man) - Tragedy (depending on the outcome)

4. Something happens with the business and he ends up bankrupt?
Riches to Rags - Journey - Quest - Rebirth - Tragedy (depending on the outcome)

5. He's falsely accused of murder?
The Siege - Monsters - Quest - Journey

6. He does actually commit murder?
Strangely enough exactly the same as No 5 above.... It doesn't really matter if he did it or not lol

7. He has an affair?
Tragedy - Riches to Rags

8. His secretary accuses him of rape?
The Siege - Monsters - Quest - Tragedy (depending on the outcome)

9. He's blackmailed?
Riches to Rags - Monsters - Quest - Tragedy (depending on the outcome)

10. A long lost child (he fathered on a one night stand) turns up out of the blue.
Journey - Rebirth - Monster (possibly, depending on how he sees it) - Tragedy (depending on the outcome) which one do I write? ;)

OCA Part 5 Project 5 Ex 2 part 1

Choose an Archetypal Structure - a character from my notebook - a setting - makes notes on my ideas - a plot line to this piece.

Vince Moorcroft is 53 years old. He lives with his wife Patti and their 20 year old daughter Rose. They live in a large barn conversion nestled deep in the heart of the Kent countryside. Their 22 year old son Lee lives and works in New York.

Vince runs a successful construction company which he built up from scratch having left school with no qualifications. He started out as a labourer at 16 on a building site.

5 foot 8 with a stocky frame he is suffering from middle aged spread, but swims everyday in the heated outside pool he built himself a couple of years ago.

Born and bred in East London to working class parents he has a cockney accent and a cheeky attitude to go with it. Never afraid to stand up for what is right, as a teen he was always involved in fights, usually to stop bullies.

His father was an alcoholic, his mother took in people's washing to make ends meet. The small terraced house the family rented was full to bursting point5 boys all told, Vince is the youngest. He decided very early on that he didn't want to end up like his father who died in his early 50's from a heart attack. Vince is paranoid the same will happen to him so he doesn't touch alcohol (not a drop for 15 years), doesn't smoke and tries to eat healthily.

His mum is now in a nursing home, he visits her every week. Although, most of the time she doesn't even know who he is. He finds it upsetting.

In his spare time he plays golf and likes to take his 2 chocolate Labradors, Smor and Effie for long walks in the woods. He calls it his thinking time.

Quick tempered, he can be brash and moody. A bit of a sulker his wife says. His workforce consider him to be firm, but fair. A good sense for business and commanding presence, no one dares to rip him off.

He has a large nose, sparkling blue eyes and close cropped grey hair. He needs glasses for reading and wears trousers and shirts. He thinks he's too old for jeans now. He is charming and likeable.

He drives a Range Rover but has a motorbike sitting in the garage. A result of his midlife crisis in his mid 40's. Now, it gets little use.

Away from home at least 1 night a week he likes to check on the workers, prides himself on the reputation he has built up over the last 20 years.

He is a huge Elvis fan.

OCA Part 5 Project 4 Ex 4


It's very hard to just write the ending of a story as its not in context. I can't write the whole stories here as I won't be able to enter them in competitions or submit to magazines. Well, anyway, here are some endings from my short stories....let's just see how they sound lol

Taking a long drag on his cigarette, Detective Christie got into his car and made the short journey back to the station.

Polly bit her lip and held back the tears. She couldn't decide if she just felt sadness or pure terror.

Gulping for air she sat up in bed and looked at Adam, sleeping peacefully beside her.

She gagged, her mouth filling with a sticky thick liquid that seemed to come from nowhere. As she felt herself falling the words "I'm happy hope you're happy too." rang in her ears.

Nick sat down on a chair next to the bed and stared down at his paint spattered jeans. He scoffed as he noticed that the colour matched the walls of the room perfectly. As the tears began to stream down his face he remembered what colour it had said on the paint can...teardrop.

Jen watched from afar as her sister sunk slowly, deeper and deeper into an abyss.

As Ruby stood at the top of the concrete stairs Amelia reached out and shoved the younger girls shoulder. Ruby screamed as she fell, somersaulting down the cold hard steps as Amelia watched, smiling.