I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and over the last nearly ten years I’ve been writing full-time. I’ve given writing courses and workshops, I run writing groups, and I belong to writing groups! My writing life is very busy.
When I saw an on-line writing course from the Open University i began to wonder if maybe I had fallen into a writing rut, and maybe I need to get myself out of it, and maybe a writing course would be a good way to rethink how i write and maybe what I write.
I joined the course, and have just had a go at the first task –
Trying to write both fact and fiction can help you realise the relationship between the two. Write a paragraph (50 to 100 words) containing one fact and three fictitious elements. You can write about yourself, about your interests, about history – about anything you like. Then try the reverse – write a paragraph containing three facts and one fictitious element.
After this exercise we have to reflect on what we’ve done and ask ourselves several questions, and join the discussion which follows. So far people have posted some fascinating paragraphs, interpreting the task in different ways.
This is what I wrote:
For once the Dolphin was virtually empty, best pub in Uphill and only Otto behind the bar – except he wasn’t, he was in the cellar changing the barrel. Gus slouched in his usual seat… and that was it… Well, two drunk women were in the other bar, sitting in silence. It had been like this since the bomb had exploded on the beach… not a terrorist outrage but ordinance from the war. The unexpected explosion demolished Shells, the nightclub, killing the owner and her partner’s husband, and raining debris on the village, taking the steeple off St Decoman’s.
- Fact: there is a pub called the Dolphin in Uphill
- Fiction: (i) there’s been no bomb exploding on Uphill beach, (ii) there’s no night club in Uphill called Shells, (iii) there’s no church with a steeple called St Decoman’s
Uphill, a small village just south of Weston-super-Mare, boasted two pubs, the Ship and the Dolphin. Gus frequented the former, where he knew more people; ‘know’ was putting it somewhat strongly, he recognised and chatted to people in the Dolphin. He’d visited the Ship, the oldest pub in Weston and Uphill once; no-one had nodded a greeting, he didn’t exchange a word with anyone except the young woman behind the bar; it was busy but he might as well have been invisible. Pint finished, he left and stood outside for a moment, looking up at the ruined church on the hill
- Facts: (i) Uphill is a village south of Weston-super-Mare, (ii) there are two pubs in the village called the Dolphin and the Ship, which is the oldest pub in Weston (iii) there is a ruined church on the hill above Uphill
- Fiction: the Ship is not an unfriendly pub, it’s very friendly and welcoming pub
If you’re interested in joining the course it’s absolutely free, although you can upgrade for a small amount to have permanent access to it, it’s from the Open University, it’s really excellent! Here is a link, let me know if you join!