Tag Archives: open uniersity creative writing course review

A215 The Beginning and an Alien

It’s October 1st and the beginning of the Open University A215 Creative Writing Course. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because I can now stop panicking, it’s too late for panicking. Nervous because I have met a few of my fellow students via Facebook and they are already proving what a talented bunch they are. I don’t think my writing comes any where near some of the stuff these students already produce, but I’m staying with it and hope that I can pick up a few tips from them along the way.

I’ve been to the tutor group forum, which opened this morning too, to say hello and met two or three students that I’ll be sharing my tutor with. They don’t sound in the least bit nervous, so I guess it’s just me. What makes me more nervous is that my tutor is an alien from the Alpha Centauri Solar System – don’t ask!! – and being taught by an alien is just a tiny bit scary. I’m not sure why he has a human name but I guess he will tell us in due course. Click here for proof the he really is an alien.

I have already started on the Big Red Book – Creative Writing A Workbook With Readings – and have done the first two chapters. Next, chapter three, is Writing What you Know. It looks interesting but I can’t help thinking that I don’t know much to write about. I’m hoping that the chapter will show me how to pull some memories from the deep dark recesses of my mind, or at least, teach me self hypnosis.

I’ll let you know how the course goes, and as always you can follow my progress if you want to. For now I’m off to try to get to grips with the BRB.(Big Red Book).

Speak soon.


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A215 Creative Writing Tutor Allocation

I now have my tutor details and the course web site opens next week. It’s caused a buzz in the FB group, as it always does, as some students haven’t heard anything about their tutors yet. Hopefully everyone will have been allocated a tutor by the end of the weekend, if not there could be ructions.

One thing that puzzles most of us is the way the OU has designated tutors to students, or is it students to tutors? Either way it seems very random. One student lives in Ireland and her tutor is in Germany!! Another student who lives in the Chippenham Wilts has a tutor living in Ireland! And my tutor lives in Chippenham, I’m in Cheltenham! Does any of that make any sense??

I think I’ve worked out how the allocations are done though, and this is obviously how it works. The OU puts all the tutor names in a big hat and pulls one out at a time, then they put the student names in another hat and pull out 25 student names for every tutor name. So it is completely random. 🙂

I’ve started on the BRB (Big Red Book) doing Freewrites and Clustering. I’m not sure I’m doing it right but its enjoyable. The idea of clustering, I think, is to pick a word or phrase and write it in the middle of a sheet of paper and circle it. Then just let your mind bring other words up which you then write down, circle and connect to the original word with a little line. Keeping going like that until you decide to stop. Next you look at your cluster and decide which words you would like to freewrite about. A freewrite is a quick burst of writing about anything you like, in this case it would be about which ever word you’ve pick from your cluster. You write for five or ten minutes then go pick another word from your cluster and freewrite that. At least I think that’s how it works and that’s how I’ve been doing it. Probably wrong!

Now the course is beginning to feel very real and very scary. I wondered if I had bitten off more than I can chew, AGAIN! Time will tell, and if I can’t cope then I don’t think I’ll be doing any more courses, so fingers crossed for me.

Good luck to all my fellow students on the A215. Enjoy and have fun, ‘cos I know I’m going to whether I can manage the course or not.


Posted by on September 17, 2011 in A215 Creative Writing, Gibberish, Open Uni


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A215 Creative Writing

The course material for the A215 has arrived and I’m in my glory! As with all the other students I got over excited and felt like Christmas had come early. The FB group suddenly burst into a frenzy of activity with all of us squealing with delight.

In the parcel, which wasn’t as big as I thought it would be, was the Big Red Book!, The Study Guide, 4 CDs and the obligatory Welcome Letter from the UO.

The Big Red Book is… well, BIG! and can be used as a door stop when the course is over.

Some have started listening to the CDs and reading through the material, but I’m going to wait till the web site opens on the 21st September before I do anything.

The course consists of Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing and Life writing. Life Writing? That should be fun! and as for Poetry!! Mmm!

I know this is going to be more difficult than the A174 but I’m giving it my best shot. It’s obviously much more reading and creative writing this time as it’s a 9 month long, 60 point, level 2 course as opposed to 3 month long 10 point course that the A174 was. Am I up to it?? I don’t know, we’ll see I suppose.

Keep checking back for more info and updates on my progress, if you want too that is…

Photo Courtesy of Mike Williams

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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in A215 Creative Writing, Gibberish, Uncategorized


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Creative Writing and Chickens!!

So I’m looking at the chickens in their new coop and wondering how long it will be before Harrison asks me to write a story about them. The problem with that is I’m still trying to write a story about a three headed dragon for him. I’ve never written a story for kids before and I’ve no idea how to do it so I’m struggling. I’ll have to find a course on writing for kids, I don’t think the Open Uni do one.

I supposed, rightly or wrongly, that writing for kids (Harrison is 6) would be easy but I can’t seem to get to grips with it at all. No matter what I write, when I re-read it, it sounds too grown up and boring for him. A course on writing for children would help here, and also reading to him would help too. The problem with that is I’m stretching myself a bit thin on the ground as it is, so fitting another course in and reading to him (his mummy does the reading usually) would be difficult to say the least.

And now the chooks are here he’s going to start pestering very soon. Mmm! What to do? I’ll look into a course but in the mean time I’ll read some of his books myself, hopefully they will help me to structure a story for children, and it will give me an excuse to read kids books, can’t be bad.

If you know of any good courses on writing for children, that won’t take up huge amounts of time, please let me know.

I suppose I could read the books to the chickens!


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TMA 2 Gone!!

Well it’s done and dusted. I finished it and edited it and wrote the commentary and now it’s gone. I feel a bit sad that it’s all over but I can now concentrate on my other course. And I have October to look forward to so that helps.

Good Luck to everyone on the course I hope you all do really well and get the results you hope for. You are all amazing people and I consider you to be all my new friends. I hope we can stay in touch between now and October.

The wait begins…

All Text Copyright © 2011 Annie Green ( Trudy Chappell) All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in A174 Start Writing Fiction


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A174 Coming to a Close.

The A174 is rapidly coming to a close but I still have a TMA (Tutor marked assignment ) to put in. 1500 word story and I’ve no idea what I’m going to write about. I did have one story up my sleeve but it doesn’t grab me like I thought it would so I’m not going with it. Now I’ve got to come up with something else and PDQ.

I haven’t found it easy to write to such a short word count and having to use words that the Open University say they want me to use doesn’t make it any easier either. I’ve got about 10 days to come up with an idea, write it, edit it and send it in. Better get my skates on I suppose.

The A174 Start Writing Fiction course has been a lot of fun and I’ve met some really lovely people in the student cafe and on the tutor forum. Hopefully we will stay friends for a very long time if not for life. I’ve read some amazing stories and learnd a lot about writing fiction.

If you’re thinking of taking a course in creative writing I would highly recommend this course. It’s a gentle approach to the subject and although it’s with the Open University you are not expected to know anything about the subject. All you need is a desire to write and ‘Bob’s your uncle’.

It’s a twelve week short course and is designed to get you into the habit of writing in a writers journal and gives some really useful ideas on how to come up with stories. You are asked to send in 2 eTMAs during the course and your tutor marks them.

The next course is the A215 Creative Writing and I’ve signed up for this years intake that starts in October. This one is a level 2, 60 credit course and it runs until July. I can’t wait.

But for now I’ve got a 1500 word story to come up with so I’m off to ponder.

Speak soon.


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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in A174 Start Writing Fiction


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