Deadline Day! – A215 TMA 01

So anyone doing A215 is currently probably going to be slumped on a table about now, breathing a sigh of relief that their first Creative Writing TMA is done and submitted. I have to own up to having sent mine on Monday although I am a little nervous about mine now that I’ve since seen my tutor mention that it should be one document for all three parts but I’ve submitted mine as a zipped folder with 3 separate files. It made more sense to do it that way since each part needed its own heading but here’s hoping that there’s no issue with that because I’ve followed all the other formatting requirements that my tutor mentioned.

Out of all of the parts we had to do I found the commentary the hardest by far. I did my Freewrite on the 22nd of September and the second draft of the fiction piece was done on the 14th of October. I’ve been sitting on both of them for a couple of weeks hoping to get my tutor to give me some feedback on them before I submitted them as final versions but with the confusion over what can and can’t be seen or commented on before TMA submission I’ve sent them in with only the opinion of my best friend Alpha reader (who is pretty much the only person who gets to read stuff I’ve written before I bother to edit it) to sooth my fears over its merit.

But god the commentary was tough to write, not only because the word count was so piddly that you had space to say only the major points you could remember about your writing process. That’s what it felt like to me anyway. I had to really think hard to recall what things did actually inspire my fiction piece and even then I think I failed to mention a lot of things. I know I didn’t reference my writer’s notebook (which I’m awful at using, I don’t think I’ve written anything in there for ages) and I only mentioned the BRB for one thing. I did reference a novel that inspired the style of the fiction piece somewhat although I managed to sidetrack my work for several hours when I re-read the whole damn thing.

I was happy with the Freewrite and the Fiction although I think that there won’t be enough random associations in the freewrite. At a later date I might look to develop the fiction piece into a full story since it was a very intriguing idea and I want to know where things would go.

For now until I get my marks back I’m gonna try and avoid thinking about it and instead focus on trying to keep my French work ticking over (that is getting hella neglected right now) and making a good start with Nanowrimo although since I’m going to be working both Saturday and Sunday afternoons now it’s going to be interesting to see if I can get ahead or if I’ll be chasing word counts all month.

How did everyone else feel things went?



So… anyone for Nanowrimo?

Awfully sorry for the fact that I dropped off the face of the freaking planet for like 3 weeks. After my birthday and my trip to Paris I just couldn’t summon up the energy to keep doing the daily blog posts (still procrastinated just not on here). October is fast disappearing and November is approaching. This means Nano.

I did Camp Nano for the first time in April, for me it was kinda successful in that I reached 15K but that was only after taking my word count down from 25K. For November I can’t really win without hitting 50K and I’ve never done that. Closest I came was around 28K in 2010 but that was a only brief success before I dropped out of Uni. So I don’t yet know if I can reach the goal for normal nano without getting obsessive about it and neglecting all my other responsibilities and driving Le Boyf to distraction.

I have a French OU TMA due mid-November and another one mid-December so it’s vitally important that I still do my French work and get these done. Although I won’t have a Writing TMA due until January after next week I still have various exercises to do for the Fiction unit but I had the ingenious idea of using my Nano story to do those tasks. At least using the world, the characters and the story to base them on and I could always include them in my word count 😛

I was really quite surprised at how quickly my Nano idea coalesced into something I could actually work with and grow into a story that might stretch to 50K. I had written a little scene that was trying to describe using as many of the senses as possible (I’ll post the snippet later) and after I’d done it I was left very puzzled as to what could have led to this girl wading into a freezing lake all alone. So I started asking questions and after a few pages scribbled in my notebook I had ideas for characters, a world and a plot swirling round my head.

There is still a hell of a lot of planning to do (oh yea I’m much more a Planner than a Pantser although depending on how much of an outline I get done before Nov 1st I may be Plansting some of this) but compared to the last time I attempted Nano (2012 which lasted all of 3 days) I feel a lot more confident about my ability to create a story. I think having done 80K of a novel just this year has a lot to do with that. It’s going to be a very interesting exercise in juggling my responsibilities to everyone’s satisfaction especially now that I HAVE A JOB!! (That’s right I’m totally gonna be working in Waterstones from next week until maybe the New Year :D) 

Who else among the A215 group and anyone else is doing Nano this year?  I’m over there as LadyViolet  so if you’re interested in buddying a lass who’s gonna be attempting to write a YA Fantasy novel feel free 🙂

I’ll do another post talking more about what I’m going to be doing but  for now I need to get offline before I fling my internet router into the sun for being a pile of shit.

Laters chaps

Ray 🙂

Ray en Francais – J’ai peur

I’m not writing this whole post in French you can relax.

It takes me three times as long to write in French and since most of the people who currently read this blog are from my OU writing module it’s not very fair to just dump an entire post that’s unreadable to most people.

If you don’t know what the post title means; J’ai peur = I’m scared. Currently I’m finding my French module a lot more intimidating than my writing one. I kinda know what I’m doing with writing, at least in the sense that I can put words down in a row and they manage to make sense and be marginally interesting to at least me. The worries I have about writing at the moment are more related to not knowing what I’ll do with the words once I have them and whether other people will like them.

French however, is a whole different kettle of fish. I’m not saying I’m shit at french – on the contrary, to anyone who has only studied to GCSE level I may seem like I’m fluent. To my Yr 7 & 8 students when I was a TA in French lessons I was basically a native. But when it comes to the degree level modules that I’m doing suddenly my ability to speak with a pretty convincing accent is just not enough to get me through. When my marks are relying on my ability to teach myself grammar points and make an effort to learn vocabulary around a topic and then use both these skills together, everything is a lot scarier.

I’ve been avoiding picking up my French textbooks for the last two weeks or so and now the module has officially started I really need to shuck off this fear otherwise I’m going to be left scrambling to complete my TMA at the start of November having not done most of the activities for this topic. I am going to have ample time to do everything in my textbooks for both French and my Writing module so I gotta make the most of it.

To this end I wanted to just make a concrete list of what is scaring me right now about this French Module. I’m sure that if I show this to my boyfriend later he’s going to frown at me and tell me I’m being ridiculous (I probably am) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think these things.

Fears for L211

1. I won’t understand the course materials

2. I won’t be able to think of the words I need/want to use

3. I don’t have the level of grammar knowledge I should have by now

4. I won’t be able to keep up with the activities each week.

5. My TMAs won’t be complex or accurate enough for this level

6. The other students will be will better than me.

7. I will fail.

So there you go. Those are the worries that are currently making my attempts to do French seem all silly and pointless. Now I need to tear up this list before it just infects my brain with its toxic negativity.

Do tell me I’m being an idiot.


Monday’s Cup o’Thoughts (6/10/14)

Hello again chaps, no post on Friday as I was getting hauled up to the airport to bring the car back after my parents left for their holiday in sunny Florida. Spent pretty much the entire day out of the house and only actually got home around half 5. The weekend was pretty quiet, I don’t think I left the house all Saturday and on Sunday Le Boyf and I went into Nottingham to meet my sister and go to the Goose Fair. Not massively impressed with it and probably won’t go again – everything is just designed to drain all your money for little reward.

This week is going only have posts up until Wednesday as we’re going to Paris for 4 days on Thursday. It should be great fun although Le Boyf has threatened to poke me until I speak to every French person we meet – which granted will be excellent practice for me as I am doing a French module as well but still, speaking to strangers is stressful enough without throwing in the added spanner of a language I’m only half-fluent in. It’s going to be one of those odd holidays where I have no clue what we’re doing until we’re there and we’ll effectively be making it up as we go. I hope to get lots of pictures that I’ll share when I’m back.

Plan of Action for the Day

My modules have started! Egads! I need to actually buckle down and stop procrastinating my days away.

1. Freewrite – I think I ought to do one, it’s raining today and that should prompt some things

2. French – I gotta get back into doing work for this module since I’ve very diligently avoided it for a while. I could probably do with looking at my phrasebooks to prep myself for being a tourist again.

3. Novel – I have done a lot of little bits towards my book over the past week. I finished drafts of a few scenes and sent them over to my dear friend Jess, I effectively went through the draft so far in Scrivener tagging up what characters appear in which scenes so later down the rewriting line I can judge if certain people need to appear more or less and I’m also starting to put in where the chapter breaks are going to be since I wrote the scenes as whole units but some need to have that dramatic pause partway through. So today I may try and finish the bit of scene that I needed to add to the first act.

4. Chores – Ironing, did several loads of washing over the weekend and will want some of those clothes this week.

What am I looking forward to?

Well I’m going to do the freewrite after posting this so should be intriguing

What do I think I’ll find tricky?

Focusing on my French work

How can I work through it?

Stop being a bloody child (I’m turning sodding 24 tomorrow for pete’s sake!) and just do the work!

What song came up first on my iPod this morning?

Reminiscing with Grandma – Anastasia Movie Soundtrack. (this is such a beautiful reunion)

Now off to work!

Ray 🙂

Freewrite – Red

So I did a wee scribble of a freewrite earlier with my ipod turned up playing songs on shuffle this is what came out of my head.

I don’t often feel in colours but when I do it’s Red. The purest, brightest shade of red that scorches me from my crown to my toes. Every pore is blazing and I am a beacon of emotion. The space between my fingers shimmers with the heat I am radiating. I will burn everything to the ground with my fury and you cannot stand in my way. I am Rage.
But when that fire dies I am nothing, a black hole of being. If I am not angry then am I anything at all? I shine so bright when I am red but if that colour fades then I am only hues of darkness indiscernible from the night. I feel empty.
One day I hope that my rage will do good to someone, but anger, like fire is only destruction so I fear my hope is futile. Fire can forge so perhaps I can hone others into betterment with my colour, make theirs shine brighter.
I don’t understand how I was made this way, all fury or a void. I wish I was neither.

It’s only short but I wanted to share it anyway.

Until next time chaps


Thursday’s Cup o’Thoughts (2/10/2014)

Guys I really dislike mornings in case you haven’t noticed, I often wonder if I shouldn’t just change my sleeping routine so I woke up later and carried on working until like Midnight or something since my brain feels less like a box of broken china later at night since I’ve had lots of hours to piece everything back together into something I can actually use. (Well I like that metaphor, you go sleepy-head Rachel!)

But that wouldn’t really work since it would involve disturbing Le Boyf when I did eventually go to sleep and I’d get woken up when he left for work so I would probably end up feeling just as tired when I did actually get up. Best to just try being a big girl and get up like I would if I was going to work and install myself in the office after I’m dressed. I managed that this morning I actually got up and showered before Le Boyf even left for work! Normally I’d still be in bed until at least 8am. Alas I have blown the first productive hour by catching up on interweb stuffs (gotta get myself some kind of program to block those sites so I can actually work for a bit) but I think I shall get this post done and actually crack on today since I will lose most of tomorrow’s productivity when I have to drive my parents to the airport so they can jet off to sunny Florida.

Plan of Action for the Day

1. Writing – I think I’ll try doing a  freewrite this morning since I’ve not done one for two weeks. I have to get myself back into a good habit after I’ve backslid so far.

2. Instead of caving into reading one of the innumerable fiction books lying about I ought to look at editing skills so I can actually do it when I manage to print off my TMA draft.

3. I gotta email a few people about holiday stuff so Le Boyf and I can actually plan things. Also add into this the whole decide what stuff we’re going to visit in Paris because that’s all been left to me.

4. I need to look at my french textbooks since I’ve not opened them in a while. What I’ll do I don’t bloody know.

What am I looking forward to?

I don’t know, my cup of tea has already worn off and I’m grumpy again.

What do I think I’ll find tricky?

Doing anything I say I’ll do, really though this is why I shouldn’t work first thing in the morning because I just don’t function properly.

How can I work through it?

Going back to bed for a nap? No? Damn I’ll have to get more tea or have some breakfast.

What song came up first on my iPod this morning?

Mrs Darcy – Pride & Prejudice movie soundtrack. (how lovely and soothing, I should keep this album on)

Now off to work!


Wednesday’s Cup o’Thoughts (1/10/2014)

So it’s now October. That happened kinda fast, it’s only three days until my modules officially start and only 6 days until my birthday. Although I think I’ve already shed much of the birthday feeling, it’s what happens when you celebrate it early like I invariably do every year. I’m a bloody idiot like that.

Yesterday was as usual a rather mopey Tuesday – I have this weird mental block on Tuesdays that it is a hangover from when I worked as a TA. For most of the second year I worked there every Tuesday I had at least one god-awful class with a bunch of kids who would make my job as difficult as possible. How the fuck are you supposed to support their learning when they are making a concerted effort to be little shits and be rude and disrespectful to staff? I disliked those kids who would be outrageously rude to teachers when I was still in high school myself, there’s no reason for it. Yes they may annoy you and are stricter than you personally feel they should be (oh no they took your phone off you? You’re at fucking school you have no need to be on it in a god-damn lesson) but that doesn’t give you the right to make they feel like shit and dread the days they have to come to work. Your teachers and TAs have already been through high school and they don’t need to be subjected to the pettiness of rude teenagers who don’t appreciate the fact that we chose to work in education to pass on what we’ve learnt to the next generation.

Gah that turned ranty I’m sorry. I’m probably not going to end up teaching Secondary school kids after I’ve got my degree, maybe Post-16 because then I will be justified in yelling at them when they’re being rude because it was their damn choice to be in whatever class I’m teaching.

But yea I hate Tuesdays, I got some ironing done, I read a whole book, I did a bit of writing but not much else. Ugh

Plan of Action for the Day

1. After I get dressed I think I’m going to head over to the library with my handy memory stick and print off the draft of my writing TMA that I did the other week so I can give it a read-through and start editing it so I have stuff to take to my day school. I’m rather nervous for that since I have no idea how many other people are going to  be there and reading my own work aloud isn’t something I’ve done before. (Gah this may turn into another long post)

2. Alongside number 1 I shall have a read through the sections on Editing in the various writing books I have. (I will also have to do a show & tell post of all my writing books, I have quite a few now)

3. I need to make sure of what I’m supposed to be doing for my first French TMA so I can be preparing and harvesting vocab and ideas from the start of the course.

4. I need to look in my Paris guidebook and actually plan some things that Le Boyf and I are going to do while in Paris next week because although I’ve been about 6 times my other half has never been so I need to actually show him things. This task has been underlined by him so I really do need to do this one 😛

What am I looking forward to?

I should find the whole printing off my TMA draft thing easy but I know the editing won’t be. But that’s kind of the point right?

What do I think I’ll find tricky?

Actually reading through my TMA after two weeks and not suddenly hating everything about it.

How can I work through it?

Erm make someone else read it and have them lie convincingly to me if they too don’t like it?

What song came up first on my iPod this morning?

The Trolls – Frozen movie soundtrack (I like this instrumental track much more than the Trolls’ actual musical number)

Now off to work!

Ray 🙂