subject
Intro

Start Writing Fiction

 with  Derek Neale

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Start Writing Fiction focuses on a skill which is central to the writing of all stories and novels – creating characters.

You will listen to established writers, such as Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker, Alex Garland, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Tim Pears, Michèle Roberts and Monique Roffey, talk about how they started writing. You’ll consider the rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal.

You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot.

You’ll also have the opportunity to review and comment on the work of fellow writers, and receive peer feedback on your own story, learning the importance of reading as a writer and how to receive and respond to feedback.

This course is intended for those with an interest in starting to write fiction or improving their fiction writing, and does not require any previous experience of studying this subject.

Please be aware that participation in this course involves reviewing work posted by other learners. You may find some material used in these stories is of an adult nature (e.g. language, sex, violence) and although captured in context, may offend. Learners on this course are instructed to place warnings at the top of their work to indicate use of such content.

Recommended for learners age 16+.

18 Student
reviews
Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
Pace Upcoming
Institution The Open University
Provider FutureLearn
Language English
Certificates $49 Certificate Available
Hours 3 hours a week
Calendar 8 weeks long
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FAQ View All
What are MOOCs?
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These are free online courses from universities around the world (eg. Stanford Harvard MIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you.  They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.

18 reviews

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful
a year ago
Clifton K. Prince partially completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
The content looked like it would be OK to good, but I departed from this course after the second week for two reasons: First, I found it to be beginner, a much lower level than I had expected. It is geared toward encouraging the inner artist (keep a journal; notice the telling detail and record it; try to stick to Read More
The content looked like it would be OK to good, but I departed from this course after the second week for two reasons:

First, I found it to be beginner, a much lower level than I had expected.

It is geared toward encouraging the inner artist (keep a journal; notice the telling detail and record it; try to stick to a schedule; just do it! etc.). I had (incorrectly) anticipated instruction on how to create good beginnings (the "starts") for my works of fiction ("Start Writing Fiction" meant "Initiate a Work of Fiction Well" to me), but this course only offers (vague) instruction on how to begin a writing career ("Start Writing Fiction" means "Initiate the Act of Being an Author of Fiction" to them). My mistake ...

Second, I found the discussion platform prohibitively disorganized.

There are too many participants, not enough sorting out among all of us, and yet total dependence on this un-sorted mish-mash as the primary means of instruction and interaction. The web-pages of discussion offer only one page for each assignment or lecture topic. Onto this page ALL two-thousand-plus enrolled students will post one-paragraph-long responses. The responses might be useful suggestions, or other students' submitted assignments, or responses to your own submissions, or answers to question prompts, or any of a number of other stupid or smart thoughts. The responses appear one after another, seldom responding in any meaningful manner to the statements immediately before or after them. It's open-mike night at a Narcissists' convention -- each speaker arrives, grabs the microphone, says his or her pet saying, and departs, having been actively encouraged to ignore everyone else. Some good students try to seek one another out, and try to interact a bit more, so it depends on dumb luck as to whether you get a decent answer to a question, or a decent response to a submission. The discussion board has almost no search-find capability, only minimal (and hard to discern) indication of sub-threading, no function to start a new thread, no option to entitle or format comments, no tracking in order to return to certain topics or discussions except the simple "follow a person" toggle. Most of the rather simple, typical functions of nearly all competent internet bulletin boards are lacking from this discussion board. It's just, "put everybody's comments here one after another in the order they were typed and make a big list of them." I found that I could only skim what portions of the commentary happened to be at the top of the page whenever I happened to log in. Even then, if I did find something I liked or wanted to stick with, I still couldn't figure out how to involve myself in those discussions since they were rapidly eclipsed for me by newcomer statements, and therefore were eclipsed for anyone else viewing the page as well, thus preventing both sides of the conversation from finding out what was said next in their conversation. It's like trying to watch television while sitting on the remote control's "channel switch" button. The channel continuously changes no matter what you're trying to watch, on and on, most frustrating! It's a single-thread discussion with two thousand other people and no means of sorting out the conversations to which I might wish to pay heed. The technology exists (cf. "php bulletin board" duh!) for easy improvement. What's more, the main -- nay, ONLY -- method of feedback on student submissions comes via this discussion board. That makes the television-remote metaphor even worse, for it's like trying to hold a telephone conversation with a channel, while sitting on the remote and constantly switching channels, such that no matter what you're trying to watch, it continuously changes, and yet you and it were trying to respond to one another! Not just frustrating, but, to me, irresponsibly incompetent. Consequently, though I suspect that good instruction could have been had through this course, I could not find it, hidden as it was behind thousands of unsorted unrelated serial contributions. Monologues in silos, needle in haystack. Glad I didn't pay money for it.

I dis-enrolled. I wouldn't want to take another course that was distributed on the same discussion platform unless the provider first significantly changed the board to more adequately allow for stringed, ongoing, mutual interactions among students. The php-bulletin-board software is free, and out there, already.

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Arshia Malik completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Excellent course for beginners who feel overwhelmed by the technicalities of story telling and the nuances that go into getting a plot together. The reviews and discussions forums were amazing and the feel of the course generally enabled me to start writing my first novel.
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19 out of 19 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Marilyn Cule is taking this course right now.
I'm doing this course for the second time and finding it invaluable. A writer for many years, it still gives me ideas and discoveries which I would not have pursued otherwise. This is not only thanks to the course presentation and content but to the discussions which follow each section of the course.

I highly recommend it irrespective of what stage you are at as a writer.
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Awesome class. Helped me out so much with the format and structure that story telling requires. Discussions were amazing and overall i feel it really did help me grow as a writer.
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful
6 months ago
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Anonymous is taking this course right now.
I registered with Futurelearn on the suggestion from my wife. I've been writing for many years and thought a lightly-structured course like this might help to get back to basics. What I've found is a course that sets people up to be limited in their writing outlook. For an 8 week course it still focuses on character Read More
I registered with Futurelearn on the suggestion from my wife. I've been writing for many years and thought a lightly-structured course like this might help to get back to basics.

What I've found is a course that sets people up to be limited in their writing outlook. For an 8 week course it still focuses on character creation right into its 6th week. The 7th and 8th being washy ideas on how to collaborate and give feedback to other writers.

At the outset I saw the benefit of a discussion forum style approach but quickly understood that most people (including myself) where just shouting into null space as most people dont bother to provide feedback.

It feels like this course lacks any real form of curricula at all.

I wouldn't suggest that anyone looking to be a writer, unless you want to punch out a Mills & Boon romance that over emphasises character descriptions.

Am I ever glad I'm not paying for this course.
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
Leo Naves is taking this course right now, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
great one, amazing ways to do and to know. Thank you

P.S: I love that and I thinking to do other, work and study forever.
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful
a year ago
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Maria Gramma completed this course.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
a year ago
Ardiningrum Wiratri Safira partially completed this course.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
a year ago
Christina Engers partially completed this course.
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful
3 weeks ago
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Cristina Cotofana audited this course.
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5 months ago
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Lloyd Wakefield completed this course.
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2 months ago
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0 out of 7 people found the following review useful
3 years ago
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2 years ago
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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful
2 years ago
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