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Creative Writing


The Writer’s Voice: Part 2 – Fiction

In fiction, ‘voice’ refers to the person who’s speaking, more commonly called ‘the narrator’ (it’s unusual to refer to the ‘narrator’ in poetry). The narrator may be a character in the story (as in first person narratives) or they may be someone telling the story but not actually present (as in third person narratives).

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The Writer’s Voice: Part 1 – Poetry

What is meant by ‘voice’ in poetry? Personally I don’t think it’s easy to distinguish between ‘voice’ and ‘style’. Both are abstract terms that are concerned with the overall effect of a piece of writing rather than any specific technique, so both are the sum of all the other parts of the writing craft. In both fiction and poetry, ‘voice’ and ‘style’ are created from word choice, tone, use of punctuation and grammar, rhythm, choice of subject matter, choice of point of view, use of imagery, and so on. In poetry, specific poetic techniques also contribute to voice, including line length, line breaks, use of stanzas, rhyme and meter.

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A tale of two residencies – Part 2

Following on from my previous blog, I’m going to discuss my second residency in Finland. This was at Saari, which offers two-month residencies for artists of all description, not just writers. I applied to work on a very new project, Vegetal Souls, a book which I hope will consist of poems, short essays and short fiction, all exploring what it might be like to be a plant.

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A tale of two residencies – Part 1

This year, for the first time in my life, I was awarded an international writing residency. Then, in quick succession, I was awarded another! My life is not usually so glamorous, but this double stroke of good luck meant I spent August at Varuna Writers’ House in the Blue Mountains of Australia, followed by September and October on the shores of the Baltic Sea in south-west Finland. I had a week in-between to do my laundry and get my head together!

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Writing dystopias

Dystopias have become a major part of fiction over the last few decades, and with our current awareness of the state of the planet are unlikely to go out of fashion. It is, of course, much easier to write a dystopia than it is to write a utopia, because we all have such different ideas about what, exactly, constitutes a perfect world. Imperfect worlds are all around us, and scientific predictions about what the next century will bring are terrifying.

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Engaging Places: Environment, Anthropocene & Ecology E-Meet Nov 27th

Our next Arts & Environment E-meet is November 27th, 6-7pm UK time. Link to join  https://oca.zoom.us/j/418087540 Please sign up for the meet first via this google form WHAT and WHY? Get involved. This is an informal online chat using zoom.  A 60 minute conversation to share ideas and resources to support each other’s work-in-progress. Our […]

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Support in the ARF /Pt 2

Alongside the new changes to the Academic Regulatory Framework, OCA is introducing a number of new mechanisms designed to better support students.   What is the support in the ARF?   These are the Active Study Policy, Reasonable Adjustments Policy, and a revised Mitigating Circumstances Policy, and also the changes to degree pathways.   OCA […]

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Academic Regulatory Framework Changes /Pt 1

From 2nd January 2020 OCA is introducing a revised Academic Regulatory Framework. This document, which forms part of the Student Regulations, underpins and governs how all of OCAs degree programmes work, from the credits that are earnt on completion of a unit to the length of time available to complete a unit, level, and degree.  […]

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Writing & illustrating – A tutor & student co-operative project

I’d like to report on a co-operative project between myself, a writer/tutor and poet on one hand, and Dorothy Flint, a second year illustration student on the other..  We worked together over several months. The co-operative project grew out of Dorothy’s need to find a client for her illustration course and my need to find an artist who wanted a client to make a visual contribution to the  poems I had already written between 2015 and 2018.

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Everyone’s a Critic: Some pointers for writing book reviews

Writing a book review is something that you’ll very likely be asked to do as part of your OCA courses in creative writing at some point. It’s a good way to begin looking at books critically, and it’s also something you could use to keep a record of books that you’ve read to help you decide what you really think of them! 

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