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What is structure in fiction?

Structure is one of those strange beasts that’s both concrete, built from the words on the page, but also abstract and discussed in terms of metaphors, such as ‘narrative arcs’. Structure is sometimes confused with plot, but plot is what happens in the story, whereas structure is how you shape the story. 

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Reading short stories: where to start?

Where can you come across new short fiction that gives you a broader sense of what’s possible in the form?

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OCA wellbeing: Community in lockdown

Miranda shares what she has found helpful during the pandemic so far. Miranda is new to the Student Services Team at OCA, and has had the challenge of joining the OCA ‘virtually’ during the lockdown period!

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What would we do without villains?

Not all stories have a bad guy or gal. Conflict, and the thwarting of desire, can come from many other sources. In fact, having a villain at all could be thought of as an artefact of certain genres; action, crime, romance and adventure, for instance, although for the purpose of this blogpost, I’m casting my net more widely. Some of the greatest literature features ‘the villain’, Shakespeare being master of the purposefully evil human intent on destruction and full of hate, and Dickens taking up that mantle willingly, creating iconic villains such as Uriah Heep.

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Reading poetry: where to start?

To all creative writing students: hands up if your tutor has ever recommended you read outside your comfort zone and explore the work of a writer you’ve never read before? 

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OCA wellbeing: Pets

I have settled reasonably well into life in lockdown and I think it’s largely to do with my furry companion. I’ve kept my normal routine of getting up and walking to work, which currently means taking Enzo out and looping back home to log on.

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What is conflict?

When talking about conflict in scriptwriting, we don’t simply refer to the central ‘battle’ between our main character and their antagonist force.  Conflict is also in the skilful crafting of contrasting sensorial elements, weaved into the scenes; it becomes a contrast of sounds, insertion of small elements of disturbance, use of light and shadows. 

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Writing a good reflective commentary

I recently a ran an online workshop on what a good RC might include, so for those of students who were unable to attend (and for those who did attend, but would like a refresher), here’s a summary of my suggestions.

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Virtual study event: Write where you are

In this workshop we’ll explore the places we inhabit most, the views we see every day, the map we create on our daily walks. We’ll read poems and prose about place and spaces, and pay homage to the ones that we feel both connected to and stuck in.

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