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Creative Writing


Writing Great Visual Descriptions: Less or More? thumb

Writing Great Visual Descriptions: Less or More?

When practicing writing visual descriptions, the scriptwriter works towards applying the few technical rules that are required by scriptwriting standards: scene heading with indication of time and space use of active verbs in the present tense brief paragraphs no camera directions describe only what can be seen and heard Their application aims at shaping the […]

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Assessment Reflection with Barbara Henderson thumb

Assessment Reflection with Barbara Henderson

A long time ago… Back in autumn 2019 – which feels like a galaxy far, far away – OCA first piloted online submissions for the Creative Writing degree.  It made sense: writers are used to submitting work electronically, for competitions and to agents or publishers. Very few organisations expect hard copies of writing work these […]

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Using Biological Curiosities for Fiction Ideas thumb

Using Biological Curiosities for Fiction Ideas

There’s a wonderful clip on YouTube that shows an octopus disappearing into the background and becoming, as a consequence, invisible. This is an attribute shared by other cephalopods such as the cuttlefish, one of which I met whilst snorkelling in Indonesia.  The water there is very clear, and the colourful marine life is plentiful and […]

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Motivated to work in Equality and Diversity thumb

Motivated to work in Equality and Diversity

The motivations for my becoming the OCA student representative for Equality and Diversity are deeply embedded in my personal experiences of racial and social class based injustices. I felt that this personal context was important to illustrate my interest and commitment to the role. But equally I wanted to add a real life dimension to the discussion on equality and diversity.

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A diverse reading list: Starting young thumb

A diverse reading list: Starting young

In these times when we recognise the need to encourage young people to read, it’s important that children see fictional characters they can identify with. Many readers can remember that feeling when the characters they read about may as well be creatures from Mars, for all they had in common. It used to affect young readers who were working class, for example. But while representations of different social backgrounds have improved in children’s fiction, the same can’t yet be said of ethnicity.

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What is experimental writing? Part 2: Poetry thumb

What is experimental writing? Part 2: Poetry

In that sense, any kind of creative writing – a poem, a play, a story, etc. – is an experiment. A person sets about creating something utterly new, something that hasn’t existed before, and has often very little idea what the end product will be like. But I believe that some kinds of writing are more ‘experimental’ than others. 

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What is experimental writing? Part 1: Fiction thumb

What is experimental writing? Part 1: Fiction

The definition of ‘experimental writing’ is highly subjective, but for me it includes writing that plays with form and pushes the possibilities of language further than usual. Some experimental writing can be difficult, asking for careful and active reading

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Writing in 2020: Multimodal writing and the pandemic thumb

Writing in 2020: Multimodal writing and the pandemic

I wonder how much the coronavirus pandemic has affected our writing and our reading; and equally our learning and teaching. Of course as OCA Creative Writers (tutors and students) we are used to the idea of distance and absence of contact.

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Creating great character voices: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible thumb

Creating great character voices: Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible

Writing in many voices within one novel is a challenge, one that can demonstrate a writer’s prowess, as it does here, but  one that can fatally wound a promising idea for a story, weighting it down, making it over-complex, and pushing a student writer’s skills to the very limit.

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Calling all Level Three creative writing students! thumb

Calling all Level Three creative writing students!

The Creative Writing department is now offering Zoom-based peer hangouts and workshops for students at HE6 (Level 3) on a regular basis. 

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