Monday, September 25, 2006

Learning Curves

Hello again! I’ve been away, and then busy. And the book still hasn’t got a 100 per cent confirmed title. As I work through my edits I am trying very hard not to be too alarmed by this fact.

The busy-ness has included going with the boyf to Italy and France in the car (aided by the TomTom GPS widget which is an infuriatingly un-userfriendly bit of kit but pretty reliable once you’ve worked out how to tell it where to go); finishing off the guide to TV development I’ve been writing; and marking the last assignments from the Open University course I’ve been tutoring. All that’s left now is the End of Course Assessment, which is marked in a slightly different way.

Doing the course has been a learning curve for me: I won’t go into details because it wouldn’t be right to do so, but it’s taught me a lot about myself as a writer. I feel much more confident about spotting what’s working and what isn’t in people’s work (though it’s so much harder to see it in your own!) and I also really enjoyed the face-to-face teaching. But I am not totally convinced by this methodology for teaching creative writing online: when you have 20 plus students submitting work that varies a great deal in terms of standard and experience, it’s emotionally extremely draining having to provide supportive, but useful, critiques. On a face-to-face course I could easily coach people and talk through the weaknesses, but doing it by distance learning is hugely time-consuming, much more than it would be on a fact-based course. The marking has turned into a Labour of Hercules and although I finished it this weekend, I felt exhausted by the end of it.

But it wasn’t all marking this weekend – it was also blissful, perfect weather for what we arrogantly – and riskily – suggested would be the last BBQ of the summer, as well as our house-warming. It was a lovely occasional, started at about 1pm and went on till very late, and I collapsed in a big heap yesterday as the cold I’d been fighting off finally took revenge. But worth it. Oh yes!

Lovely Link of the Day:
Some interesting thoughts here from books journalist Danuta Kean about romantic novels, following the discussion over the new BBC4 show about romantic fiction, Reader I Married Him (a very similar idea to one I pitched in my old day job years ago which wasn’t commissioned in-house, boo hoo – but these things happen, no idea is truly new, and I liked the first episode). I don’t totally agree with Danuta’s rather damning verdict, but I enjoyed reading it!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Gleamineyes said...

Sounds like you have been very busy! I'm jealous about all your travels as well--I'm surprised that you had problems with the TomTom unit, I've actually heard how user-friendly they are from many people (I'm in the market for one so am gathering research at this point):) Which model were you using? I'm looking closely at the ONE b/c it fits in my budget range..

9:44 pm  
Blogger Beth said...

I found Reader, I Married Him enjoyable. Not fantastic, but better than half of what's on the television anyway!

11:09 pm  
Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Hmm... what a shame the Beeb never commissioned you to oversee the project Reader I Married Him , imho you would've done a much better job. As a budding romance writer I wanted to LOVE this series, but I'm sorry to say that I only liked it a little bit and won't be watching again. (Enough said, because otherwise I'll break my rule of 'if you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say nothing at all!').

Will you be tutoring for the OU next year? I can understand how difficult and draining it is. This is definitely one of those courses where the tutors have a tougher time that the students. I'm planning to take this course in 2009 to finish my degree.

12:17 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Gleamineyes, we used the TomTom Go. I mean, it isn't a bad bit of kit, but it just had odd quirks and irritants, and it also takes a whole to 'lock' onto the satellites which isn't much good when you're starting a journey. Though I suspect that's not a TomTom specific problem.

Beth, I missed the other two episodes but may change my mind when I catch some repeats!

Sue, that's sweet of you. I don't think I will be tutoring next year, actually: apparently there are very low drop-out rates, which is great in one way, but means the burden on tutors doesn't reduce much during the year. But I will definitely keep an eye on the courses as I'd be interested in teaching on the Level 3 courses, perhaps...

3:58 pm  

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