Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 5

It was all going so well the first few weeks – but I’m really starting to slip behind. As I write this I’m halfway through week 6, despite week 7 theoretically starting today. But, then, that’s one of the liberating things about FutureLearn – you can go at your own pace. I’ll still get through the course, won’t miss anything, won’t be rushed, and will get the full benefit, but it is flexible enough to fit into a life containing a toddler, a job and a wife’s birthday.

It’s the polar opposite of studying English at university, where I’d rush-read the set texts, often not finishing them, just so I’d hopefully have something to contribute at a seminar – as a result, classic books were utterly ruined. Old education really isn’t the way to do it.

ANYWAY. Onto week 5’s various assignments, kicking off with…



Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 4

Here’s my work from week 4 of FutureLearn’s Start Writing Fiction course…

The main focus of week 4 was character and plot. I ended up with half of a short story which I may or may not finish at some point. Here’s what exists so far:

Hiding in time

“Ready or not, here I come!”

John scuttled beneath the porch, slipping down onto his belly and commando crawling his way forwards until he was completely concealed. He rolled over and lay still, squinting to see between the dark, wooden slats of the decking above. Sunlight bloomed around their edges.

Breathing as slowly as possible he strained his ears for a sign, listening out for the patter of feet or creak of boards.

“I’m going to find you,” Chloe called from elsewhere in the garden, clearly heading in the wrong direction. John grinned, proud of his hiding place. (more…)

Future Learn: Start Writing Fiction: Week 2

Week 2 of the Start Writing Fiction course is now done (yes, I’m running a day-or-so behind), so here are my latest creations for the various exercises:

Best and worst writing space


Blessed Ludditian silence. Regardless of the validity of the term ‘Ludditian’, there’s no denying the creative power unleashed by simply disconnecting. Research is one thing but writing is another: it requires disabling the network adapter, hitting F11 to full screen the app and powering through, in the zone, no peripheral distractions. All other distractions can be surmounted save the internet: source of so many ideas yet saboteur of productivity.


The thing about distractions is that–funny cat! But when you come back to what you were doing, you find that you can’t quite remember what–new movie trailer! Anyway, as I was saying, what you need–wonder if that SSD is below £90 yet? Often I find myself losing my thread, fumbling about before–is that book out yet? Which reminds me that the new issue of Ten Grand must have been released. Maybe I should go and get another cup of tea. And a biscuit.

Expanded character study