Stiletto and wheels Stiletto title Sole to sole Stiletto

STILETTO – a high pointed HEEL on a woman’s shoe or a small dagger.

WHEELS – a medieval instrument of torture or a vehicle for personal mobility. title
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ARTS - July 2011

In yet another attempt to hone and develop my writing skills, I enrolled on one of the Oxford University Online Short Courses in May, a ten-week course: Write Fiction. Or rather, the course started in mid-May but I actually enrolled in February – they sell out quick - and, yes, my novel writing has stalled again but I am nothing if not persistent.

Sadly, the course was less satisfying than usual because a hospital visit for treatment was delayed by some weeks, so, for the first two weeks of the course, I was in full relapse mode. This meant I was unable to read my screen or see the keys on the keyboard plus I was unable to move my fingers to type – not ideal for a course focused on reading and writing.

My treatment took out the usual week; its’ after-effects – the double vision, shakes and spasms, stomach upsets and generally feeling like crap – another week; catching up with the first four weeks and doing unit 5, in week five, was a strain; it wasn’t until week 6 (of 10, let me remind you) that I was able to take a breath. And, then I had to do the first assignment.

It was all very rushed and frantic for me and I missed out on all the camaraderie being developed between my course-mates within the inter-active elements of my missed units. And, I never really felt like I recovered from this. Oh, I tried and so did my colleagues and tutor but I felt uncomfortable and adrift throughout and some of the work I submitted was done in serious haste and, let me tell you, repented well in leisure.

I have dropped out of courses before because of my health problems flaring up but this was the first time I completed one badly. It almost feels worse to complete something poorly than just not to do it at all and, even more annoyingly, it was full of helpful ideas and tips that I just had to skip over.

I did pick up a few pointers though, the most important being that writing is as much, if not more, about hard work than talent and vast amounts of re-drafting are expected rather than being exceptional.

I now understand that I need to apply myself with a higher level of consistent, hard work than I have been doing if I am ever going to finish that novel.

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