ROW80-2 - 04/30 - Good Intentions
ROW80-2 - 05/07 - Back in the Saddle

ROW80-2 - 05/04 - Characters

2014 05 01_0375I just finishing the first week of a MOOC, Start Writing Fiction. I signed up because it promised a focus on character generation - something I need. It has lived up to it's promise so far - in a way. There is some good content, but the lessons and exercises are not that innovative in design. Biggest fail, as mentioned before, is the lack of a forum community for interaction with other writers. Each of the 15 sections in Week 1 has a comment section at the end, but with well over 1000 comments to each one all you can do is read and respond to the last few - there are no forum 'threads' to sort things into. Plus, these comments are used to submit assignments - with a 1200 character limit. Good training to be concise I suppose, but annoying. This is an Open University Course, from FutureLearn - I took another of their courses - Introduction to Forensic Science, by U, of Strathclyde. Not very well designed either in some parts, and, again, no forum. I've taken a few Coursera courses - all well designed, all use a forum for interaction on each module, as well as feedback and support questions. 2014 05 01_0378

Back to characters now - this week was how to observe and write about characters. When I was in my local coffee shop, I sat across from a 'little old lady' and her attentive son. It looked like they were on an outing from the retirement home. It was touching to watch, as I was reminded of my mom and I a few years ago. I watched and took notes, and even grabbed a cell-phone picture to jog my memory later.  

 She was a short, slightly chubby woman, with a lot of 'character lines' in her face. As in very wrinkled. She was sensibly dressed, with a knitted wool hat, warm rain-proof shell, dark slacks, and practical shoes - black leather runners with a good grip and velcro fasteners.  She had a walker with her, so was likely not that mobile - but she was out and about. 
She was reading the Globe and Mail, eyes bright and alert behind her glasses, leaning into the window's light and commenting to her son on the articles. Her grip was pretty firm, considering the obvious arthritis in her knuckles. Her son kept joking and teasing, so she would often throw her head back and laugh. At one point she was looking for money to pay some fee - food at the home I think. She was carefully probing through her purse for her wallet, and then through the wallet for change - not that easy with failing eyesight and a less than agile grip. Yet she remained good natured through it all - as did he. She sipped on a coffee, slowly, as she talked and read. When asked if her cup was cold now, she tried to tell her son was not too bad - perhaps typical of many elderly in not wanting to be any trouble. He added a bit more to freshen it up anyway, which obviously pleased her.
As I left I told them how nice it was to see them so comfortable with each other, and she smiled with pride, then confided that she didn't know what she would do without him. 
A good reminder to show our ageing parents - or any old people - some patience and understanding. As payback for the terrors we were as kids.
In other news - found my book on the shelf at Chapters/Indigo, and got my busker's licence. Details below.
  • Publishing

    • Editing soon - alpha reader almost finished. Have been doing quick review of her work as she sends sections back. Looking good - I mean lots of additions and deletions but good ones. 
    • Help other's publish. Got my busker's licence, so now I'm a street performer. Looking forward to June 1 reading with anticipation and a bit of panic. 

    • Went down to see Kirk's Landing on shelf at local Chapters store - see above image. I re-arranged so it was cover out too.  

    • Scribd -my  book is in there now too. It's sort of a Netflix for books, in that you pay a monthly fee and download unlimited books to their reader app. I get a nice chunk for every book that's read at least to the 30% mark. 
  • Writing

    • ROW80 check in - on time!
    • Reading - Finished crime novel If Angels Fall. Great book, review up on Goodreads.

    • How to write - still keeping up to date with writer/editor/publisher blogs I follow.

  • Other

    • Exercise - spring is here. As is the rain.  

    • Courses - Still catching up. Doing new one via The Open University, Start Writing Fiction. See above comments. 
    • Other entertainment. Watched a few NHL playoffs games, but already getting bored. Don't really see the point of watching organized sports, and have other ways I prefer to spend my time. 

    • Social - Coffee shop, cafe, pubs, grandkids. Went to a local Mensoid dinner - haven't gone in months. Small crowd, and they were half an hour late. Saturday I met my daughter, grandson, hubby at a local landmark, the Prescott, for Reuben, beer, and Habs game. Very nice - he's really quite cute. The grandson.



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Eden Mabee

Sounds like you've been keeping extra busy, Mike. Interesting little snip of everyday life you've got there about the mother/son couple...

As for FutureLearn vs. Coursera... I haven't taken any Coursera courses, but I have taken some FutureLearn ones. I agree, the Intro to Forensics was a bit disorganized, but having taken a Shakespeare class via them lately, I have to say I enjoyed the actual teachers a lot. I've also tried other Open Courseware and those were...

The forum idea would be a big improvement though for FutureLearn. Maybe we should mention it in the comment sections. :-D

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