13 June 2011

A spot of light reading?

I’ve recently completed a short course in writing fiction with the Open University (A174, for anyone who is interested). I found it absolutely fascinating, and a refreshing change from the type of writing I do in my ‘day job’, but I have no desire to become a best-selling novellist, it's not my forte at all.

So why did I take the course? Well, normally, I try to write in as straightforward a way as possible: no surprises, no guesswork, no intrigue. I was interested in exploring the differences, and this course certainly did that. Keeping the reader interested and guessing until the last moment, adding a twist to the tale...things I hadn’t considered since I was at school, were explored, as were building believable characters and plots.

Was it completely irrelevant to technical communication? No, I don't think it was. I found it interesting how different people interpreted the stories I wrote, with the final ‘assignment’ being a particular case in point. The marker commented that one element of the story was improbable “because I had said”...had I? No, I hadn’t – but I hadn’t said what I meant either, and I could quite see how the assumption had been made. Even in the realms of fiction, you can take misdirection and intrigue a step too far.

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