Last week I had a meeting about my ECP (Extended Creative Piece). It's the Creative Writing version of a regular dissertation. It takes the place of two modules, so I only have to do six modules next year, but that still means 12 pieces of coursework as well as a dissertation. The ECP includes an 8000 word creative piece, which can be a couple of chapters of a story, a collection of poems, a screenplay, literally anything involving writing! Then I have to do a 2000 word rationale, not so interesting. I'm not so good at these, but hopefully I will have a lot of help and will have improved by this time next year.
So, my meeting was with Judy Waite, my ECP supervisor. She was my lecturer for Fiction for Children module, and Creativity in the first year. She's a fun, and very creative person. She also knows a lot about the children's and young adult publishing/writing world. She has written quite a few books like Game Girls, which you may have heard of as it was pretty controversial and in the news, Forbidden, and The Next Big Thing as well as many others. I haven't read any of them yet but I keep meaning to.
My idea for my ECP involves YAF and textual intervention. For Christmas I was given a huge book of Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems and I thought that would be a good contrast to the typical teenager fiction. I had thought of doing something about Maggie who takes all the advice from women's magazines. Judy thought it sounded good, but was a bit too complex for an 8000 word piece. She seemed very interested in textual intervention, which I had forgotten about really. We discussed what I would have to research over the summer, like talking to librarians, people at Waterstones, and maybe any teenage girls I know.
I have to go back in June for another meeting. By this point I need a 500 word synopsis and three pieces experimental writing. This may seem easy but I literally don't know what to write about. Well, that's not quite true, I have a few ideas rattling about.
The main character, a girl (name undecided) moves to a new house in a little town near a place called the Nevermoor. The house and town are creepy, like something from a Tim Burton film. Things start happening to the girl that resemble the works of Edgar Allan Poe, like a black cat with one eye, ravens flocking, and bodies under the floorboards. The house will have been the place of a murder and to find out who the murderer is the girl has to read Poe's books and find out the endings. Of course, while this is all happening she will meet a boy and romance will ensue.
I haven't fully decided yet. But I'll keep mulling it over and hopefully more will come to me. Probably when I'm trying to sleep. It reminds me a little of Neil Gaiman's Coraline. You know, she moves to a new house, with a black cat hanging around, and there's the strange little door and the Other Mother. I would like that same level of magical creepiness in my own piece.
I still have a while to decide. Until then I will have to think, think, think! If you have any ideas or thoughts, just leave a comment.