Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Portfolio of my Favourite Works

Yesterday, in one of my final ever lectures at the university of Winchester, we were given a folder and a congratulatory certificate. This folder is intended to be a portfolio of all our work over the three years. I didn't put all my work in it, only my creative pieces, and only the ones I was proud of. It got me thinking about my work, and about which pieces are my favourite. So I thought I'd list what I think is my best work here.

1. The Diary of Lucy Van Helsing
I wrote this piece in one night and it was an instant success in workshops. When marked it received 72% making it my first First. It was after writing this piece that I realised that I loved intervening with texts, and writing for young adults. Recently, it has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4 Extra's Opening Lines competition, making it the most successful piece of writing I have ever done.

2. Royalteen
This was the creative piece for Fiction for Children. While it did not get a First (which I think all my work deserves) it still received a good grade. It was fun to write and I enjoyed inventing a fantasy world and drawing the maps. I also did quite a few Character Profiles too. It was only the first chapter but I have planned out the whole story, so I could finish writing it.

3. Sketches
These are four shorter pieces, The Armani Assassin, The House at the End of the RoadAgricolaphobia, and Your Housemate Hitler. The first two were my favourite, and my lecturer really enjoyed The House at the End of the Road, which I recently sent off for Mslexia's short story competition. It was nice to write some shorter short stories, exploring different aspects of writing, like imagery and character. They're also the perfect length to enter competitions.

4. Margaret Jones and the Weedy Dealer
Margaret Jones has been rattling around in my imagination for years now. I know everything about her, and have planned out her whole life - past, present, and future. She's an eccentric botanist who wants to prove herself to the uptight prigs at the horticulture society. I have written many other little stories about her, Margaret Jones's Childhood Adventure, and Margaret Jones's Rival. I was so happy to finally write the first chapter of this piece, and one of my lecturers said she could see it working in the market place. Yet, when it was marked the comment was 'have Margaret stay at home, and her son Andrew as the protagonist - doing his mother's bidding'. It was at this point that I lost a little faith in my course, and in my lecturer.

5. Mark Desade's Misfortune of Curiosity
This piece was for Textual Intervention II, based on the fairytale of Bluebeard and Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. It is another YAF with a horror twist. I enjoyed writing it and worked hard over the ending, which my lecturer commented 'OMG...I didn't see that coming!' so it was totally worth it. Have a read and see if you can guess the ending.

6. Surrealhabilitation
This was a parody based on Leonora Carrington's surrealist work. My lecturer loved it and I would have gotten an even better mark if I had known how to write speech properly. I know now and my mistakes seem foolish. It was actually quite fun to be surreal, and this is a piece I want to send of to a competition, as I think it could do well.

7. Toil and Trouble
This was my first attempt at writing Historical Fiction and boy, was it difficult. I chose a period of time that I knew nothing about and would take a long time to research, time I didn't have. It was set in 1612 in Lancaster, England and was about witches. I wrote this at a time when I was questioning my writing ability. Every word felt like a struggle. I also knew my lecturer was extremely fussy, which made me doubt everything I wrote as I knew she would pick up on it. Luckily, she did enjoy it and I regained some of my writing confidence. In the end, I did actually enjoy writing it, once I got into the flow.

8. Obsession
This was my first ever piece of creative writing at university. I remember feeling so chuffed by it. I haven't read it since and I really don't want to, I know it will be cringing, and probably awful. It was heavily based on The Tell-Tale Heart, something that has stuck by me throughout the whole of university. I can't really remember, but I think it took me ages to write, 1,500 words was so much back then. Now, I can barely contain a story - 8,000 words is just too short!

9. Delirium
This short story was similar to Obsession, I was clearly in a dark, depressive stage of writing. I enjoyed writing this piece, and I did a bit of research for it as well, and felt so clever. However,
looking back, there are so many mistakes on the first page. I barely proofread any of my work in the first year, and if I did I could have received much better marks. The magic of hindsight, I suppose. At least I can say my writing has definitely improved!

Obviously my favourite piece of work I have done so far at university is my Extended Creative Project, or dissertation. I put so much time and effort in to it and reworked and edited it so many times. If it gets anything under a 2:1 I shall be shocked (I really want to get a First though! Fingers crossed). Once I get it marked and returned I shall post it on here. I have already posted a few drafts and a synopsis, so check them out.

It is sad to think I only have two more assignments to do and then it's all over. I will have to enter the real world, where I have to have a crummy day job to support my writing. There will be no deadlines or briefs, and that's a scary thought. Over the summer I will be entering so many competitions. This morning I submitted a short story to Starburst Magazine, it had no guidelines so I was at a bit of a loss for what to do, and if I needed a cover letter. But hopefully it will be okay and it will get published...maybe?

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