East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

A new MOOC and journaling


what_is_moocToday I took the first lesson in a new MOOC I’ve joined – the Futurelearn Start Writing Fiction MOOC presented by the Open University.

I like the idea of learning more about what’s fast becoming my everyday job – and joining an online course is both entertaining and a good way to put some order in the jumble of skills I’ve taught myself through the years.

The course focuses on character creation and journaling, and includes contributions by established authors, such as  Alex Garland, Michèle Roberts, Tim Pears, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Monique Roffey and Louis de Bernières – that in the first lesson discussed briefly how they started, and what motivated them as writers.


The journaling bit is interesting, as it offered me a good excuse to fire up my new RedNotebook software and start using it in earnest – not only to keep a writing journal for the course (and beyond), but also as a tool for my blog writing… I’m composing this post in Red Notebook right now, and this will help me keep an offline copy of my posts for future reference.
Considering I spend most of my day at the PC, a software journal is simpler to use than an analog copybook and pen combo – and Red Notebook has a lot of interesting extras, such as giving me stats about my writing, which might help learn something new about the way I write.

I’m also jotting down the seeds of a new character, that will be the product of my course – and I am rather intrigued by what’s emerging. I have no idea of the sort of story she may be involved in, but I am quite eager to see where she will take me.
And that’s the whole point of the exercise, right?

So, new activity, new (but old) software, a new MOOC to enjoy for the next two months.
Looks like spring’s finally here.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “A new MOOC and journaling

  1. Absolutely great!
    I joined too, it’s really interesting and I loved the course about storytelling we took last year!
    I think this one will be challenging too.
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂


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