I do feel like a child sitting in the back seat of a car, excitedly asking 'Are we there yet?'
My excitement is exacerbated by the fact that all the materials and TMA (Tutor Marked Assignment) instructions are now available to download from the A802 site (you won't be able to see this site unless you're on the course, I'm afraid). I have spent all morning sending them to my Kindle for easy access whilst I'm working.
The TMAs look interesting too so I thought I would share them with you along with my preliminary thoughts on what I might write. (I will paraphrase here so as not to infringe on OU copyright).
TMA 01 - Fiction (my major): Due in by 24th November 2016, this TMA involves writing a 2500 word piece of creative writing, which can either be a short story or a chapter from a novel (the chapter has to be 'complete' and not finish mid-sentence). If from a novel, I have to include a 200 word summary of where I expect the novel to go. I also have to write a 500 word commentary on my writing process, and finally I have to give two links to my forum work; one where I post my work for critique and another where I critique someone else's work.
There are excluded genres, which mainly involve writing for children. All work has to be aimed at adults (I'm not sure if YA or New Adult could be included).
This assignment accounts for 30% of my overall mark.
TMA02 - Creative Non-Fiction (my secondary choice - I could have chosen either script writing or poetry): Due in by 2nd February 2017 (that seems a LONG way off, but as I've just seen them putting up Xmas decorations at my favourite breakfast place, perhaps it's not that far away!)
This TMA involves writing a complete 2000 word piece of creative non-fiction, in sub-genres such as memoir, life-writing, essay, autobiography, biography, or combinations thereof.
I also have to add a 1000 word commentary on my writing process and nominate a forum on which I wish to share my work.
Part four involves submitting a 300 word summary of my intended EMA (End of Module Assessment) in my main genre (Fiction).
This TMA constitutes 35% of my overall mark.
TMA03 - Fiction: Returning to my major, this TMA is due in by 30th March 2017. Once again it should involve 2500 words of either a short story or novel chapter, and again a 200 word summary of a larger project if applicable. The commentary on writing development should be 700 words.
Finally I have to submit 500 words from contribution to peer review discussion.
This TMA is worth 30% of my overal mark.
Fiction EMA: Apparently this is worth 50% of my overall marks (no, it doesn't add up for me either, but I assume the OU know what they're doing!). Due in by 25th May 2016 It involves writing either a complete story or part of a novel of no more than 4000 words and a 1000 word commentary on what I presume I'll be working on in Year 2.
So whilst I've been eagerly jotting down novel ideas, I don't actually need them until March 2017 at the latest and I am considering whether it is best to write a couple of short stories for TMAs 1 & 2, and then develop a novel idea later. I could do it by using characters from my intended novel, to try them out in a stand alone story. As I haven't decided what my intended novel is going to be yet, that could prove difficult.
I do think that once I get started on the course, doing the exercises, ideas will come to me. But I need to choose a final project that is going to keep me interested as, in the words of the EMA instructions, it's something I'm going to be working on for a long time and will constitute most, if not all, of the work for my second year.
It does help, knowing I've got a few months to decide, and knowing me it will be very much a last minute thing, just as it is with NaNoWriMo most years!