WordPress blogging course: Learning the fundamentals. Days 2 to 8.

Here’s an update on my progress for the WordPress blogging course (Learning the Fundamentals):

Day Two: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline ✔️

Day Three: Visit the Neighbors – Follow five new tags & blogs ✔️

Day Four: Identify Your Audience – create a post you’d like your ideal reader to see, and include a new-to-you element. (*See below)

Day Five: Love Your Theme ✔️

Day Six: Make an Irresistible “About” Page ✔️

Day Seven: Start Personalizing Your Site ✔️

Day Eight: Introduce Yourself to the Neighbors! Leave comments on four different blogs. (** See below)

*This particular post is written for the Day four task of “creating a post that I’d like my ideal reader to see”. If you’re here and reading this then you’re likely my ideal reader – someone who is like me – passionate about the topics of writing, reading and blogging!

** My task for today (day eight) is to leave comments on four different blogs. Okay… I’m coming to say “Hi!”…


WordPress blogging course: Learning the fundamentals. Day 1

I’ve signed up to the WordPress blogging course Learning the Fundamentals. It’s a 2 week course with 1 task per day to complete.

Day 1 – I have to write about “who I am and why I’m here.”

In my first post and About page I describe how I’m a writer in England here to learn, share and blog about all things writing.

Mostly I write quirky short stories -romance and women’s fiction.

I read widely across many genres, including science fiction and psychological thrillers.

Who are you and why are you here?

Causality gives plot

As part of the Open University Start Writing Fiction course that I completed earlier this year there were numerous exercises to complete.

Plot development exercises 4.6 and 4.7 had the following prompt:

‘A woman on the bus today carried her Pekinese dog inside her handbag. It had a red bow on its head that matched her sweater.’

By imagining or guessing the cause behind each of the observations, character details can be developed to arrive at a story. Causality gives plot. Plot is further developed by giving imaginary answers to questions (eg, why was she on the bus?).

A huge array of characters and plots were generated from the same description.

Here’s what I came up with:

The teenage widow left the Porsche at her new mansion and for her amusement took the bus to the cemetery. She carried her Pekinese dog, Bubbles, inside her designer handbag. Her husband’s allergies meant he’d never let her have a dog, so to celebrate she’d bought it on the day he died. It wore a red silk bow on it’s head that matched her cashmere sweater. He’d never let her wear red, preferring something short, pink and usually sequinned. The red bow on the dog’s head was from a bouquet of flowers received this morning from a secret admirer. Thankfully it hadn’t taken long for her elderly husband, the oil patriarch to die happy. They’d only been married seven months and now, as planned, she was rich, free and single. She hoped the memorial stonemason was as sexy as he’d sounded on the telephone.

I learned that recording observations is an important tool for fiction writers. Every observation can be a springboard for a character or plot when we imagine the cause behind the detail.

Start Writing Fiction

Earlier this year I completed the Start Writing Fiction course run by the Open University via FutureLearn. It is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) open to participants worldwide and it is FREE!

It is an eight week course with a requirement of approximately three hours of participation per week. As the course is run online this gives great flexibility to how, when and where you study. The main focus is creating characters and idea development exercises.

I found the course to be thought-provoking, fun and highly interactive – I learned a lot from other participants as well as the course itself.

Over the next week I will share examples of my work written for this particular course and also my key learnings and random lightbulb moments!