Hey there, peeps! Its been a little while since my last update and things have been a tad busy on my end, predominantly focusing on my studies but also making a major choice regarding the plot of a novel series that has been floating around in my head for several years now. I have been back to running and walking the circuit again, but still have some work to go due to a bunch of extra weight that I am carrying.
I mentioned the study thing. I really dig the courses that I’ve been studying, but dropped a few due to trying to choose courses that complement each other and to also help with my writing. I pushed back some programming courses and removed my enrollment in CS50 in order to focus on improving my science and humanities interests. This included enrolling in some courses on writing, one at FutureLearn which I am now into the 5th week of the six-week course, with upcoming courses on writing at EdX, Coursera and FutureLearn.
Anyway, here is a list of the courses that I am currently studying:
- Astrotech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery by The University of Edinburgh at Coursera (5th week in of a six week course)
- The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia by Emory University at Coursera (4th week in of 8 week course)
- History of Rock, Part 1 by The University of Rochester at Coursera (3rd week in of 7 week course)
- EDIVET: Do you have what it takes to be a veterinarian? by The University of Edinburgh at Coursera (2nd week in of 5 week course, which I recommend to anyone with an appreciation for domestic and exotic animals)
- Introduction to Ecosystems by The Open University at FutureLearn (2nd week in of 6 week course)
- Archaeology of Portus by University of Southampton at FutureLearn (2nd week in of 6 week course)
- Start Writing Fiction by The Open University at FutureLearn (5th week in of 8 week course)
- Think101X: The Science of Everyday Thinking by UQ at EdX (12th and last week of the course)
- SW12X: China by Harvard at EdX (enroll anytime self-paced course, the first in a sequence of courses on the history and culture of China – very good!)
The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia, Archaeology of Portus and SW12X: China tie in well with each other. Though The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia course relates to an earlier period than Archaeology of Portus, it also gives us a reference for the period leading up to the construction of Portus decades later in Rome. It is also an interesting contrast to the earlier periods discussed in SW12X: China. We can see similar struggles of identity and with other civilizations, with race playing a huge role in how communities viewed each other. There is also some similarities in behaviours such as burial rites. In all three periods, we also see how wars and external forces have effected the amount of knowledge that we know about these regions.
As mentioned above, I have decided to focus on studying writing via some free online courses. I am now into the fifth week of one of these courses, Start Writing Fiction. The course focuses predominantly on characters as stories revolve involve characters. It also discusses the tools necessary for creating an effective and believable setting, which is awesome for newbie writers and a terrific refresher for folks that have been doing it for a while. The activities include some feedback for pieces of writing, videos, audio, reading and short quizzes. Whilst the upcoming courses are primarily focused on technical writing, I think I may very benefit in my fiction writing due to the focus on clarification of ideas and making more effective sentences beyond this.
I have been facing a dilemma over the how to negotiate the relationship between two characters in a novel series I am plotting. If I choose one path, it dramatically changes the direction of the series, as does choosing any of the other options available. Whilst one route is romantic, the others are all quite different. In the end, I chose a sort of admiration and friendship of Eden (the main character) towards Tyr. The relationship of the tomboy known by many as “Ed”, to the charming fool is often one-sided as he looks upon her as a servant when in actuality she has not signed a commission to serve him. This means that she does lots of chores, sings at a local inn and will later take up streetfighting in the underground in order to cover the costs of assisting him. This misunderstanding of their relationship will have a dramatic effect on how at least one situation will play out, but I still have a lot more work to do before I start work on this sucker. I have some other ideas in the works, but this one idea has taken priority.
In other news, it looks like a work situation pertaining my husband is finally settled, removing a lot of stress caused by not knowing whether we would be moving to an area a long way from here. This means that we can also slowly start making necessary changes to the house, such as home repairs and landscaping. During a week-long holiday, hubby hired a couple of 4 meter skips and we managed to clean up a lot of lantana, dead palm leaves and lots of weeds from the yard. He has a bit of an analytical mind, studying an area ahead of making effective cuts in the brush. This saved us a heck of a lot of time and annoyance, but the muscles in both of my thumbs is still recovering from using pruning snips.
I managed to finish and post reviews for two audiobooks and one course since my last update, and will likely have another course completed in the next day or so. Given that I listen to the bulk of my audiobooks whilst walking, another audiobook review may be take at least another week, bar wet weather. I am not sure if I will listen to the next installment of the Serial Killer series by Dan Wells, Rogue Angel book 4, Serranto’s Legacy book 2 or something else entirely. However, the course stuff will be dependent upon which course/s I complete next, in this case Think101X will likely be the next course that I complete, probably in the next day or so.
I also had my 36th birthday on Saturday, but due to hubby working had some of the festivities put back until today. It appears that we may be going to an afternoon showing of X-Men: Days of Future Past in 3D. If we can locate our 3D glasses, we will at least be able to save $4 a piece.