Free Stuff

By February 26, 2017 Blog

One of the joys of becoming more savvy about social media is discovering the amount of stuff that is out there for free – freebiefriday, freebiethursday etc. And there’s some good quality stuff amongst the errr … maybe quite there in the quality stakes stuff.  So I thought over the next few weeks, I would share a couple of my finds and first up is FutureLearn.

FutureLearn is one of the many educational outfits offering free online courses, and having just completed one, I’m quite happy to recommend it. The courses are an absolute boon for the aspiring novelist, as it provides an excellent framework with basic theory, which takes you beyond an ordinary internet search and in much less time, with plenty of recommendations for additional research possibilities. Even just looking at the videos and articles provided enables the hopeful author to write about subjects with a certain air of authority and credibility.

So what have I been studying? Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime. A lovely three week course that can be completed in a couple of hours per week. The course is designed to encourage debate about how to reduce these crimes, but – remembering Newton and his equal and opposite reactions – we need to understand how it’s done in order to think about how it can be prevented. And that was just what I needed for one of Agnes’s nefarious schemes in the novel. It can now be rewritten with confidence, although funnily enough, I wasn’t that wide of the mark with my uninformed guesswork.  Although any smugness I might feel is more than outweighed by the horror that this is indeed how antiquities are treated in some quarters.  And I thought I was writing fiction …