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Writing Lives (Online)

Key facts

TypeOnline and Distance Learning
LocationOnline
DatesWed 10 Sep to Fri 21 Nov 2014
Subject area(s)Creative Writing
CATS points10
FeesFrom £350.00
Application statusApplications being accepted
Course codeO14P386CRV
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email onlinecourses@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Overview

Is there a true story that only you can tell? This course is designed to provide you with the skills you need to turn experiences, recollections and real-life phenomena into literary works that are enjoyable and accessible to a wider audience.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Description

Are there stories, events or circumstances in your own experience, your family's, or those of people known to you, that you've always wanted to investigate, and that you think would make good reading? This course will provide you with all you need to shape your materials into an enjoyable and accessible literary work. 'Life Writing' is prose non-fiction devoted to exploring the events and emotions of real lives. The Life Writing course will enable you to recognise which things are significant, how to characterize them in way that really brings them to life, and how to structure them into a narrative that will keep a reader's interest.

Programme details

Session One: Getting Started
Getting acquainted; how to work with the truth; memory; good practices

Session Two: Point-of-view
Memory and imagination; using the senses; finding a voice

Session Three: Descriptive Writing
Getting the surfaces right; getting below the surfaces

Session Four: Characterizing Others
Revealing motivation, psychological depths and habits

Session Five: Characterizing Yourself
Re-living your life inside and outside time and experience – making yourself knowable

Session Six: Dialogue
Writing the authentic, the important and the plausible simultaneously.

Session Seven: Structure
Finding the plot in history; realising potential and maximising drama

Session Eight: Sequence and Situation
How to form episodes combining characters, dialogue and description

Session Nine: Beginnings and Endings
How to start and where to stop.

Session Ten: Re-writing and Editing
Finishing, polishing, re-making, re-telling, expanding and cutting.

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Staff

Ms Lisa Selvidge

Role: Tutor


Course aims

This course aims to provide students with insight into the major aspects affecting life-writing and to enable them to use these features confidently in writing their own creative non-fiction.

Certification

This course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 10 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students. Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following book: • Roorbach, B., Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays and Life into Literature (Writer’s Digest Books, 2008) Recommended, but not required: Bell, J. and A. Motion, eds., The Creative Writing Coursebook (Macmillan, 2001) Hackles, L., Writing from Life: How to Turn Your Personal Experiences into Profitable Prose (How To Books, 2008) Oke, M., Times of Our Lives: The Essential Companion to Writing Your Own Life Story (How To Books, 2004)

Teaching methods

1. Introductory section, outlining key areas of work within each unit.
2. Description of required reading and recommended reading.
3. Presentation of materials taken from additional (eg. online) sources, relevant to each unit.
4. Online discussion forum.
5. Online personal study diary.
6. Area for short responses to literary extracts from key texts.
7. Tutor responses to forum and exercises.
8. Assessment and feedback.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

1. Key features (such as perspective, dialogue, etc) in a work of life-writing
2. The applicability of such characteristics in their own work.
3. How to use at least some of these aspects of technical expertise with increased skill and confidence.


By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

1. The ability to recognize and name key features in contemporary life-writing
2. Knowledge of why authors employ these features and what their different effects are.
3. Increased confidence in their own use of such features as enhancements to the development of an individual ‘voice’ in life-writing.

Fee options

Programme Fee
Home/EU Fee: £350.00
Non-EU Fee: £495.00

Apply for this course

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to pay `Home/EU` or `Non-EU/overseas` fees, please read the UKCISA guidance notes to help establish your fee status.

You can apply for this course in the following ways:

Apply online
enrol onlineto secure your place on this course now
Apply by post, email or fax
Download a PDF application form PDF document.

Terms and Conditions, Student Contract.

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