Effective Writing 1: Telling Stories

Course summary

Effective Writing 1: Telling Stories



Overview

How do we tell vivid stories?

What details bring characters to life?

Effective writing hones not just writers’ command of language, but also the observational skills and eye (and ear) for details  that transform good prose into great writing.

Over three linked sessions, writers will focus on what makes (and define) memorable characters, captivating settings, and viscerally powerful stories, and will develop the confidence necessary to take bold risks in forming an individual voice.

Attendees are expected to complete a piece of coursework after the course, which is accredited with 10 CATS Points at FHEQ Level 4.

Programme details

Registration 9.15am (Friday 13 Oct)

Fridays 13, 20 and 27 October 2017

Each day will run from 9.30am - 5.00pm
Coffee/tea at 10.45am-11.15pm
Baguette Lunch 12.30pm-2.00pm
Tea/coffee at 3.15pm-3.45pm

Friday 13: From Bard to Book: Storytelling and Plot


Session 1 What Story are You Telling?

Session 2 Seven Basic Plots? Myth, Fairy Tale and the Building Blocks of Story Telling

Session 3 Quiet and Unquiet Conflicts: the Moments Everything Changes

Session 4 A Sense of an Ending

Friday 20: The Devil in the Details: Fleshing It Out

Session 1 Capturing Character

Session 2 Capturing Place

Session 3 Capturing Dialogue

Session 4 Case Study: Family Portraits

Friday 27: Getting Dangerous: The Power of Voice

Session 1 Defining Your Narrator (Even When You Don’t Think You Have One)

Session 2 Beyond Description: Slashing Your Adjectives

Session 3 Other People’s Voices: Writing the Unfamiliar

Session 4 Taking Risks: Experimental Voices

Certification

This course is accredited with 10 CATS Points at FHEQ Level 4.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms. Accommodation is often available in Rewley House for those who wish to stay on the night before a course. Please contact our Residential Centre on+44 (0) 1865 270362 or email res-ctr@conted.ox.ac.uk for details of availability and prices.

Fees

includes coffee/tea: £222.00
Baguette lunches (all three Fridays): £14.10
Full Lunch (for all three Fridays): £40.50

Funding

If you are in receipt of a state benefit you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

If you do not qualify for the concessionary fee but are experiencing financial hardship, you may still be eligible for financial assistance.

Concessionary fees for short courses

Tutors

Ms Suzannah Dunn

Tutor

Suzannah Dunn was first published in 1990;  she is the author of two collections of short stories and eleven novels of literary fiction, the latter six with a historical bent and one of which was a 'Richard and Judy pick'.  She has taught in a wide variety of settings, tutoring writers at all stages of their development.  For six years, she was programme director of Manchester University's MA in Novel Writing, and currently teaches the novel writing online course for Curtis Brown Creative, the UK's only writing school run by a literary agency.

 

Dr Sandie Byrne

Director of Studies

is an Associate Professor in English Literature and Director of Studies in English Literature and Creative Writing at OUDCE, and a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. She was formerly Fellow and Tutor in English at Balliol College, Oxford, and Chair of English at Lincoln University. Her research interests are in twentieth-century poetry and the work of Jane Austen. She is the author of a number of books and articles, including: Tony Harrison: Loiner (Oxford University Press, 1997); H, v. & O: The Poetry of Tony Harrison (MUP, 1998); The Plays of George Bernard Shaw (WW Norton, 2002); The Reader’s Guide to Mansfield Park (Palgrave, 2004) The Unbearable Saki (OUP, 2007), The Poetry of Ted Hughes (Palgrave, 2014) and Jane Austen’s Possessions and Dispossessions: The Significance of Things (Palgrave, 2014).

Course aims

How do we tell vivid stories? What details bring characters to life? “Effective Writing 1” hones not just writers’ command of language, but also the observational skills and eye (and ear) for details that transform good prose into great writing. Over three linked sessions, writers will focus on what makes (and define) memorable characters, captivating settings, and viscerally powerful stories, and will develop the confidence necessary to take bold risks in forming an individual voice.

  • Learn what makes a “great story”
  • Identify vivid character- and world-building details
  • Understand what makes a voice strong and compelling

Teaching methods

  • Frequent exercises (written and oral)
  • Close readings of articles and extracts of relevant texts from all media
  • Workshopping/group feedback
  • Individual feedback

Learning outcomes

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

  • Produce a tightly structured story with a beginning, middle and end
  • Develop fluency with the concept of “voice”
  • Identify the difference between world-building and extraneous details

Assessment methods

Two short (under 1000 words) pieces after each session, one final assignment of up to 2000 words.