Filling the Blank Page: Get Started in Fiction Writing

Course summary

  • Mon 03 Apr 2017 to Mon 26 Jun 2017
  • 7:00-9:00pm 10 meetings
  • Ewert House, Ewert Place, Oxford, OX2 7DD
  • From £200.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code O16P715CRW
  • +44 (0)1865 280892
  • Course Full

Filling the Blank Page: Get Started in Fiction Writing


If you've always wanted to write fiction, this friendly, inspirational course will help you get started or rediscover your confidence. Focused, practical writing exercises will encourage you to get words on paper and stories under way.

Have you always dreamed of being a writer? Perhaps you've started stories or even embarked on a novel and you've lost confidence and momentum. This friendly, supportive course is designed to help you get started or get back on track, whether you're a novice writer or have a drawer full of incomplete attempts.

During the course you'll explore how to find and grow your ideas, how to maintain self-belief and commitment, how to discover your own writing voice. We'll cover basic elements of story composition: creating characters, structuring stories, choosing point of view, setting and dialogue. In addition to these skills we'll explore how to find writing routines and practices to keep you inspired and productive. Illuminating extracts from stories and novels will show you how other writers do it and fun exercises will help you develop your writing potential.

Programme details

Term Starts:   3rd April      

No classes 17th April, 1st May and 29th May

Week 1:          Getting started

Week 2:          Looking for ideas? Start with yourself.

Week 3:          Finding inspiration from people, places, things

Week 4:          Creating character

Week 5:          Playing with point of view

Week 6:          Hearing your characters speak

Week 7:          Setting the scene

Week 8:          Structuring scenes and stories

Week 9:          Editing

Week 10:        The Next Page - where to go from here


Background Reading List

King, Stephen., On Writing

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)


Course Fee: £200.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


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


Ms Lorna Fergusson


Born and brought up in the north of Scotland, Lorna Fergusson studied English at Aberdeen and Oxford Universities. She now runs Fictionfire Literary Consultancy. In addition to her own workshops, she teaches creative writing at the University of Winchester’s Writers’ Festival and for various Oxford University writing programmes. Her novel The Chase was originally published by Bloomsbury and is now published under her own imprint, Fictionfire Press. Her stories have won an Ian St James Award, been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. Her unpublished children’s novel Hinterland reached the shortlist of four for Pan Macmillan’s Write Now prize. Her chapter on Pre-Writing appears in Studying Creative Writing, in the Creative Writing Series published by The Professional and Higher Partnership. Her story ‘Reputation’, longlisted in the Historical Novel Society’s short story award 2012, appears in the e-anthology TheBeggar at the Gate. She is working on a collection of historical short stories and a novel, the opening of which has recently won Words with Jam Magazine’s First Page Competition. She has just won the Historical Novel Society’s London 2014 Conference Short Story Award with her story ‘Salt’.

Course aims

To give beginning writers a sense of confidence about their work and introduce them to the skills they'll need to continue writing fiction after the course has ended.

Course Objectives

1. To understand what motivates you to write

2. To learn the fundamental skills of fiction writing

3. To produce at least one story that makes you proud

Teaching methods

Writing exercises, sharing of work and group discussion, along with reading and analysis of published excerpts, designed to demonstrate the range of creative possibilities students can explore in their own writing.

Teaching outcomes

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

1. Feel more confident about their ability to write.

2. Have explored and practised key skills associated with writing fiction.

3. Have written at least one short story they are happy with.

Assessment methods

1500 words of creative writing, either as one single piece or as a portfolio of shorter pieces; students to decide on the best option for them in consultation with the tutor.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form with any piece of work that is part of the assessment criteria. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)