Getting Started in Creative Writing (Online)
This course gives avid readers the skills necessary to turn a love of the written word into a practical experience. It introduces the key characteristics of creative writing, and students are supported with stage-by-stage guidance as they assimilate and put into practice a range of critical and creative methods. In addition to tutor feedback on the course assignments, participants will be encouraged to discuss one another's writing in the course forums, and will be given guidance on offering constructive and useful criticism.
Beginning with an introduction to writing fiction, this course leads students step-by-step through the essentials of the craft – including characterization, plotting, description, dialogue and editing – towards an enhanced understanding of how novels and stories are written. There are also individual sessions on special topics – such as constructing an effective opening sequence, using imagery creatively, and working with experimental or other distinctive genres – and the emphasis throughout is upon developing an individual voice and a confident style while working in a wholly supportive environment.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.
Unit 1: Getting Started
- Getting acquainted with one another and the course
- Autobiographical input
- Working with notes
- Practising discussion and critique of fiction-writing
Unit 2: Voice
- Developing an individual emphasis
- pace and style
Unit 3: Descriptive Writing
- Scene-making: Sharpening the senses
- Fashioning a world
Unit 4: Point-of-view
- Who tells the story? Owns the story?
- Making choices about 1st, 2nd and 3rd person narrative
Unit 5: Character
- Constructing individuals
Unit 6: Dialogue
- Writing the authentic, the important and the plausible simultaneously
Unit 7: Plot and Momentum
- Patterns of Story
- From story to plot
Unit 8: Genre and Length
- Choices that shape the stories we read
- What we expect
- How we may differ
Unit 9: Theme
- What kind of a story will you tell?
Unit 10: 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.
To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet. All of the primary texts (short stories) used as examples in the course are available online, and in each unit you will find a link to the appropriate websites.
Recommended, but not required:
- Lodge, David, ed., The Art of Fiction (Penguin, 1992) ISBN: 0140174923
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 register and pay the £10 fee.
For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php
Coursework is an integral part of all online courses 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.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.
This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.
Home/EU Fee: £405.00
Non-EU Fee: £495.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00
Louis Greenberg is an author and fiction editor with a doctorate in modern English literature. Under his own name and co-writing as S.L. Grey, he has published eight novels including The Mall, The Apartment and Green Valley. An Advanced Professional member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, Louis has edited commercial fiction for several major publishing houses.
Sara Taylor is a product of Virginia and the homeschooling movement. She received her Masters in Prose Fiction and Ph.D. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia. Her novels, published by Random House, explore the social construction of identity, sexuality, and family. She acts as co-director and editor of creative-critical publisher Seam Editions, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
This course aims to provide students with insight into the major aspects affecting creative writing, and enable them to use these features confidently in their own writing.
- Introductory section, outlining key areas of work within each unit.
- Description of required reading and recommended reading.
- Presentation of materials taken from additional (eg. online) sources, relevant to each unit.
- Online discussion forum.
- Online personal study diary.
- Area for short responses to literary extracts from key texts.
- Tutor responses to forum and exercises.
- Assessment and feedback.
By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:
- Key features (such as point-of-view, dialogue, etc) in a fictional work.
- The practical use of such characteristics in their own writing.
- How to use 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:
- The ability to recognize and name key features in literature.
- Knowledge of what effects these features produce and how to undertake their use.
- Increased confidence in their own use of such features as enhancements to the development of an individual 'voice' in creative writing.
Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment of 500 words due half way through the course and one longer assignment of 1500 words due at the end of the course.
Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.
Level and demands
FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for applicants and students on this course
Sources of funding
Information on financial support