Getting Started in Creative Writing (Online)

Overview

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.

Programme details

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
  • Back-stories
  • Conflict

Unit 6: Dialogue

  • Writing the authentic, the important and the plausible simultaneously

Unit 7: Plot and Momentum

  • Patterns of Story
  • From story to plot
  • Subplots

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.

Certification

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.

See more information on CATS point

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 the final course assignment. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

Fees

Description Costs
Home/EU Fee £420.00
Non-EU Fee £495.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00

Tutors

Mr Amal Chatterjee

Amal Chatterjee’s books include Across the Lakes, Representations of India, 1740 -1840, and Creative Writing: Writers on Writing. Awarded a Scottish Arts Council Writers Bursary, shortlisted for Creative Scotland awards, with short stories and other writing published in several countries, Amal also teaches fiction on the MSt at Oxford.

Ms Sara Taylor

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.

Course aims

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.

Teaching methods

  • 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.

Learning outcomes

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 methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/english-language-requirements

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

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

IT requirements

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.