Approaching the Novel

The aim of this module is to allow students to explore the practical demands of writing long fiction, to develop their writerly and critical skills, and to develop their insight into the writing process. It will provide students with the opportunity to consolidate their learning about narrative fiction through the practical application of that learning. It is expected that by the end of the module, students will have gained substantial experience of the process of creative writing. These aims will be achieved through a variety of methods: 

Strand One: Seminars

The bi-weekly seminar-sessions focus on an element of successful prose fiction.

In each session, students will be expected to make group presentations on the following key areas of long fiction: Narrative Structure, Voice, Person, Point of View, Character and Description. They will use the set texts as a starting point for discussion, but will be encouraged to develop their points using books of their own selection. Presentations will be followed by convenor-led seminar discussions to develop and concretise the ideas presented.   

The second part of the seminar session consists of practical writing exercises tailored to the theme of the seminar, in which students are enabled to put into practise the ideas developed in the first part of the session.  

The final session of the year will also be tutor-led. Focusing on the challenges of and strategies employed in redrafting creative work, the seminar will take students through the process of moving from a first draft to a polished draft of a piece of prose fiction. This will function both as an exploration of the professional writer's practice, and individually-tailored preparation for developing assessed work.   

Strand Two: Workshops

Bi-weekly workshop sessions are designed to develop the students own work-in-progress. Students will submit samples of their creative work through the VLE, for fellow students and the course convenor to access, read, and reflect upon. In the workshop session, students will receive formative feedback in tutor-led classroom discussion of the work, and offer their own feedback on others' work. This practice-led, workshop model of teaching Creative Writing is as recommended by both NAWE and the AHRC, and replicates the professional experience of responding to feedback from writing groups, first readers, editors and agents.  

Workshop and Seminar Sessions fall bi-weekly, so that students are enabled to apply the insight gained and skills developed in each type of session to the work undertaken in the other. The move from critical study to creative engagement has been found to be a useful creative strategy in the teaching of Creative Writing within the department, and is something we have been encouraged to continue and develop by external examiners.   

Strand Three: Personal Tutorial

Personal tutorials are to be held at a mid-point of the course. At this point the student will have the opportunity to discuss their ongoing creative project and receive individual formative feedback on their work.  This takes place at mid-point so as to give the student a moment of reflection and guidance at a useful point in the course, well in advance of assessment.