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Creative Writing: Building a Story (EAS2031)

StaffDr Ben Smith - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Co-requisitesStudents taking this module are NOT eligible to take the other Level 2 Creative Writing module ‘Making A Poem’.
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

  • You will develop a substantial body of your own short fiction through weekly exercises that will build towards a final portfolio and a critical essay that will evidence the development of your writing based on reading, research and practice. Through the seminars and workshops you will develop your processes and techniques of writing, including drafting, revising, editing, self-reflection and techniques of story development. Participation and commentary in seminars is integral. There will be an emphasis on introducing key concepts in the fortnightly lectures; developing these concepts and techniques in lively seminar and writing workshops, which will include the development of original stories as well as approaches to critical reading and reflective essay writing.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a range of creative writing styles and approaches
  • 2. Analyse a range of English language short fiction
  • 3. Articulate a knowledge and understanding of creative writing texts, concepts and methodologies
  • 4. Demonstrate rhetorical skills of effective communication and argument, both written and oral, with a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical and professional terminology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Demonstrate an appreciation of formal techniques and imaginative expression in creative writing
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to produce pieces of creative writing, in agreement with specified forms and genres taught on the module
  • 7. Present written and oral arguments concerning their own creative writing and the work of other authors, both peers and published authors

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Through seminar work demonstrate communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 9. Demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, skills of creative expression and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 10. Demonstrate proficiency in time-management and organisational skills

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics: transformation, description, character, point of view, style, writing from life, structure.

The module is delivered in a combination of fortnightly one-hour lectures, followed by a two-hour seminar. In addition there will be a fortnightly 2-hour workshop dedicated to discussion of your own reading through informal presentation to peers, and critical and creative process and responses through ‘workshopping’ of original creative work in progress.

The syllabus is focused on technique and, through various examples drawn from contemporary short story writers, will include lectures on structure, voice and point of view, emotion, language and style, and writing from life.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and Teaching11Lectures
Scheduled learning and Teaching22Seminars
Scheduled learning and Teaching7Workshops
Guided Independent Study33Study group preparation and meetings
Guided Independent Study70Seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independent Study157Reading, research and journal preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Weekly creative exerciseContinuous (500 – 1000 words)1-10Tutorial and seminar feedback/discussion
Essay proposal500 words1-7, 9,10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Finished sample of short fiction 60One or more short stories totalling 3500 words1, 4-6, 10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Critical essay301500 words1-7, 10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Module participation10Continuous2-4, 7-8Tutorial feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Finished sample of short fiction One or more short stories totalling 3500 words1, 4-6, 10Referral/Deferral period
Critical essay1500 words1-7,10Referral/Deferral period
Module participation Repeat Study/Mitigation2-4, 7-8N/a

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

You must develop your own reading list for this module, based on personal interests relevant to your portfolio and to your critical essay. Your reading should come from a range of modern short fiction by individual authors of your own choosing. Individual seminar tutors will set texts for their particular seminar groups. This information will be made available to you on ELE.

For certain lectures, you must read selected extracts, which are made available on the ELE site for the module.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Students should also regularly read magazines in the library that publish short fiction, such as: Granta, Paris Review, New Yorker, Wasafiri, and others.

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

English, Creative Writing