Writing Prose Fiction

Module code: EN3174

Module co-ordinator: Dr Harry Whitehead

This module offers a practical introduction to writing prose fiction, with particular focus on the short story. It aims to get students writing, and to develop their abilities to critically evaluate prose as a writer (rather than as a literary critic) when reading their own and other peoples' work.

We will consider theoretical works on writing as well as a number of short stories by established writers. Discussions will cover the core elements of creative writing practice (voice, points of view, story moments/inciting incidents, conflict, characterization). Students will be expected to have read up on each subject from the course bibliography and from handouts beforehand, and to apply their understanding of each topic to critiquing the work of others. This is, however, a creative workshop, and students will be expected to contribute their own thoughts and to refer to other fiction they have read outside the module. There will be weekly writing exercises (both group and individual).

Learning

The module will be delivered in weekly two-hour workshops. These will begin with a discussion of the set topic, followed by a writing exercise. Students will present their own work in class and much of our time will be devoted to peer critique. Students will be encouraged to keep a journal, making note of the issues they encounter as they become more familiar with the practice of writing creatively. This journal will serve as the foundation for the end-of-term reflective essay.

By the end of the module, you will have acquired...

  • The skills needed to create a body of original prose fiction and a writer’s journal
  • An understanding of some of the core elements of creative writing technique and practice
  • An ability to read your own and other peoples’ work from the technical-critical standpoint of a writer, as distinct from that of a literary critic

Assessment

  • A piece of prose fiction, 3,500 - 4,000 words
  • An essay of between 1,000 and 1,500 words on how learning the core elements of creative writing practice has affected the development of your own work through the term