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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Elements of Fiction One (Online Learning) (ENLI11218)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course consists of online seminars (webinars), once every three weeks, of asynchronous online workshops (writing forums) and feedback sessions. Webinars will focus on theoretical and reflective exploration of key topics and voluntary, tailored writing assignments will be set. Writing forums will take place seven times over the course of the programme. Each will last for twelve days. For the first two years, these will be hosted by a member of the creating writing staff; in the final year, these will be autonomous forums. Students will present and critique work in progress by a group of their peers. Students will receive feedback from a supervisor on work in progress, seven times in total over the course of their programme. This feedback, or formative assessment, will provide both textually specific and general critique. At the end of the year, students will submit 10,000 words of prose fiction for assessment.
Course description This 40 credit core course in fiction writing combines the generation and critique of students' creative work with the consideration of key components of fiction. Throughout the year it is expected that students are working independently on their own writing in addition to engaging with scheduled class activities. In synchronous webinars, students will be encouraged to consider, through reading, discussion and tailored writing assignments, how different elements of fiction contribute value to a work of fiction. Though all the component elements of a text are interdependent, for practical purposes each webinar will focus on a different element, and consider how best it might be deployed. Students will read relevant material in advance then discuss each topic in the light of their experience as readers and as writers. To put theory into practice, students will also be provided with a tailored writing task related to each topic with which they are encouraged though not compelled to engage: we do not expect students to write to order. Students may post any results of these voluntary exercises on the homework forum, for informal feedback from their peers. Scheduled writing forums (as mentioned in the course summary) provide a testing ground for new work, for honing editing and self-editing skills, for developing strategies with which to process and utilise diverse critical opinion, all of which combine to aid that essential part of the writing process: redrafting. Engaging with webinars, feedback sessions and writing forums helps to prepare students for end of year folio assessment and, more generally, to advance their writing skills.

1. The Hook and the Line: Openings
2. Sudden Illumination: Flash Fiction
3 Thinking Beyond the Frame: Aspects of the Short Story
4. People on the Page: Character
5. The Uses and Functions of Speech
6. Spirit of Place: Locality or Location?
7. Did it Really Happen? Autobiography to Fiction
8. Angles of Incidence: Point(s) of View
9. The Webs we Weave: Narrative Threads
10. Strata and Sub-strata: Image, Metaphor and Symbol
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply a range of methods for the development and structuring of a creative work
  2. Offer criticism to peers in a considered and constructive manner
  3. Process and apply constructive criticism from tutors and peers
  4. Apply acquired critical skills to their own creative output
  5. Broaden their understanding of the demands of writing fiction through reading, discussion and topic-based writing assignments
Reading List
Bauer, Douglas, The Stuff of Fiction(available as e-book in library)
Brande, Dorothea, Becoming a Writer
Boylan, Clare(ed), The Agony and the Ego: The Art and Strategy of Fiction Writing Explained
Cox, Ailsa, Writing Short Stories
Gardner, John, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers Goldberg, Natalie, Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Kundera, Milan, Testaments Betrayed
Morley, David, The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing(available as e-book)
Mullan, John, How Novels Work O┐Connor, Flannery, Mystery & Manners
Olmstead, Robert, Elements of the Writing Craft Prince, Gerard, Dictionary of Narratology
Prose, Francine, Reading Like a Writer
Shapard, Robert and Thomas, James (eds), New Sudden Fiction International
Wood, James, How Fiction Works
Woolf, Virginia and Woolf, Leonard, A Writer┐s Diary, Being extracts from the Diary of
Virginia Woolf
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students who complete the course successfully will have attained a broadened awareness of stylistic possibilities in fiction. By practice they will have developed compositional skills in a way that complements more general English studies. They will have learned and established good, independent writing habits which can be maintained beyond the completion of the programme. They will have mastered the crucial distinction between critiquing work and critiquing its author, and be able to articulate and communicate acquired knowledge and skills to others.
Course organiserDr Miriam Gamble
Course secretaryMiss Kara Mccormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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