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Creative Writing and Publishing MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Creative Writing and Publishing MA

With very few budding writers making a living from writing alone, this course offers creative writers the chance to learn not only the craft of writing, but also current trends in publishing from world-renowned professionals. It offers the opportunity to develop a creative writing portfolio at the same time as getting to grips with how the publishing process works.

Key features

  • As well as benefitting from teaching staff who have practical experience of working in publishing and/or creative writing industries, this MA also benefits from a thriving literary and academic community. For more information, visit www.kingstonwritingschool.com
  • We offer a series of masterclasses across the disciplines.
  • We have exceptional links with major publishers, such as Hachette Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and Macmillan; and you will have the opportunity to enter your work into competitions sponsored by The Bookseller magazine and Faber and Faber.
  • Bursaries are available for students working on our literary magazine Ripple and our Kingston Publishing blog. There are also opportunities to work on live projects for Kingston University Press.

What will you study?

The creative writing element of this course is workshop-led and, in the second semester, you will be given the opportunity to specialise in the genre of your choice, be it poetry, drama or children's fiction.

The publishing element focuses on marketing-led commercial and trade publishing, and the modules you study will help you to understand the structure of the industry and the core skills required to enter.

You can choose to write an academic dissertation to demonstrate your analytical skills and competence, or undertake a major practical publishing project as your final assessment. If you choose to take your dissertation in creative writing, you will write an extensive piece of creative writing accompanied by critical essay; you will be supervised by a professional writer.

Assessment

Essays, reports, presentations, briefs, research projects, and portfolios.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module initiates the student into the collaborative, creative business of commercial publishing and facilitates the development of their research, critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills. From books and magazines to apps and websites, students explore the structure and operation of successful publishing companies, the stakeholders, tools and processes crucial to the development of profitable multi-platform products and services and the fundamental and disruptive business models used by both traditional companies and new industry-entrants.

    After an immersive introduction to the complex and challenging nature of twenty-first century publishing, the module offers the opportunity for the generation and critical evaluation of students' own publishing ideas. This involves using industry-standard sources and approaches to research and analyse markets, identify appropriate business models and operational strategies and build and present persuasive business cases.

    Throughout, there is an emphasis on building robust and well-evidenced arguments to win support for theoretical assertions and practical publishing concepts. Students also have the opportunity to work with their peers, and to critically evaluate each others' publishing proposals.

     
  • This module offers a regular and intensive review of your writing in one of the following genres: poetry, crime writing, prose fiction, biography, drama, scriptwriting or writing for children. You will be advised on how to strengthen your knowledge of the codes and conventions of your chosen genre to produce a substantial piece or collection of work that will reflect your knowledge of and engagement with your chosen genre. You will apply detailed feedback on your work to your writing as well as using your increased knowledge of your chosen genre to make your writing more effective. These elements will help you improve the key transferable skills of analysis and implementation that will feed forward into your dissertation module and into all analytical/practical tasks you subsequently undertake.

     
  • In this module you will present and discuss your own and each other’s work in a weekly workshop. The draft work presented may include several genres and forms, such as crime writing, fantasy fiction, children’s literature, historical fiction, science fiction, romance and autobiography. Practical criticism of student writing will be accompanied by discussion of the scope or constraints of the various genres, as well as the implications of particular forms. Attention will be paid to the transferable components of good writing: appropriate use of language, narrative pace, dialogue, expression, characterisation and mood.

     

Optional modules

  • This module focuses on your own creative writing and research into your chosen form or genre, developed in consultation with your supervisor. You learn via one-to-one tutorials with your personal supervisor. You produce two pieces of writing:
    • a creative dissertation – a portion of a novel, a body of poetry, a play screenplay or other creative form of no more than 15,000 words; and
    • a critical essay of approximately 3,000 words – considering the relationships between your own writing and the literary contexts/theoretical concerns that inform published writing in your chosen genre or form.

    Your supervisor must agree in advance the final structure, approximate word length and for presentation conventions of these pieces.

     
  • The Practical publishing project provides students with the opportunity to conceive, plan, manage and deliver a substantial publishing-related output in order to achieve specified goals. Examples of potential projects include producing and publishing a book, app or magazine, researching and presenting a start-up business plan or developing and implementing a major market research exercise. In all instances, students are expected to define a specific audience and relevant stakeholders, as well as personal development and project objectives. Students will also develop a structured project plan and a post-project critical evaluation, in order to identify personal goals for future professional development.

    Depending on the nature of the chosen project, students will engage with different ranges of knowledge and skills, from practical print or digital production methods and processes to software expertise, market research (including questionnaire design, data analysis and interpretation) and business planning. Although students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, they are supported and mentored by an individual supervisor at key points in the process.

     
  • The Publishing dissertation module provides students with the opportunity to independently conceive, explore, investigate and then deliver a significant study within the publishing industry and allied fields. The theoretical underpinning may vary according to the approach taken and the research questions chosen, but the outcome should be a sustained and coherent piece of detailed work, capable of publication and wider dissemination.

    Depending on the issue chosen, students will engage with a range of professionals within the industry, and within related fields. Although students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, they are supported and mentored by an individual supervisor during the process.

     
  • The Kingston Publishing MA aims to equip students to participate actively in the current, fast-changing creative economy, and this module provides the opportunity to develop their employability and plan their future.  It offers students the chance to network with industry professionals, and to learn hands-on through placement in a real publishing environment – experiences which are vital in understanding how the business operates, and in securing employment.

    The module begins with a series of Masterclasses by a wide range of experts on key contemporary issues. The seminar which follows each event allows students to further engage in these critical debates, increasing the confidence and insight essential for networking and job seeking.

    Placements offer students the opportunity to match their interests with the diversity of situations in which publishing expertise is needed. During the module students will undertake a minimum of ten days with a host organisation. An active programme of preparation support is offered during this process. The work experience allows students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired through academic study. Critical reflection on the placement and on personal and professional development throughout the module ensures that students capitalize on their experiences.

    Throughout the module students will be guided through practice in all aspects of career planning – from examining industry roles, sector and entrepreneurial opportunities, to the practical honing of skills in job searching, producing successful CVs and job applications, and interview preparation.

     
  • This hands-on module equips students with both the key theory and the core practical skills needed to effectively manage content from raw material to finished print and digital presentation. Working in teams students will carry out essential editorial and production tasks to produce a live published product. This group publication project enables students to collaborate to demonstrate the team work skills required for timely delivery, and to develop a thorough understanding of work flow and the associated processes. It also allows students to show how material gets turned into a market appropriate product ready for stakeholder approval and launch. The module as a whole enables students to illustrate how value gets added within the publishing supply chain, and appreciate the content management systems and metadata vital in today’s publishing environment.

    By working on in-class exercises and assignment projects students will acquire and apply the key skills necessary to operate within a professional publishing context. Students will engage with project management, budgeting and costing, briefing, the different types of editing, design and layout, proofreading, and delivery. This module enhances employability by allowing students to use industry standard tools and packages, such as HTML, InDesign and Photoshop, and to improve understanding of basic typographic and design principles, the application of typesetting/mark-up skills, and production of publication ready files. Practising these hands-on skills will enhance students' understanding of how attention to detail can improve a product, make it the best it can be, and ensure it is presented profitably to its intended market.

     
  • This module equips students to consider the various individuals and communities (colleagues, shareholders, retailers, distributors, customers and other stakeholders) involved in the business of content delivery, and how most effectively to disseminate information and influence their behaviour, in order to promote effective marketing and sales.

    This module will enable students to understand marketing and sales principles, and develop associated skills in applying them to meet the demands of modern publishing. Students will undertake exercises and discussions about the various applications of sales and marketing within the publishing industry and its environs, and consider their relevance through all stages of the publishing process.

    Through this process students will learn how best to investigate the market for demand, how to predict that demand, and how to prepare, market and distribute information about a product or service, whether in whole or part, to promote profitable fulfilment of that demand.

    Publishers operate in an international context and so must market and sell their products to customers around the globe. Students will therefore consider how publishers organise themselves to deliver international operations successfully, and explore associated cultural, pricing and communication issues.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact us

Admissions team

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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Kingston Writing School

As a student on this course you will be part of the Kingston Writing School, a vibrant community of outstanding writers, journalists and publishers.

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