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Content, Form and Creativity

  • Module code: CW5001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Completion of Level 4 CW or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None


On this module, students will have the opportunity to progress their creative writing skills by exploring the relationship between theory and practice.  Students will be presented with a range of theoretical and contextual approaches to the production of  imaginative work, and will be invited to respond to these provocations through their creative projects. Students will attend interactive lectures whose themes may include psychogeography, adaptation, narrative techniques for literary authors, history and narrative, identity and aesthetics. Students will learn more advanced practical techniques for crafting expressive, imaginative work, which will allow them to make more sophisticated use of apects such as voice, point of view, structure, character, imagery, and tone.  The module will entail  the reading and discussion of texts by a variety of contemporary authors, whose work reflects the diverse range of styles and approaches at work today.   Students can choose to experiment with writing the novel, short story, script for radio, stage or screen, or poetry.  Students will be asked toparticipate in improving each other's work by offering thoughtful, constructive feedback. Along with developing their own personal sense of voice and style, students will practise applying skills learned on the module to real-world situations faced by professional authors, such as writing a piece for a commission or for a target audience. 

It is our intention that the varied writing skills and writing responses  generated in this module will add to the employability of its students within creative fields. 


This module aims to:

  • Deepen students' critical and analytical understanding of modern and contemporary poetry, fiction, and script
  • Ensure that students undertake a sustained study of techniques for, and approaches to, the writing of various modes of poetry and fiction
  • Enable students to receive feedback on work in progress, and to offer it to others, in a thoughtful and sensitive manner
  • Develop students' transferable skills, such as writing to a commission or writing for targeted audiences

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the works of a range of modern and contemporary authors
  • Examine and experiment with a number of writing styles and forms (Key Skill: Creativity and Problem Solving)
  • Employ appropriate skills, techniques, and practices in order to produce an effective piece of writing in a particular genre or genres (Key Skill: Creativity and Problem Solving)
  • Give and receive constructive feedback in order to contribute to the development of their own and others' writing (Key Skill: Interpersonal Skills)
  • Write imaginatively and effectively in response to external guidelines, such as for commissions or specific targets (Key Skills: Creativity and Problem Solving, Communication Skills)

Curriculum content

  • Reading and analysis of assorted subgenres and forms of prose fiction, script and poetry, such as the novel, the short story, fairy tales, the lyric poem, the dramatic monologue, short film, or postmodern poetry
  • The undertaking of writing exercises to enable students to experiment with various writing styles and modes, focusing on aspects such as voice, structure, imagery, or character
  • Tutor-led workshopping (peer review) of students' draft work, giving students the opportunity to offer and receive constructive formative feedback, as well as to practise their oral and written presentation skills
  • The practising of tasks in which professional authors might engage, such as writing a piece for a commission or for a target audience, adhering to set guidelines
  • Students will be required to meet with their personal tutors and visit CASE at least twice for additional formative feedback

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will be taught by means of weekly interactive lectures and seminars. The interactive lectures will be used to introduce students to the work of contemporary writers, with emphasis contextual, theoretical, and fictional structures and techniques. Students will also be required to undertake writing exercises related to the pieces studied each week or to possible professional applications, and to keep a reading log of their responses to the pieces studied and the extracurricular literary events they attend. The seminars will serve as a forum for the workshopping of draft writing and discussion of the assigned reading.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Two hour interactive lectures 22
Scheduled learning and teaching 2 hour seminars 22
Guided independent study 256
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through: a creative portfolio of writing worth 70%, designed to test students' skills in expression in various writing styles and forms, as well as their ability to write effectively in response to external guidelines; and a critical portfolio of writing worth 30%, designed to test students' understanding of a variety of contemporary writers and their ability to comment analytically and critically on the works studied. 

A range of formative assessments in the form of exercises, undertaken in class or during independent study, will be set on content determined by the module leader. This  regular feedback to students will enable them to  develop an awareness of their level of progress and of their strengths and weaknesses. Formative assessment will also take place in seminars, where the workshopping of draft critical and creative writing will provide further feedback to students. Students' discussions with their personal tutors and in CASE will assist in the development of strategies for improvement and enhancement.

A proportion of the final portfolio is to be submitted for formative assessment after teaching week 12.

3-3500 word Creative Portfolio (70%)

1-1500 word Critical Portfolio (30%)

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the works of a range of modern and contemporary authors Summatively by Critical portfolio of writing (30%); Formatively through discussions, peer review and exercises, and submission of half the portfolio for feedback at the end of Teaching Block One.
Examine and experiment with a number of writing styles and forms Summatively by Creative portfolio of writing (70%); Formatively through discussions, exercises, workshopping, and submission of half the portfolio at the end of Teaching Block One.
Employ appropriate skills, techniques, and practices in order to produce an effective piece of writing in a particular genre or genres Summatively by Creative portfolio of writing (70%); Formatively through discussions, exercises, workshopping, and submission of half the portfolio at the end of Teaching Block One
Give and receive constructive feedback in order to contribute to the development of their own and others' writing Formatively through discussions, exercises, workshopping and submission of half the Creative portfolio at the end of Teaching Block One; Summatively through the quality of revised drafts representing response to feedback in the Creative Portfolio (70%)
Write imaginatively and effectively in response to external guidelines, such as for commissions or specific targets Creative portfolio of writing (70%); formative assessment through discussions, exercises, and workshopping, and submission of half the portfolio after teaching week 12

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Gurira, Danai, The Convert (London: Oberon Books, 2016)

Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented Mr Ripley (London: Vintage, 1999 [1955]).

MacMillan, Duncan, People, Places and Things (London: Macmillan, 2016)

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric (London: Penguin, 2015).

Alan Hollinghurst. The Swimming-Pool Library (London: Vintage, 1988)

Knausgaard, Karl Ove. My Struggle: Volume 1 (London: Vintage, 2013).

Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts (London: Melville House, 2016)

Jacques, Juliet. Trans: A Memoir (London: Verso, 2015)

Calloway, Marie. What Purpose Did I Serve in Your Life? (New York: Tyrant, 2013)

Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time (London: Penguin, 1964)

Gornick, Vivian. Fierce Attachments (London: Daunt Books, 2013).

Perec, George.A Void (London: Vintage, 2008).

Riviere, Sam.Kim Kardashian's Marriage (London: Faber, 2015).

Porter, Max. Grief Is The Thing With Feathers (London: Faber, 2015)

Han Kang. The Vegetarian (London: Portobello, 2016) 

Bibliography recommended reading

Behn, Robin and Chase Twichell, eds.. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach (London: HarperResource, 1992).

Burnett, Hallie and White Burnett. Fiction Writer's Handbook: the Classic Book of Practical Advice on Every Aspect of Writing Novels and Short Stories (London: HarperCollins, 1993).

Burt, Stephen, Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2009).

Eco, Umberto, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).

Egri, Lajos the Art of dramatic writing it's basis in th creative Interpretation of Human motives (touchstone, 2004)

Gardner, John, The Art of Fiction: Notes on the Craft for Young Writers (New York: Vintage, 1991).

Gornick, Vivian. The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative.


Lumsden, Roddy, ed., Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2010).

Oyeyemi, Helen, The Opposite House (London: Bloomsbury, 2008)

Rogers, David, Writing Better Essays (London: Kingston University Press, 2014).

Sampson, Fiona, Poetry Writing: the Expert Guide (London: Robert Hale, 2009).

Wood, James. How Fiction Works (London: Vintage, 2009

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