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Introduction to Creative Writing II: Writing that Works

  • Module code: CW4002
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module is designed to familiarise students with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of literary and non-literary forms. In "Writing that Works" students are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and they develop their ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying a number of different forms of published texts, both literary and non literary. These abilities are first developed by reading and examining good and bad examples of writing in a variety of forms written for different audiences – from short stories and poems, to newspaper articles, commercial writing, blogs, ads, speeches, emails, informational pamphlets, and business letters.  In addition to the examples offered by tutors, students will be encouraged to source independently further instances of good and bad writing to share with the class in seminars. The next step is for students to practise and obtain tutor and peer feedback on their own writing in these forms and styles.  Transferable skills are embedded in the module through the editing and redrafting practice in which students synthesise the reading, analysis and feedback they have received in order to produce a portfolio of writing that works. The module will make use of the expertise of a number of our Writers in Residence, Distinguished Writers and Creative Writing staff who will present and discuss examples of their own writing that has, and hasn't, worked. 

Aims

The aim of this module is to:

  • Enable students to develop their understanding of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills through reading, examining, applied practice and response to feedback
  • Teach students to apply elements of good writing such as specificity, active voice, detail, awareness of the audience, control of the material, visual/sensory imagery, narrative tension, etc. in composing effective writing in a number of literary and non-literary forms.
  • Help students to use grammar, tense and language correctly and appropriately in a variety of different contexts and to redraft and edit work appropriately in response to critique (both their own and that of others).
  • Teach students to recognise and produce effective literary and non-literary writing, working both independently and in a team, both freely and in response to set specifications
  • Allow students to develop key employability and transferable skills by demonstrating an ability to produce interesting, original and scrupulously edited writing that is appropriate to its form, length and audience.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to: 

  • Display knowledge of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing processes deployed in a range of literary and non-literary texts, and an awareness of the relation between form and meaning
  • Demonstrate strong understanding of standard English syntax, form, and style, and critical awareness of writing pitfalls (e.g. use of cliché, dead metaphors, prolixity).
  • Demonstrate the ability to seek feedback on their writing from a number of sources --peers, module tutors, and personal tutors, both in the classroom and in office hours, and to respond to it productively and creatively.
  • Display an ability to deploy their knowledge by working in a number of literary and non-literary forms, producing original writing that avoids basic weaknesses and feeds forward their understanding of the rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing processes central to effective writing, including willingness to obtain and respond to peer and tutor feedback.

Curriculum content

In "Writing that Works" students are introduced to the techniques that make writing effective through three key approaches: reading and examination; practice and feedback; redrafting and editing. The module provides students with the opportunity to read and examine examples of good and bad writing in a range of literary and non-literary forms and to employ that knowledge by practical application by composing original writing in these forms. Students will then seek to obtain feedback from peers, module tutors and personal tutors and respond to that feedback by producing further writing which they then edit and submit. Students are required to demonstrate that they have made use of opportunities to edit and rewrite work in their Personal Tutorial sessions, and have attended CASE for guidance on academic writing at least once in each teaching block.  Students will continue to engage with the personal tutors they were assigned in Teaching Block One, with all students assigned both one-to-one, tutorials, and fortnightly scheduled small group tutorials designed to support the key creative writing skills of drafting, editing, and analysis of writing practice alongside guided discussions of set texts.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will be taught by means of  interactive lectures, seminars and personal tutorials. The interactive lectures will be used to enable students to identify basic errors of weak writing and introduce them to the rhetorical strategies and aesthetic techniques used in effective writing, as well as the key elements of correct grammar, syntax, tense and style, and the codes and conventions of both literary and non-literary forms of writing. Students will learn to develop the ability to recognise strengths and weaknesses in a variety of examples of such forms and be required to undertake writing or grammatical exercises related to the pieces studied each week. In order to support the development of excellent grammatical skills, all students will complete online tests in this area. Seminars will serve as a forum for the workshopping of drafts, and presentation of further examples of relevant good and bad writing as found by the students themselves, and discussion of the assigned reading.

Students will be supported further through fortnightly timetabled, 1 hour-long writing workshops in the form of small tutorial groups. These sessions, scheduled to run  alternately alongside the fortnightly 2 hour seminars, offer further opportunity for the sharing and peer review of writing, discussion of set texts and development of editing and analytical skills, and may from time to time be used to enable a number of scheduled 10 or 15 minute one to one sessions. The personal tutorial hour is designed to offer guidance on effective learning through the discussion of texts set both in this module and in the other Core Level Four Creative Writing module, "Introduction to Creative Writing", and via a formative mid-term review of written work and set reading and pre-assignment support for both modules.

The module will alternate between a two hour lecture one week and a two hour seminar the second week. Additionally, there will be a one hour personal tutorial every other week across both teaching blocks.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 11x 2hr lecture/ workshop plus 11x 2 hr seminars plus 11 personal tutorial hours 55
Guided independent study 245
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy for this module is two-fold: firstly, to support the development of the excellent technical, analytical and grammatical skills necessary to effective writing. Secondly, the assessment ensures that students gain a clear understanding of the importance of obtaining and responding to feedback and the development of the students' editorial skills, through the essential processes of writing practice, seeking input from peers and tutors, redrafting in light of that feedback and the editorial self-reflection, and thus feeding forward a piece of effective writing.

The assessment is therefore comprised of a single portfolio of work, collated across the teaching block with opportunities for formative feedback on each piece through presentations in seminars, discussions inpersonal tutorials and in office hours with module tutors. The assessments are designed to demonstrate the students' ability to practice writing, obtain and respond to feedback, and to use editorial skills to feed forward effective writing. The Portfolio may contain items including a series of online grammar tests, a number of short technical analyses of published writing in a variety of forms, and a selection of their own original creative writing in various forms in which students identify the strengths and weaknesses of these published and their own original texts, making use of the appropriate terminology to do so.

Submitted at intervals throughout the Teaching Block for formative feedback & redrafting and

Submitted at the end of the Teaching Block for Summative Feedback

Assessment On:

Portfolio or Work (3,500) (100%)

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Display knowledge of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing processes deployed in a range of literary and non-literary texts, and an awareness of the relation between form and meaning Portfolio (formative and summative)
Demonstrate strong understanding of standard English syntax, form, and style, and critical awareness of writing pitfalls (e.g. use of cliche, dead metaphors, prolixity) Portfolio (formative and summative)
Demonstrate the ability to seek feedback on their writing from a number of sources peers, module tutors, and personal tutors, both in the classroom and in office hours, and to respond to it productively and creatively Portfolio (formative and summative)
Display an ability to deploy their knowledge by working in a number of literary and non-literary forms, producing original writing that avoids basic weaknesses and feeds forward their understanding of the rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing processes central to effective writing, including willingness to obtain and respond to peer and tutor feedback. Portfolio (formative and summative)

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

Lanham, Richard, Revising Prose (any edition)

Manser, Marylin, and Stephen Curtis, The Penguin Writer's Manual (Penguin, 2005)

Strunk, Jr., William and E. B. White, Elements of Style, 4th ed. (Allyn and Bacon, 2000)

Bibliography recommended reading

Bell, Madison Smartt, Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form (London: W. W. Norton, 2000)

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

Finch, Annie, Formal Feeling Comes (Ashland, OR: Story Line Press, 1994)

Gardner, J., The Art of Fiction: Notes on the Craft for Young Writers. London: Vintage, 1991)

Luckhurst and Singleton, eds. The Creative Writing Handbook, Second Edition  (New York and London: Palgrave, 2000)

Roman, K. and Raphaelson, J. Writing That Works, 3e: How to Communicate Effectively in Business. (London: Collins Reference, 2000)

Trask, R. L. Mind the Gaffe: the Penguin Guide to Common Errors in English (London: Penguin Books, 2002)

Truss, Lynne, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, (London: Profile Books, 2003)

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