Creative writing can be summarised as anything where the purpose is to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions rather than to simply convey information. It is subjective and therefore difficult to define, but fundamentally it looks at writing in a new way and is focused on making people want to continue reading.

You can determine what creative writing is for yourself, but others may see things differently. Unlike other writing styles it focuses more on self expression and is such a broad category that many things can fall under it. When you read a memoir with beautiful turns of phrase or an essay that fires up your imagination, you know that you’re experiencing the writer’s creativity.

Creative Writing course overview

Most creative writing university courses take a student-centred approach to learning, offering a range of strategies to help a student develop as a writer. They are designed to address the needs and challenges of the contemporary writer who wants to produce creative work in the context of a global critical community. They are suitable for new writers as well as for those with some experience who would like to develop their skills further.

Courses provide opportunities for specialising in writing for new media, journalism, and screenwriting, and help prepare students more generally for the world of work. In classes students will take a combination of compulsory and optional modules, looking more closely at the techniques, craft and processes of writing. Classes can sometimes be taught by working writers (including poets, novelists, journalists and screenwriters). Classes are highly practical with students being set specific creative and critical tasks and with exercises and activities designed to ignite a writer’s imagination.

A variety of teaching strategies are employed such as small group seminars, larger-scale lectures, writing workshops, individual projects and dissertations. Learning is focused on exploring a wide range of writing from the medieval period to the present day. It is studied in an interdisciplinary atmosphere where you will be taught how to revise and present your work to the highest professional standards.

Many universities encourage students to get involved in extracurricular writing-based activities, such as publishing clubs, school-based literary magazines or newspapers, writing contests and writing  conventions.

Student should note that they may have the opportunity during their studies to meet a wide range of famous writers, publishers and literary agents.

Courses will also provide students with a basic understanding of professional publishing and other writing environments. They will introduce you to and focus on writing practices in four main genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and screenwriting.

In most subject areas a student will be assessed at the end of each year on the basis of coursework, however in some modules project and examination results are taken into account. All assessed work throughout the course can be subject to one to one feedback and discussion with a tutor. In your final year, you will more than likely write a dissertation on a topic of your choice and with the advice of tutors. Self-evaluation, reflection and critical awareness play a significant part in the assessment of written work and essays, projects, portfolios, coursework and presentations.

Typical course modules and areas of study on a creative writing 

  • Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Literature in History
  • Reading Texts
  • Literature in History
  • American Drama
  • Shakespeare’s England
  • Writing Texts
  • Writing fiction
  • Writing poetry
  • Life writing (biography and autobiography)
  • The role of poetry in the literary world.
  • Biographies and autobiographies.
  • Prose fiction
  • Radio drama
  • Screenwriting
  • The Writing Industry
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Travel writing
  • Writing for the Internet
  • Writing for children
  • Writing songs and lyrics
  • Writing Journalism
  • Introduction to British Media
  • Language in the Media
  • Copywriting

The course will help students to

  • Consolidate and improve their writing skills.
  • Look critically and constructively at other peoples writing.
  • Develop an open-minded and questioning approach to both reading and writing.
  • Write a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction.
  • Understand the world of publishing.
  • Use their memory and experiences to write interesting articles.
  • Identify were their strengths and interests lie in writing through experiment, practice and constructive feedback.
  • Find subject matter.
  • Share their views of contemporary issues in writing and publishing.
  • Try out different ways and forms of writing and to explore creative processes.
  • Study and practise various genres.

Students will learn about

  • Logical thinking
  • Clear expression
  • Essay writing
  • Selecting and interpreting relevant material
  • Analysing their own writing and situate it contextually
  • Delivering oral and other presentations to a good standard.
  • Working in a group and negotiate collaborative projects.
  • Working independently.


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