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Advanced creative writing

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Advanced creative writing develops your writing ability by widening your generic range and developing your knowledge of style. The module works on the forms introduced in the OU level 2 module Creative writing (A215) – fiction, poetry and life writing – and supplements these with dramatic writing, showing you how to write for stage, radio and film. You’ll explore how these scriptwriting skills might enhance your prose style, improve your writing across the range of forms, and further develop your individual style and voice. The module offers guidance on professional layouts for the dramatic media, and is a natural progression from Creative writing (A215).

What you will study

This module is structured in four parts. At the core of the module is a handbook that takes you week-by-week through methods, readings and writing exercises. This handbook covers the first three parts of the module. The fourth part is a period of independent study and project work.

Part 1: Ways of writing 
You'll begin by looking at different approaches to writing. In particular you'll focus on the influence of genre, contrast, research, revision and drama on writing style. Work includes readings and writing exercises in fiction, poetry, and life writing.

Part 2: Writing drama
You'll progress to explore writing techniques for three dramatic media: stage, film and radio. You'll examine the conventional layouts and illustrates the narrative strengths and constraints of each medium. This part will also deal with dramatic principles connected to dialogue, subtext, status and exposition, as well as media-specific elements such as sets for the stage, aural contrast in radio and montage in film.

Part 3: Developing style
You'll look at how some of the methods used in dramatic writing can improve fiction writing, life writing and poetry. For example, looking at the connection between dramatic monologues and fictional narrators; examining the connection between film techniques such as montage and the way fiction might be structured. This section goes on to explore writing approaches in wide-ranging fashion, covering poetic form, rhetoric and the use of analogy. You’ll focus on improving your writing style and voice in all genres.

Part 4: Independent study
This final part involves working on a larger project, culminating in the presentation of an end-of-module assessment comprising a substantial piece of creative writing in one of the forms taught in the module – fiction, poetry, life writing or drama.

As in Creative writing (A215), the emphasis is very much on practice through guided activities, although as the module progresses you will increasingly be expected to generate and develop your own ideas without reliance on the study materials. In comparison to the OU level 2 module the emphasis will be on working independently to enhance and improve your writing style and voice. You'll generate slightly fewer projects but these will be of more substantial length and you will spend longer developing, editing and redrafting your work. You'll write a dramatic adaptation and explore the influence of drama on your work.

A DVD and audio CDs will provide you with excerpts from films, stage and radio plays as well as interviews with novelists, poets and scriptwriters. 

Online tutor-group forums will enable peer-group discussion of some of your work. You'll be expected to engage in these activities, giving impersonal and informed evaluations of your own and others’ work through constructive criticism. One of the tutor-marked assignments involves writing a critique of the work of your peers, as posted on the online forum.

Entry requirements

This module builds on the explicit skills taught in Creative writing (A215) ideally which you'll have completed, or equivalent study, before embarking on this module.

If this is your first creative writing module then ‘equivalent study’ would comprise preparation including our Creative Writing Tasters and Exercises which has interviews with writers, sample writing exercises and links to other creative writing study at the OU.  

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

You are also strongly advised to prepare for the module by reading Creative Writing: A workbook with readings (Anderson, L. (ed) (2006) Oxford, Routledge, ISBN 9780415372435).

What's included

Module book, study guide, audio CDs, DVD, online forums, website containing study planner, assessment materials, online exercises, audio recordings, further links and electronic versions of the study materials.

You will need

Audio CD player, DVD player

Computing requirements

A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

A desktop or laptop computer with either:

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance both via online forum and by telephone or email. There will be two face-to-face tutorials that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Teaching will also be via an online forum.  

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying A363 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Advanced creative writing starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2021. A replacement module is planned. 

Course work includes:

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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