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Creative writing

This module takes a student-centred approach to creative writing, offering a range of strategies to help you develop as a writer. The emphasis is highly practical, with exercises and activities designed to ignite and sustain the writing impulse. The five-part module starts by showing ways to use your memory and experience in your writing, and build a daily discipline for your work. This is followed by the demonstration and practice of the three most popular forms or writing – fiction, poetry and life writing (which includes autobiography, biography and travel writing). The concluding part aims to demystify the world of agents and publishers, teaching you how to revise and present your work to a professional standard.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
A215
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

Student Reviews

Fully enjoyed every moment. It has given me a better understanding of the creative process - structuring, editing, and how...
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Fully enjoyed every moment. It has given me a better understanding of the creative process - structuring, editing, and how...
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What you will study

This module is suitable for new writers, as well as for those with some experience who would like to develop their skills. It will help you to identify your strengths and interests as a writer by giving you the opportunity to write in a range of genres: fiction, poetry, autobiography and biography. The emphasis is on finding your own direction and style through experiment, practice and constructive feedback. The module is suitable not only for aspiring writers, but for anyone with a strong interest in reading and writing, who would like to deepen their understanding of the creative process.

The module is structured as the follows:
The introductory part, The Creative Process, focuses on developing a habit of writing. It examines a range of strategies to help you get started, including clustering, morning pages, and keeping a writer’s notebook, as well as discussions by writers about their own approaches and practices.

Part 2, Writing Fiction, explores the main aspects of narrative, including story structure and time; showing and telling; character and setting; point of view; and editing.

Part 3, Writing Poetry, introduces you to the basics of contemporary poetry, covering a variety of techniques designed for beginning poets. Topics include image and figurative language; the line in free verse; voice and diction; structure; rhyme and metre; the sonnet; and revising poems.

Part 4, Life Writing, looks at autobiography (or memoir) and biography. Some of the central issues raised by life writing are discussed, including the nature of memory and forgetting; the performance of the self; and the representation of others. Finding and researching subject matter and suitable forms are also explored.

The final part, Going Public, outlines the professional presentation of manuscripts and submissions to agents and editors, as well as finding outlets for publication.

At the core of the module is the module book Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings: Second edition, which takes you week-by-week through the five parts. The emphasis is on practice through guided activities, supported by literary examples by a diverse range of authors, including prose extracts, stories, and poems illustrating particular methods or strategies. The online study material contains audios, videos, animations and other interactive exercises to enhance your learning, such as interviews with writers discussing their inspirations and techniques, or discussions with publishing industry professionals. Face-to-face and online tutorials offer additional opportunities to receive guidance and support from tutors.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll have a tutor to help you with the study material and to mark and comment on your written work. You can ask your tutor for advice and guidance both in online forums and by email or phone. Your tutor also offers general support as you progress through the Workbook, which is the principal guide to your learning. Teaching will also be via online forums. Online tutor-group forums enable peer discussion of some of your work and allows tutors to make general points to the whole group.

There will be two day-schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Recordings of these tutorials will be available to download if you can't attend. Student numbers and the distribution of students taking the module, plus where tutors are based, will affect the locations of where tutorials are held. We cannot guarantee that face-to-face tutorials will be hosted in specific locations, or locations that have been used previously. Online alternatives to these tutorials will also be provided if you can’t attend in person.

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. The end-of-module assessment (EMA), which is an independent project, must also be submitted online.

Future availability

Creative writing starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2023. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2033.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

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


    Entry requirements

    No prior experience of creative writing study is necessary. This is an OU level 2 module and builds on the OU level 1 modules Discovering the arts and humanities (A111),  and Cultures (A112) or The arts past and present (AA100) and Voices, texts and material culture (A105) (the latter two now discontinued). These OU level 1 introductory modules develop skills such as logical thinking, clear expression, essay writing and the ability to select and interpret relevant materials.

    If you have not studied at university level before, you are strongly advised to study at OU level 1 before progressing to OU level 2 study.

    If you're unsure about your English language skills and would like some additional support you might like to try our Developing academic English tutorials before registering on this module.

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

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2033.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2023. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 03/02/2023.

    Can you study an Access module for free?

    In order to qualify you must:

    1. be resident in England
    2. have a personal income of less than £25,000 (or receive qualifying benefits)
    3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above, or completed 30 credits or more of OU study

    How to apply to study an Access module for free

    Once you've started the registration process , either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible.

    If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069 or you can request a call back.

    Not eligible to study for free?

    Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

    • monthly payments through OUSBA
    • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

    To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

    What's included

    You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • module materials, including the Introduction to the Module guide
    • audio, video and interactive content
    • assignment details and submission section
    • online forums and tutorial access
    • weekly tips and online activities including screencasts
    • electronic versions of the module book in various formats
    • further links to online resources.

    You’ll also be provided with a printed copy of the module book Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings: Second edition, which is the principal guide to your learning.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying A215 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.