Advanced creative writing
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, which will illustrate the narrative strengths and constraints of each medium. You'll examine the conventional layouts for these media, and 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 a 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.
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.
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).
You’ll be provided with the printed module Handbook, which is the principal guide to your learning, Study Guide, Assessment Guide, CDs, a DVD, and have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- module materials
- audio and video content (copies of the material on CD and DVD)
- assignment and assessment details and submission section
- online forums and tutorial access.
- electronic versions of the printed study materials
- online exercises
- links to online resources
You will need
Audio CD player, DVD player
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.