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, world-building in dystopian and fantasy fiction, setting in life writing and narrative in poetry. Work includes readings and writing exercises in fiction, poetry, and life writing.
Part 2: Dramatic writing
You'll progress to explore writing techniques for three dramatic media: stage, film and audio, 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 audio and montage in film. You’ll also consider the techniques involved in adapting work in other genres to script.
Part 3: Developing style and structure
You'll look at how some of the methods used in dramatic writing can improve fiction writing, life writing and poetry. You’ll consider the inner world in life writing, and dramatic techniques in poetry. This section goes on to explore writing approaches in a wide-ranging fashion, covering poetic form, time, voice, long and short-form work, theme and structure, and the uses of rhetoric and 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 spend longer developing, editing and redrafting your work and will write a dramatic adaptation and explore the influence of drama on your work.
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. Some of the tutor-marked assignments will require evidence of engagement 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 (2nd edition).
You’ll be provided with the printed module Handbook, which is the principal guide to your learning, and have access to a module website, which includes:
a week-by-week study planner
audio, video and interactive content
assignment and assessment details and submission section
online forums and tutorial access.
electronic versions of the printed study materials
links to online resources
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 Monterey 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.