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Introduction to creative writing

Introduction to creative writing teaches you skills central to three of the main forms of creative writing: poetry, fiction and scriptwriting. Throughout this online short course, you’ll learn methods for appealing to the senses, strategies for building characters, and ways to create compelling dialogue. Along the way, you’ll glean tips from a wide range of contemporary poetry, fiction and scripts. And you’ll get to hear professional writers share their writing habits: processes such as reading as writers, balancing instinct with intellect, and redrafting. Most important of all, you’ll get to try out each of these approaches for yourself.

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Module

Module code
AXS001
Credits
0
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
0
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

The course will introduce you to three forms of creative writing: poetry, fiction and scriptwriting.

Introduction to creative writing is split into three fortnightly sections. During the first section, you will focus on poetry, next you’ll explore fiction and finally you’ll look at scriptwriting.

Weeks 1–2 focus on poetry. Since we experience the world first through our bodies, you will explore ways to appeal to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. You’ll see how poets such as Malika Booker, Owen Sheers and Jane Yeh have employed these techniques.

Weeks 3–4 concentrate on fiction. Fascinating characters lie at the heart of good stories. Drawing on your experiences, observations, and imagination, you will create convincing characters of your own. And then you’ll learn how to place them into compelling scenarios, following the examples of fiction writers such as Kevin Barry, Jhumpa Lahiri and Courttia Newland.

In Weeks 5–6 you will learn about scriptwriting. Here, you will be introduced to methods for putting words into the mouths of your characters. After all, what they say – and don’t say – is a core component of drama. This is something you’ll get to see for yourself in the work of scriptwriters such as Jonathan Harvey, Ming Ho and Julia Pascal.

At the mid-point of each week, you’ll pause to learn about writing habits – the kinds of rituals, routines and strategies writers tend to find useful for generating ideas, getting started and keeping going.

Each section builds to a 'Bringing it together' point, when you get to try out for yourself the writing skills and strategies you've looked at in published passages or heard discussed by working writers.

As you work through this course, you’ll be building a portfolio of creative writing, which, by the end of Week 6, will include a poem, a short passage of fiction and a few pages of script.

You will learn

Knowledge and understanding

You should gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • wide-ranging creative processes and writing skills
  • the importance of experimentation
  • your own writerly strengths and interests.

Cognitive skills

You should gain an ability to:

  • identify a range of literary techniques
  • employ these techniques in your own writing
  • appraise your own work accurately.

Key skills

You should gain an ability to:

  • develop helpful writing habits
  • generate ideas
  • compose and redraft a poem, a short passage of fiction and a few pages of script.

Practical and professional skills

You should develop:

  • an ability to manage a sequence of work to a series of deadlines
  • the capacity to consider different approaches
  • an understanding of future study opportunities.

Vocational relevance

This course has relevance for those interested in becoming professional writers as well as those interested in working in the literary industries.

Learner support

There is no tuition on this course and all study is self-directed. However, a Study Advisor is present to facilitate discussion within the online forums.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

Teaching and assessment

Assessment

There's no formal assessment. However, there will be three 'Bringing it together' points built into the course, which will allow you to employ in your own writing some of the key techniques you've studied.

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:

    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements for this course.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

    Course length

    You’ll study for around 8 hours 20 mins per week for 6 weeks. In total, this course will require around 50 hours to complete.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    01 Oct 2022 Nov 2022 £99.00

    Registration closes 08/09/22 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    04 Feb 2023 Mar 2023 £99.00

    Registration opens on 18/07/22

    06 May 2023 Jun 2023 £99.00

    Registration opens on 16/11/22

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2026.

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2022/23 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2023/24 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All of this course’s study materials are online. Online materials are composed of pages of text with images, interactive activities, audio/video clips (with transcripts). Some online materials may also include links to external resources, and the Course-wide forum.

    Printed materials are not provided for the course content. However, you are able to access the web pages in alternative formats (PDF, Word for screen readers, ebook) from the Downloads area on the course website and print them for your studies, if you wish. You are also able to download all course audio tracks and videos from this area. You will find further useful documents available in Word or PDF format in the Resources area of the course website.

    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 (10.15 or higher).

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

    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.