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Storytelling: Narrative Archetypes, Forms and Techniques


Monday 30 September 2024 - Monday 24 March 2025, 6pm-7.30pm

20 sessions - Check class timetable


This Storytelling: Narrative Archetypes, Forms and Techniques short course gives you the opportunity to read and write critically and creatively. It will introduce you to some of literature’s foundational narratives as well as to the fundamental elements of the writer’s craft.  

Close reading and discussion of literary texts and authorial techniques are key elements of this course. We explore concepts such as creation and utopia, and foundational literary forms such as epic and oral narratives, alongside writing skills such as:

  • characterisation
  • point of view
  • plotting
  • dialogue
  • conflict.

Small group sessions on alternate weeks will give you the opportunity to produce creative and critical responses to the lecture materials, and to submit your own writing for appraisal and feedback. You will be expected to maintain a notebook to record and develop your ideas, and to complete a finished piece of written work by the end of the course.

We aim to cover the following content:

  • Introduction: in the beginnings
  • Beginning a story, finding a voice
  • Plots and three-act structures: Aristotle, the dramatic arc, questioning catharsis and completeness
  • Forbidden fruit: the creation of man and woman
  • Epic and the oral tradition
  • Essay writing skills
  • Scene building: scene vs. summary; activity vs. passivity; showing vs. telling
  • Epic, epic scale and the human
  • Points of view: who is telling the story, how and for whom?
  • The idea of Utopia: stories of a better world
  • Cinematic storytelling: reading films
  • Narrative time and tension: the scope and breadth of a story; timelines and story threads

Assessment of this course is via a 1000-word written task and written portfolio (25% each) and 2000-word essay/writing task (50%).

30 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.